In DepthEcology

Scientists split on Oregon old-growth forest plan

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Science  12 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6300, pp. 637
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6300.637

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Summary

New rules governing 1 million hectares of federal forestland in the Pacific Northwest are rekindling a bit of the old-growth timber wars of the late 20th century. The changes announced by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on 5 August have environmentalists charging that it rolls back important habitat protections contained in the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan. That plan severely curtailed logging on 10 million hectares of federal lands in the name of protecting forests and species, including the northern spotted owl. Meanwhile, Oregon counties that get timber revenue from BLM land charge that the agency is still restricting logging too much. Some scientists are siding with the environmental groups, whereas others say the new approach is an advance that rests on science that has emerged over the last 2 decades. The outcome of this debate could set the stage for changes by the U.S. Forest Service, which controls most of the land covered by the 1994 plan.