Pete Nelson/Defenders on Wildlife Provision in Planning Rule

Pete Nelson, of Defenders of Wildlife, provides his take on the wildlife provision in the draft planning rule.  He doesn’t like it much….

He wants a non-discretionary viability standard

One Comment

  1. The big difference between the old (1982) rule and the new proposal is that the new eschews any pretense of “rational” economic planning. The old rule regarded the national forests as factories of goods and services from which planners could divine, with the help of linear programming models, an optimum allocation and schedule of harvests. Each output was assigned a value; each input was assigned a cost. When the model didn’t give the desired answer, planners tweaked the numbers. When the tweaks didn’t work, planners made-up the numbers.

    The edifice came crashing down in the late 1980s. A quarter-century later, the Forest Service is still digging itself out from under the rubble.

    The new rule replaces economic rationality with ecological rationality. The old gurus (e.g., Krutilla, Hyde, Clawson and Teeguarden) have been deposed by Soule, Ehrlich, MacArthur and Wilson. Leopold is the new God (is it coincidence that the Forest Service released this month a new Leopold biopic?); Pinchot is history.

    Perhaps ecologically rational planning will be more successful. But I doubt it. The new forest planning process still pits bitter ideological enemies against each other with the Forest Service serving as self-interested arbiter. The modern-day critic will turn from deconstructing FORPLAN to deciphering HexSim. Every plan will be appealed and most will be litigated.

    Perhaps in another quarter-century the FS will abandon any pretense of rational comprehensive planning and consider the incremental, on-the-ground K.I.S.S. approach I suggested. I should live so long.

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