Old growth is burning up in wildfires. This calls for better land management

By Nick Smith, director of Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities
Capital Press
January 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Nick Smith

In December, Biden announced policy to conserve old growth forests on federal lands. The policy caps a nearly two-year process … including defining, inventorying and assessing the greatest threats to the nation’s old growth. … The threat of commercial logging was determined to be negligible. …This assessment could have provided momentum to implement a 10-year wildfire strategy… Instead, the Forest Service was directed to amend all 128 forest land management plans to “conserve and steward” old-growth forest conditions nationwide. The agency will attempt to amend these disparate plans through a single Environmental Impact Statement before Biden’s first term is over. …Rather than giving our public lands managers the policy tools and support they need to sustain our forests and all the values they provide, such “paperwork protection” of old growth forests forces public lands managers to focus on more government bureaucracy that does little to address the real risks on the ground. 

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