Thu February 10, 2011

USDA Announces New Forest Management Rule, Public Comment Sought

The U. S. Department of Agriculture has released a proposal they hope will serve as a framework to develop future land management plans while at the same time protecting water, wildlife and community interests.

The public has 90 days to weigh in on the proposal that covers the 155 forests and 20 grasslands within the National Forest System. Harris Sherman is the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment. He says the plan takes recreation into consideration as well as the latest science to address both current and future forest needs.

“Obviously there are new stressors on our forests such as climate change and we want to make sure we are considering those stressors as we go forward,” says Sherman. “We have new approaches to land management. These are new tools which we think should be incorporated into any contemporary modern planning rule”.

Sherman, who also served as Colorado’s Director of Natural Resources, says the role of climate change is important for the west and Colorado where the mountain pine beetle has devastated millions of acres of forest land. The proposed change would update planning procedures that have been in place since 1982. Sherman calls those rules inefficient, expensive and very time consuming.

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