Ground Truth: Victories

A Farm Bill Win

Sometimes a little bit of arm-twisting can yield big results.

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a version of the 2018 Farm Bill that would have opened wide swaths of national forests to clearcutting with little or no environmental review. Boosters of those provisions claim massive logging is needed to reduce fuel loads in fire-prone forests.

FSEEE fought back. We urged you to contact your senators and tell them that national forest management should not be dictated in a Farm Bill. Despite the assertions of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, our national forests are not “crops.”

Many of you did just that. And your senators listened.

On Monday, Senate and House negotiators released a compromise version of the Farm Bill that omitted those disastrous forest management provisions, and instead stuck closely to a Senate version of the bill. A 253-page explanatory document contained the sentence “The Conference substitute deletes the House provision” a whopping 64 times.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law in coming days, even though Perdue lamented “missed opportunities in forest management.”

Many thanks to all of you who helped us turn back these damaging proposals.


2 comments on this post

  1. Gerald Crowell says:

    I apologize for being late in responding to this, but I have just now discovered this website and wish to offer a professional forestry opinion. Are we missing an important distinction here? Clearcutting is a practice to reach a management goal, it is not a goal itself. It is a “tactic” to reach a “goal”. In other words, a management goal would be to increase wildlife habitat, or to convert an over-mature, dying section of a forest to a new young forest. The tactic, the management practice, to accomplish these goals would be to clearcut. A house painter does not examine a house and tell the homeowner that the old paint needs to be removed, and leave it at that. He recommends a new coat of paint. He then says, the old paint needs to be removed first. Removing the old paint is only the first step to repainting the house. As a forester, I don’t recommend clearcutting, I recommend a goal of, say, increase ruffed grouse habitat. They require clearcuts during a portion of their life cycle. If clearcuts are not present, the grouse population will die out. The tactic to reach this management goal is to clearcut the forest in 10-20 acre areas to create this habitat. So I say to the landowner; “The management goal here is to increase ruffed grouse population”. “This can be reached by clearcutting sections of the forest to create a needed habitat component of this species that is not present”. Another example, as a forester, I don’t look at an over-mature, dying section of a forest and say; “this needs to be clearcut”. I say, “this section needs to be converted to a new young forest. The first step to reach this management goal is to clearcut the existing forest to make way for a new forest”. To say; “We want to preserve forests by eliminating clearcutting” is akin to saying “we want to preserve farms by eliminating crop harvests”, which is clearcutting applied to agriculture. As professional forest managers, we need to be careful not to confuse a management practice with the goal which that practice is designed to reach.

  2. Marga G NewComb says:

    U sound like a person who only sees dollar signs and has no respect for the integrity of a living forest. There is much we can learn about cooperation and appreciation of variety in a forest. A Grouse can find a meadow to enjoy, and a tree looks out for its neighbors. The forest does not need us meddling with it. Selective logging is all we should be doing and all we really need. There R better products to build everyday things with than wood ! So, PLEASE No Clear Cutting, use Selective Logging instead, and Save the Forest for Love and it’s Beauty !

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