Timber Boom II
The Bush administration has indicated that it will rewrite the Northwest Forest Plan, the nation’s first attempt to manage a broad ecosystem across an entire region of the U.S. In an development welcomed by timber interests, U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth has asked regional heads of the USFS, the Bureau of Land Management, and other agencies to recommend changes to the plan, which was approved by President Clinton in 1994. As it stands, the Northwest Forest Plan protects millions of acres of federal forests while allowing logging of about 800 million board-feet per year. The timber industry says that figure — just a quarter of the quantity of wood logged during the late 1980s timber boom — does not reflect reality. Last year, for example, legal and procedural obstacles kept logging to less than 200 million board-feet. Environmentalists counter that as it stands the plan is barely sufficient to protect wildlife.