The Natural Resources Council of Maine recognizes with deep appreciation their extraordinary efforts to protect Maine’s forests.
Liquidation logging—also called “cut and run” logging—is logging with no care for the future. Liquidators churn through the landscape—buying land, stripping off all the valuable timber, and selling it again within a short period of time. Liquidation logging destroys wildlife habitat, water quality, the long-term timber potential of the forest, and the jobs that depend on the forest. It is the very opposite of “sustainable forest management.”
The Maine Forest Service estimates that approximately 50,000 acres a year are liquidated—an area the size of two Maine townships. Unchecked, liquidation harvesting would continue to destroy an area equivalent to Baxter State Park every four to five years.
Harry Dwyer and Andy Irish each played a crucial role in helping the State of Maine develop and pass new rules to limit liquidation harvesting. They both served on the Maine Forest Service committee that was developing the rules.
Harry, a licensed forester, communicated eloquently and persuasively that liquidation logging was not a legitimate forestry tool, as was being argued by some in the industry. He understood the intricacies of the technical analyses and was able to “call” the opposition whenever they attempted to manipulate the numbers. He was never afraid to call a spade, a spade. Without his testimony and his work within the Forest Stewards Guild, the bill would not have gotten out of committee and to the full Legislature.
As a certified master logger, the highest certification a logger can achieve, and someone who works in the woods each day, Andy was the committee’s down-to-earth “ground truther.” Numerous proposals were put on the table during the committee process. Andy was the person who was able to say, “That’s a good idea, but it isn’t practical” or “That’s meaningless, it won’t make a difference” or, finally, “Yes, that is reasonable and it will work.”
Having both Harry and Andy, who work in the industry, willing to speak out on this issue made all the difference in our ability to reach a solution to the problem of liquidation logging. They spoke out publicly, not only during the committee process but also during the public hearing and Legislative processes. They did so at some considerable risk to their personal business interests.
We are grateful for their leadership and courage.