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[ft-l] President's Bush's new forest policy for logging and forest fires

> Bush "fire prevention" program a giveaway to the timber industry?
> If you want to start a fire, do you set a match to a big tree? Apparently,
> that's how President Bush would do it, since his "fire prevention" program
> allows the timber industry to go deep into our national forests
> and cut down
> old-growth trees.

I finally tracked down the actual document and here is a section of it:
1.Authorize agencies to enter into long-term stewardship contracts with the
private sector, non-profit organizations, and local communities. Stewardship
contracts allow contractors to keep wood products in exchange for the
service of thinning trees and brush and removing dead wood. Long-term
contracts provide contractors the incentive to invest in equipment and
infrastructure needed to productively use material generated from forest
thinning, such as small-diameter logs, to make wood products or to produce

2. Expedite implementation of fuels reduction and forest restoration
projects, particularly in high priority areas, consistent with more targeted
legislation passed in July.

3. Ensure that judges consider long-term risks of harm to people, property
and the environment in challenges based on short-term risks of forest health

4. Remove a rider that imposed extraordinary procedural requirements on
Forest Service appeals that are inconsistent with pre-existing requirements
of law

I do not see anything in it about clear cutting old growth forests, the high
priority area mentioned above are areas close to towns and cities. I think
paragraph 1 refers to the northwest forest plan adopted in 1994 under
Clinton but apparently blocked in implementation by lawsuits. Another
section says:

About 190 million acres of federal forests and rangelands in the lower 48
states face high risks of catastrophic fire due to deteriorating ecosystem
health and drought. For instance, many ponderosa pine forests are 15 times
more dense than they were a century ago. Where 25 to 35 trees once grew on
each acre of forest, now more than 500 trees are crowded together in
unhealthy conditions. Drought conditions coupled with years of fuel buildup
from fire suppression and reduced thinning make these lands vulnerable to
intense and environmentally destructive fires.

This is exactly what the NPS ranger in Bryce was talking about. I don't see
how you can go from the current 500 trees per acre to 35 trees per acre
without cutting down a lot of trees, big and small. How can you do that?

I just don't see any reason for hyteria and apperntly neither do the
environmental fringe just so long as the plan only applies to South Dakota
and the Black Hills.