NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Loggers and Environmentalists Clash -- Again

April 16, 2004

The Western United States is expected to be drought-ridden this summer, and a plan for the U.S. Forest Service to log an area previously devastated by fire may be challenged, says the New York Times.

In 2002, 120 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon and northern California was charred by the "Biscuit fire," leaving behind burned trees that are now decaying, creating even more of a fire danger:

  • Last year, a plan to salvage 29,000 acres in the Siskiyou Forest was released, and pending a public comment period, the plan is expected to be finalized.
  • However, 12,000 acres of the logging would take place in Inventoried Roadless Areas (a result of President Clinton's roadless rule), which, previously protected from logging, has been cleared for salvage by a Federal District Court judge.

Environmentalists, are alarmed by the exemption of a designated area from Clinton's roadless rule, and fear that the amenable relationship between them and the Siskiyou National Forest managers may deteriorate. They are suing to halt the logging plan, and have not ruled out tree sitting and human roadblocks if they lose their court battle.

Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington argues in Science Magazine that recent science on post-fire logging indicates that salvage logging policies should be developed and carried out before major fires are allowed to happen.

Source: Matthew Preusch, "Amid a Forest's Ashes, a Debate Over Logging Profits is Burning On," New York Times, April 15, 2004, D. Lindenmayer, et. al. "Salvage Harvesting Policies After Natural Disturbance," Science Magazine, February 2004.

For Science text (subscription required)


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