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The Deforestation of America!

Denver, CO-
President Bush’s call for a “more enlightened forest management” program follows a season of massive forest fires in the western United States which some groups attribute to a lack of proper forest management. However, while the so-called more reputable press has been busy applauding the President’s call for better forest management, TheRealTruth has learned what those grand sounding words may actually mean. According to sources within the United States Forest Service who must remain anonymous for obvious reasons, the President has received opposing proposals from the forest service and the forest industry on how to properly manage the nation’s forests.

The proposal advanced by the Forest Service for managing the national forests calls for a “selective thinning” of the forests. It would target dry, older, rotting trees for cutting down because these provide the best fuel for forest fires. An essential part of their proposal also involves clearing the underbrush because that is another source of fuel for forest fires. The Forest Service proposal does allow the trees that are cut down to be used for commercial purposes such as lumber and firewood.

The forest industry, on the other hand, favors a more efficient “clear cutting” of the forests that would allow them to bring in their heavy equipment more easily. It would target mature healthy trees for cutting down because these are more useful for lumber. They favor mile wide strips of deforested areas between 10 mile wide strips of virgin forests. Their proposal does not mention anything about selectively thinning the trees or clearing the underbrush in the strips of virgin forests.

There is a third proposal advanced by some environmental groups: the “natural process” approach. It suggests that men do nothing and let nature manage the forests as it has for millons of years before man came along. It holds that forest fires are just part of nature’s way of managing forests and that they should be allowed to burn themselves out. This view is not even being heard by the President or his advisors.

The Forest Service feels the President is leaning towards the proposal advanced by the forest industry, and that is the proposal they expect him to present to the U.S. Congress. However, the Forest Service, and also the environmental groups, hope the U.S. Congress will be more receptive to their views than the President and his advisors have been.

The bill that comes out of Congress is likely to be some kind of compromise between the opposing views. One possibility is the clear cutting of 200 yard wide strips between 10 mile wide strips of selectively thinned forests.


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