Meantime, recent news articles are again covering the number of lawsuits that are occurring as our public land managing Agencies seek to manage our remaining forested lands. The Chief of the Forest Service recently complained that as many as 15% of proposed timber sales windup in the courts. I know how frustrating it is to work at managing our public forest lands according to scientific principles and then being stopped by groups and individuals that do not agree with the management techniques being applied. When I read the lawsuits they seem to focus on disagreements over access, harvesting techniques, potential habitat impacts, commercial utilization and so forth. Seldom, if ever, do I hear meaningful dialog over the needs of the forest communities to maintain healthy diverse vegetative conditions. Almost all of the disagreement is over the how to, tools and techniques, and neither side seems prepared to focus on the condition of the forests. I have stated before that the "Preservation" concepts nor the "Conservation" concepts will produce the desired outcome. With over half of our forests already gone and population at it's current number and expanding, our forests demand proper management. To think otherwise is simply ignoring the obvious. Mother Nature requires help!
The real question is what kind of management? Conservation, Wise Use, manages the resources from the forests and will result, eventually, in the destruction of our remaining valuable forests. The only solution is to focus on health and diversity, and the only way to accomplish this is to begin to manage the individual communities. The first step is to develop the skill to recognize these unique units and stop treating hundreds and thousands of acres with the same prescription.
I can guarantee that when leadership begins working with the potentially effected interests on forest condition goals before proposing techniques, you will experience a reduction in the number of lawsuits!