George Wuerthner: Manage federal forest lands with all Americans in mind

In a Missoulian op-ed, George Wuerthner expresses misgivings about the impact of the forest restoration provisions in the new farm bill . . .

Recently the Bullock administration convened a committee to designate federal forest lands that could be logged under a special categorical exclusion provision of the recently passed Farm Bill.

This section of the Farm Bill repeals the National Environmental Policy Act to allow an unlimited number of commercial logging projects – up to 3,000 acres in size each – to be implemented on U.S. national forests without any environmental analysis of harmful effects to threatened/endangered or sensitive species. It would also eliminate administrative appeals, severely reducing public participation in forest management decisions.

Under the proposal, any lands outside of special set asides like wilderness areas and proposed wilderness deemed “threatened” by insects, disease or wildfire could be logged. Since insects, disease and wildfire are the major ecological processes that rejuvenate and restore forest ecosystems, and are found in all forested ecosystems, this means just about any federal forest lands could potentially be logged.

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See also: “Gov. Bullock lists 5.1 million acres of forest lands for restoration