The Nature Conservancy welcomes the release of the new national Forest Planning Rule (Rule) released by the U.S. Forest Service. A new Rule is long overdue given the existing planning rule is 30 years old.
“The Forest Service should be complimented for producing a sorely needed new Forest Planning Rule,” said Chris Topik, Restoring America’s Forests director for The Nature Conservancy. “Healthy forests support the well-being of our nation, and yet half of the national forests are operating with out-of-date plans. We are glad the Forest Service has come out with a rule to allow new plans to be developed more efficiently. Although we need time to study the details of the new rule, it is based on extensive public participation and will encourage active restoration treatments that are urgently needed.”
Forests cover one-third of the United States; store and filter half the nation’s water supply; provide jobs to more than a million wood products workers; absorb nearly 20% of U.S. carbon emissions; offer 650 million acres of recreational lands that generate well over $15 billion in economic activity annually; and provide habitat for thousands of species across the country.
Yet our forests today face a “perfect storm” of threats, which took a century in the making:
All told, The Nature Conservancy estimates 120 million acres of America’s forests –the size of California and West Virginia combined– are now in immediate need of restoration.
Science plays a clear role in the new plan. Decision makers will be required to inform their plan development with science, and be transparent about how science was used to inform their assessment, decision, and follow-up monitoring.
“Science-based forest planning is critical to meeting the multiple challenges facing forests in the U.S. today. It can bring various interests and stakeholders together to strengthen long-term forest conservation while helping the Forest Service fulfill its multiple use mandate,” said Laura McCarthy, The Nature Conservancy’s senior forest policy lead.
“The last plan was created in a world before the internet, Madonna, and a 1,200 Dow Jones,” continued McCarthy. “Most people born in 1982 have kids by now; it’s time for a new generation of Forest Planning Rule, too.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy