In conjunction with publishing its notice of intent to prepare an EIS and draft forest plan, the Gila National Forest revealed a bit of the thinking going on on at least one national forest about whether they should continue to address climate change in the forest planning process.
Throughout the assessment process, the Forest team took a close look at the significant effects of climate change on the Gila. According to Schulz, directives from U.S. President Donald Trump to other agencies to release no evidence of climate change they find have not been represented in the assessment report.
“The documents still do talk about climate change,” he said. “You will see that. We will just see how this all works moving forward. There are a lot of aspects we will still be talking about using some aspects of terminology, like ‘drought.’ There is clearly strong local interest in managing the effects of climate change.”
So maybe they would address climate change without saying the words? At least they’re moving forward, for now. It’s actually hard to imagine major backsliding in forest planning since the planning rule requires the use of the best available scientific information, and I think the Forest Service has been a leader in trying to apply climate change science. The point about local interest is important, too. If nothing else, if someone brings it up, the agency can’t arbitrarily dismiss it.