Tag Archives: forest restoration

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

Feds to spend $30M on forest restoration projects

The USDA is kicking off a number of forest restoration project this year. There’s nothing major in this neighborhood, apparently, but that may change in subsequent years . . .

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday it will spend $30 million this year on forest restoration projects in 12 states to reduce the threat of wildfires, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

Those first 13 projects will be the start of a multi-year initiative to improve the health of forests and watersheds on public and private lands, Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie said.

With longer fire seasons in recent years burning more areas, and beetle outbreaks devastating more than 40 million acres of forests in the West, the pace and scale of restoration need to be increased, he said.

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