Monday, January 14, 2013

Timber Management Timber Harvesting Ordinances In Pennsylvania

Filling a request for information:

The borough of ???????  is nearing completion of a Multiple Municipal Comprehensive Plan. I believe it will recognize some issues involving steep slopes, run-off and natural resources and development. Hopefully, in the not to distant future,it will be presented to the councils of the involved municipalities and accepted. Once these issues have been acknowledged I am considering developing a timbering or logging ordinance. Also there has been some clearing and logging of, what some may consider, significant parcels of land. This has not gone unnoticed by some residents of the area. Considering these factors it may soon be an appropriate time to, ONCE AGAIN, bring up the idea of a Natural Resource Preservation Ordinance and or a Logging or Timbering or Forestry Ordinance. As a resident and a member of the Borough Planning Commission I consider these relevant issues.

I am looking for advice, input, facts, figures and possible support. Support from LOCAL organizations and residents will be the Key factor. I would like to start planning and looking for support now.

Thank you for your time.

The following items can be found at Conservation Tools
Chrin Brothers Inc. v. Williams Township Zoning Hearing Board and the Township of Williams (PA Commonwealth)
Organization: PA Commonwealth Court
Year: 2003
This case is one of the few where a timber harvester sued to overcome restrictions set forth by a local timber-harvesting ordinance. The municipality won this case, as it demonstrated that the restrictions were reasonable and defensible.

Dealing with Local Timber Harvesting Ordinances
Author(s): Coreen Ripp, Elif Kaynak, Mike Jacobson
Organization: Penn State University
This booklet was created by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, with input from the PA Forest Products Association and the PA Association of Township Supervisors. The booklet 's target audience is the forestry industry, therefore it is from their point of view in dealing with townships and their ordinances. However, a model timber harvesting ordinance is included in the Appendix to assist municipalities in creating laws that conform to the Municipal Planninc Code, allowing for the harvest of timber resources.

Kennett Township (Chester County) Timber Ordinance
Organization: Kennett Township, Chester County
The Amendments to the Kennett Township Land Development Ordinance, defining generally accepted forestry terminology, setting acceptable standards and practices, esablishing different riparian buffers, etc.

Model Timber Harvesting Ordinance, PA
Organization: Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors
A model ordinance created by PSATS, DCNR and various academics ordaining and enacting regulations to timber harvesting practices and to allow for and encourage proper forest management within a township.

Montgomery Co. Planning Commission Timber Harvest Ordinance
Organization: Montgomery Co. Planning Commission
Very detailed and descriptive ordinance that addresses a variety of issues regarding timber harvesting in a township.

Stoltzfus v Zoning Hearing Board of Eden Township, Lancaster County, 2007 WL 3274837 (PA Cmwlth, 2007).
Organization: PA Commonwealth Court
Year: 2007

PA Commonwealth Court case upholding a municipality's refusal to grant a variance to an individual requesting that a log processing business on agricultural land be reclassified as a forestry use.

Taylor v. Harmony Township Board of Commissioners (PA Cmwlth, 2004)
Organization: PA Commonwealth Court
Year: 2004

PA Commonwealth Court case upholding an ordinance which restricted timber harvesting on steep slopes that are flood or landslide-prone. The appellant argued the township may not restrict timber harvesting, because the MPC prohibits unreasonable restrictions on timber harvesting. The court found the harvesting prohibition on landslide-prone land was reasonable.

Timber Harvest Operations Field Guide For Waterways, Wetlands and Erosion Control
Organization: PA Department of Environmental Protection
Year: 2007
Information to assist timber harvesters to prepare and implement soil erosion and sediment control plans, and to work around streams and wetlands. Experience has shown that most soil erosion problems originate with the improper layout or construction of skid trails, logging roads and landing areas. Therefore, the focus of this publication is to provide guidance and furnish specifications to properly design and implement an effective erosion and sediment control plan on a timber harvesting site.

Timber Harvest Ordinance, Center Township
Organization: Center Township, Butler County, PA
Year: 2002
This ordinance is posted to show the sections related to permit issuance, violation notices, suspensions, and penalties.
Timber Harvesting Information
Organization: West Bradford Township, Chester County
Year: 2006
Provides information for individuals or companies that are looking to conduct a timber harvest in West Bradford Township. It explains the processes that must take place prior to the issuance of a permit and, more importantly, includes a sample permit document.

Timber Harvesting Ordinance, Montgomery County
Organization: Montgomery Co. Planning Commission
Detailed example of a timber harvest ordinance. Also includes a detailed glossary of terms.

Timber Harvesting Ordinance, Williams Township, Northumberland County
Organization: Williams Township, Northumberland County
The timber harvesting ordinance that was upheld by the Commonwealth Court of PA in Chrin Bros., Inc. v. Williams Township Zoning Hearing Board. In part, the court found that the township was within its right to impose reasonable regulations on forestry practices within its boundaries.

Timber Harvesting/Riparian Buffer Ordinance, Kennett Township
Organization: Kennett Township, Chester County
Year: 2005
A very well-written and concise example of a timber ordinance. We’ve included this document due to its detail in addressing riparian buffers and woodland disturbance.
For more information, visit

Here is what I found.
Please support the Carbon Groundwater Guardians and The Water Research Center

PS – We have a new education booklet out for Private Well Owners in PA

Interesting Reading
Soil Science Simplified -

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propogation and Uses

Carbon budget of forest biomass and soils in southeast Norway calculated using a widely applicable method [An article from: Forest Ecology and Management]

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