Creating the Next Generation of National Forest Plans

I was going to call it “A New Century of Forest Planning,” but it looked like that was taken.  For those of you who were attracted to this blog by its original title, you may find this article useful.

Thanks to the Bolle Center for publishing it.  It seems appropriate that one of the students whom Dr. Bolle mentored in the early 70s can use the institution honoring him to critique the state of the law and policies he helped inspire – and hopefully continue his role of bringing attention to public lands management controversies.

11 Comments

  1. “The Bolle Center “perspectives” platform provides a space to take on some of the
    more challenging and controversial issues in federal lands and wildlife
    management. The Center believes that it is possible to thoughtfully discuss and
    debate important conservation issues in an intelligent, respectful, and engaging
    fashion.”

    Criticism for expressing an opinion wasn’t what I expected from participants on this blog. It would be more interesting to hear what you think about what I said.

  2. Jon, have you ever been up to the evil terraces that Arnold Bolle so opposed? Have you seen the trees? It worked, and with the regrowth and infill, looks fine.
    And Martin Nie is a political science doctor. Great, he has a doctorate and he’s applying it. But he’s clearly a preservationist, is happy with federal policies as they now rest, loves DeVoto. Just another colonist from the other side.

  3. Hmmm… what does Bolle controversy and trees on the Bitterroot today have to do with Haber’s analysis of 2012 planning rule? And, while cute, Dave, your comments really don’t seem to fit the comment considerations the blog aspires to. Like Jon, I too am interested in reading about views on the content of his analysis. I suspect many people outside the FS (inside the FS, as well?) might find it quite helpful in navigating through the planning regs. One function of the blog can be to provide a similar, comparative “Skinner analysis.”

    • I concur Mr. Furnish. I’ve curtailed my commenting on here for precisely that reason. Also, to confirm your suspicion, I emailed Jon’s analysis to several people I know in the agency. And yes, they (as I) found it quite illuminating.

      Thanks Jon 🙂

  4. I read Jon analysis and had trouble finding the point. But then I do not work for the Forest Service or am I not a academic. I do appreciate Jon’s contributions’ to this blog. I think one thing that needs to be taken into account is the utter frustration one can experience when dealing with out current public forest policies and “plans”. I am afraid the direction we are going will be the end of our public working forests. Seems like all this planning is going to result in our forest either belonging to corporations or being wilderness, burnt up wilderness at that. It all these discussions there has been no place for the local working communities. Where is the vision from our forest leaders for healthy public forests that are children can enjoy and work in? Try to buy a tree from our public forests that you would like to create something out of.

  5. I think Martin’s introduction does a better job of highlighting the “point” than I did – “help guide citizens though this important process.”

    Maybe your point is that this is pointless because “the direction we are going will be the end of our public working forests.” I agree that NFMA was intended to move the needle that direction a little, and my paper is likely biased towards using the planning process in that way. However, I think the best that can hoped for is a bulwark against the momentum of an agency that is professionally biased towards active management and fiscally biased towards management that produces budgets from Congress, and a Congress that is biased towards funding management that produces jobs and corporate profits (that fund Congressional campaigns).

  6. Bob: from what I hear about Idaho Panhandle NF recently you might take encouragement from their new (old) emphasis on getting out the cut. And Jon, I agree that pendulum may need to swing the direction you (and NFMA regs) suggest to help balance some of past practices.

    • “Getting out the cut.” Interesting as Mt. Furnish’s old forest, the Siuslaw, is now touted for its new direction – restoration, wildlife, and recreation. “Getting out the cut” seems applicable only in that it thins to promote the acquisition of old-growth characteristics. Mills, taxes, jobs, raw materials? …. not so much. Recreation seems to be the only place for people on this forest.

      A few weeks ago, I sat down and counted at least fifteen, small, local, family-owned mills in this small county (half the size of Rhode Island) that no longer exist. Most had little or no forest land of their own so they relied heavily on the log market. When the Siuslaw essentially went out of business (and quit producing logs) during the Clinton era, these mills had to paid astronomically high prices for logs – an unsustainable business practice that ultimately drove them out of business. One, in a effort to stay alive, was clear cutting large acreages of their own 35-year old timber as fast as they could; they eventually went broke.

      The county now has just three mills with one, the largest, being wholly owned by a very large, nationwide conglomerate; its owners are much reviled by the environmental community. This particular mill had been previously owned by two different, local families – one went broke and the other sold out before they went broke.

      Most of the county’s logs are now shipped elsewhere.

  7. It’s no secret that I’ve come to regard managing public lands to “get out the cut” as ill-advised, particularly when the practice is unsustainable economically, socially, legally, and ecologically. It was not prudent of the FS to foster creation of all those mills on what turned out to be false premises, nor is it satisfying in any way to see them dry up. Siuslaw timber harvesting is now much less than before, but stable and focused on “fixing” old clearcuts to achieve non-timber objectives. This is done economically with reduced, but still important, benefits to local industry. In another 20 years, the Siuslaw will abound in future options, rather than be painted in a corner.

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