U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY VINCE LITTLE
NORTH ATL ANTIC DIVISION
By carrying out timber disposal, Norfolk District’s forestry section facilitates the USACE mission across the region, clearing space for military construction, housing, and environmental and Civil Works projects, he added. Proper harvesting and removal also aligns with military operational needs. Open ranges are created for large vehicles, infantry maneuvers, and other field training exercises. “The Army has a lot of standing timber out here that otherwise, without timber harvesting, would go untreated,” Willey said. “The untreated stands are less desirable to be mission ready for troop training.” Flores says managing the real property – the timber on each installation – supports the overall Army mission. “It’s an active part in sculpting an individual training area’s objective for readiness,” Flores said. “Our services enable the Army not only to adapt the training area and ranges [to their needs] but also capture value in the process. We are able to manage Army real estate and make way for changing military needs while collecting potential profits and funneling that money back into the landscape through different natural resource management projects.” Forest management ensures healthier forests, future timber supply, and sustained growth. Safety and eliminating environmental risks are other key factors. 18
A logging crew conducts tree removal during a timber harvest on the training ranges of Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, Nov. 7, 2019. The forestry section at Norfolk District handles forest management and timber sales for all of the North Atlantic Division. It’s a key program that promotes healthier forests while clearing space for military exercises and USACE projects on installations across the Northeast.
“If you have unmanaged stands, you can have an invasion of disease or pests that attack trees,” Willey said. “If you had a monoculture stand of pine, for example, and the Southern pine beetle sweeps through, essentially you now have a dead stand of pine. We’re mitigating that risk by doing timber harvests.” Dead trees add another threat to Army installations and surrounding communities: forest fire. “The last thing we want to do is load our woods with fuel or potential for more fire,” he added. “We’re fortunate on the East Coast – we’re generally wetter than the West [Coast]. “However, if we fall into an extended drought, we’re at risk for fire here.” Willey said the Norfolk District program generates more than $1 million annually in timber sales for the Army, including $550,000 from Fort A.P. Hill.