From Capitol Press:
PORTLAND — The U.S. Forest Service is considering whether to amend a 25-year-old rule that prohibits logging large trees across six national forests in Central and Eastern Oregon.
Known as the “Eastside screens,” the policy was originally adopted in 1995 and included a ban on harvesting any trees with a diameter greater than 21 inches east of the Cascades to protect old-growth forests, water quality and wildlife habitat.
Though the 21-inch standard was supposed to be temporary at the time, it has remained in effect for all or parts of the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur, Ochoco, Deschutes and Fremont-Winema national forests, which together add up to nearly 10 million acres of federally owned land.
Forest managers, however, may finally be ready to make changes based on advances in science and a better understanding of the different landscapes.
The Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station issued a report in February, stating that removing some 21-inch-diameter trees — especially those that are large, young and thrive in shade — may actually be desirable for forest restoration goals.