Lawsuit challenges Forest Service timber targets

By Kyle Perrotti
The Smoky Mountain News
March 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US East

A lawsuit filed last month in a Washington, D.C., federal court alleges the U.S. Forest Service’s practice of setting “timber targets” puts the climate at risk, undermines the Biden administration’s climate goals and violates federal law. The suit was filed by The Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of two conservation groups, the Chattooga Conservancy (based in upstate South Carolina) and Asheville-based MountainTrue, as well as an individual in Missouri. SELC argues that the Forest Service failed to study properly the climate impacts of its timber targets and the logging projects designed to fulfill them. Each year, the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture set timber targets, which the Forest Service is required to meet through logging on public lands. In recent years, the national target has been set as high as 4 billion board feet — or enough lumber to circle the globe more than 30 times. The already high target is expected to increase in the coming years.

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