The harvest of commercially valuable timber is a basic component of sound forest management. The Board of Directors of Afognak Native Corporation (Afognak) has mandated that the company’s forestry program accomplish two goals simultaneously: 1) achieve economic returns; and 2) provide for recreation, subsistence and cultural use of the lands for the benefit of its Shareholders in perpetuity. With prudent forest management, Afognak’s lands are large enough, diverse enough and rich enough to accomplish these goals. Afognak is implementing the following forestry techniques to meet the Board’s goals:
Foresters on Afognak Island oversee the replanting of approximately 200,000 seedlings every year. These trees are adding height and volume each season and will become the forests of tomorrow.
Afognak is experimenting with planting trees on Afognak Island where trees have never grown before. It believes that select sites are suitable for healthy forest growth and will add substantially to this resource base.
To increase growth and the health of the forest, Afognak thins lesser trees in areas of overabundance. Thinning also provides space for large animals to move about freely within the forest.
Cutting off lower branches on trees can increase the quality of the lumber that will eventually come out of harvested timber. The removal of branches also increases the ability for both man and animals to move through the forest.
While not yet practiced, Afognak expects to commercially thin sites halfway between the pre-commercial and final harvest phases. The expected result is a small salable log at the time of thinning and better, healthier growth of the remaining forest.
Of the nine management tracts of land owned by Afognak, only one has been used for active timber development. A second tract of land has also been identified for active economic potential. The other seven tracts of land have been classified as either having recreation management potential or are designated for subsistence and recreational use only.