Group tries logging forests to save them

In order to save logged-over areas from development while improving wildlife habitat and creating jobs, the Virginia-based nonprofit Conservation Fund plans to … log them more. It’s a counterintuitive approach that’s raising some hackles in the environmental community. The group has been acquiring thousands of acres of less-profitable forestland from logging companies in Northern California, with plans to log them responsibly. In 2004, the group bought 24,000 acres for $18 million, some 35 percent of which they have designated a forest reserve; the remainder will continue being commercially logged. It’s now purchasing some 16,000 additional acres, and hopes to buy 165,000 more. To cover loan and management costs of the 16,000 acres, the group will need to do over $1.8 million a year worth of logging there. “We can get foresters to say this would promote sustainable forestry,” said Louis Blumberg of The Nature Conservancy, “but it is hard to get society to accept this notion.”