Environmental groups say a forest thinning project on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon confirms their worst fears about the Forest Service management of the troubled forest thinning contracts.
The festering dispute centers on whether the Forest Service will leave standing huge, old-growth ponderosa pines while using a private contractor to thin the thickets of trees that even environmental groups agree pose a grave danger to both forest health and forested communities.
The issue lies a the heart of the landmark Four Forest Restoration Initiative, which seeks to thin millions of acres at no cost to the taxpayers by providing private contractors with a long-term contract to cut thickets of small trees — while leaving the big, fire-resistant, old-growth trees standing.
However, the refusal by the U.S. Forest Service to adopt a limit on the size of trees cut under the project has spurred criticisms of some of the groups that developed the 4-FRI approach, which had inspired a coalition of environmentalists and loggers.
Now, environmental groups are pointing at a proposed thinning project on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to explain why they’re skeptical of the Forest Service approach to forest restoration. The analysis of the proposed forest restoration project suggests that 30 percent of the trees and 70 percent of the wood volume would come from the trees larger than 16 inches in diameter, which the original 4-FRI approach would have made virtually off limits.
From Payson Roundup >>