Healthy Forest Management

Healthy Forest Management

Healthy Forest Management

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Earlier this week H.R. 1526 the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, a bill sponsored by Congressman Doc Hastings on forest management and wildfires, was the subject of discussion on the House Floor. Congressman Doc Hastings, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, was the first to take the floor to discuss his bill.

HASTINGS: As the Chairman for the Natural Resources Committee I have always felt that all federal lands, unless otherwise designated, should be for multiple purposes. What we propose in the Healthy Forest Act is that on federal lands where there is multiple purpose there should be target dates for harvesting timber. If one looks at timber like any other commercial crop, the only difference is timber harvests happen in a longer period of time, generally thirty to forty years, but you should still manage that crop. This hasn't been done and as a result this has led to these catastrophic forest fires that we've had.

Hastings cites the Endangered Species Act as one of the prime reasons for the falling off of timber harvests.

HASTINGS: Particularly in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California because of the Endangered Species Act timber harvests have dropped off dramatically - that means counties have lost their revenue. In fact, in Washington, Oregon and California in the last twenty years timber harvest has fallen by 90% on federal lands. We do address that in the Healthy Forests Act by allowing counties to manage these federal forests and get a return as they did some odd 100 years ago of 25% of the harvest.

Currently there are 7 active large fires in California, 2 in Idaho, 1 in Montana, and 1 in Washington, which is burning 3,500 acres in Dead Canyon 8 miles south of Mabton.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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