Knowing the Cost of Every Thin and the Value of Nothing
The plan unveiled by President Bush earlier this week to make it easier to thin forests in the name of fire prevention has touched off a firestorm of its own, enraging environmentalists who see it as a giveaway for the timber industry and a backdoor out of environmental protection measures. Moreover, environmentalists see the Bush plan as a Trojan horse for sneaking a highly controversial timber practice into American forests — salvage logging, or the selling of trees in fire-damaged forests. Advocates of salvage logging say it is a way for the U.S. Forest Service to make money off of wood that might otherwise simply rot; conservationists compare salvage logging to mugging a fire victim. They say timber companies remove large, fire-resistant trees and fallen logs that help restore ecosystems, and leave precisely the smaller trees and underbrush that pose a fire hazard.