Forestry | Ecotrope

The O: New federal forest rule makes sense

Ecotrope | Feb. 14, 2011 2:55 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:41 p.m.

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The Oregonian’s editorial board came out in support of the new federal forest management rule, in part because it is “designed to give individual national forests the headroom they’ll need to meet the law smartly”:

“This particular rulemaking should not be mistaken for another dizzying federal process choking on technicalities. The potential impact of it couldn’t be more everyday — on the doorstep of every person calling Oregon home and every person who thinks Oregon is special because of all its green.

The Northwest alone boasts 29 million acres of the nation’s national forests — enough land, if stitched together, to hold Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New Jersey. Much of it is wild, tough to get to; much of it is familiar, as recreational haven. All of it, however, is part of the broader swatch of national forests that in the American West furnish 50 percent of our drinking water.

Somehow that fact is lost in the perennial heat about logging and forest floor inventories for small critters, which otherwise informs forest management debate and policy. But niche concerns cannot be the lone drivers of conversation about the appropriateness of this new rule, designed to give individual national forests the headroom they’ll need to meet the law smartly.

That includes the steadfast preservation of our watersheds as well as species diversity in a time of climate shift. For in guiding forest use, national forest managers will need to show their decisions as ecologically in sync with their particular settings and as socially and economically tuned into the needs of surrounding communities.”

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