Here’s some well-known quotes from former Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth in 2003. He was trying to sell the idea that the agency was no longer timber-first. This was the “new” Forest Service; “caring for the land” comes first.
Twenty years ago, we focused primarily on outputs, measured in terms of board feet; today, we focus primarily on outcomes, measured in terms of healthy ecosystems.
So our mission focus has shifted away from past levels of timber production.
This concept was embedded in the 2012 Planning Rule, with desired landscape conditions being the basis for vegetation management projects. From the Preamble:
“However, land management planning today focuses on managing toward desired conditions, or outcomes, rather than focusing simply on outputs.”
Today it looks like we have the new “new” Forest Service. At least on the Olympic National Forest:
Members of the collaborative and non-voting members from the Olympic National Forest, Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) and several other entities said Tuesday that the common goal is to increase timber harvest and aid the local economy while also protecting the forests.
Reta Laford, Olympic National Forest supervisor said her agency’s current emphasis within the restoration framework will treat more acres and increase volume using congressional appropriations as well as timber sales that retain the funds created to use for North Olympic Peninsula projects.
Paul Bialkowsky, timber manager for Olympic Peninsula Operations for Interfor and a collaborative member, said the group is working for a shared goal among industry, government, and environmentalists to increase timber harvest while maintaining forest and watershed quality.
The only person to say anything about ecosystems was the meeting facilitator. And there was no mention of desired conditions. It looks like the agency may be returning to its roots (or stumps). Also that potential collaborators who don’t share this new/old goal may have a reason to be not be much interested in collaborating.