As the current Congress and 2022 come to an end, key Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are attempting to cut the funding to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered in the end-of-year funding package. Although the effort is unlikely to be successful, it does draw attention to the challenges the listing could pose for forest products producers and the thousands of communities and families that depend on them. Early next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to approve the Lake States Region Bat Habitat Conservation Plans (see story below). Hopefully, these plans will provide regulatory certainty and a commonsense approach that allows timber harvest—which is not what threatens the bat population.
If not, raw material supplies could be further reduced at a time when we are also seeing more forestland restricted from harvest due to carbon offsets. A multinational financial corporation, Manulife, has announced plans to enter the forest carbon-offset market. This big announcement follows recent announcements by a global investment firm, Oak Hill Advisors, which recently paid $1.8 billion for 1.7 million acres of hardwood forests where it plans to harvest offsets instead of allowing the harvest of timber.
If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
I hope you enjoy the holidays. Here's to a happy and successful New Year!
Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association
Photo © J. Scott Altenbach