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6/27/2014
Multi-use forests

The national forests are for all Americans, meaning they should be multiple use.

The uses include timber harvest.

President Obama is being lobbied by a group of U.S. and Canadian scientists asking him to place old-growth timber off limits to harvest.

As for the scientists, they're welcome to their opinions. Their opinions are welcome. Scientists should provide facts to the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the forests. But the information should be factual and not emotional, not distorted to persuade a political leader to take a stance based on inaccurate information. Then the basis of the stance is at best wobbly.

The scientists say there is just 10 percent of the original old-growth timber left since before Europeans settled in the United States. That figure should be checked out with the Forest Service — if it can come up with an accurate original number.

Of course, the Tongass National Forest has the largest amount of old growth. But timber harvest has been curtailed here significantly. It is a fraction of what it once was.

The Forest Service still tries to provide timber sales. As part of a multi-use forest policy, which seems to be addressing most Americans'wishes, allowing the Forest Service to continue that way would be appropriate for the president.