Here’s a link to FS volume sold from 1905 to 2008. The longer term graph (page 2 of the previous link) is more illustrative than the one above.
In my view, the historical table and graph definitely raise the question about whether the analytical and monitoring needs for protection of the environment and species for an 10-12 BBF program should be scaled back for a 2 BBF program. If we stopped “bayoneting the wounded” (in Jack Ward Thomas’ terms) what funding could that potentially free up to pursue other environmental goals?
Here’s a quote from Charles Wilkinson of the University of Colorado Law School (member of 1999 Committee of Scientists) in a July 23rd High Country News article on Vermillion Basin oil and gas leasing that acknowledges that conditions have changed since the old timber days…
Over the last year and a half, the Obama administration has made a variety of commitments to protect sensitive landscapes, cut greenhouse gas emissions and develop renewable energy sources. With that, Wilkinson can imagine a “more sensible onshore policy emerging” from the administration, but he adds, “I don’t know if they’ve reached their moment of decision yet.” He equates the issue to the problems the Forest Service faced over four decades, trying to improve forest management while keeping the timber cut high. It wasn’t until timber harvesting came down that environmental conditions on the ground genuinely improved. “We’ve got to bring the barrels down, too,” Wilkinson says.