Arizona: Gov tricked into letting loggers instead of credible ecologists restore forests

Millions of acres of dangerously thick forests in Northern Arizona won
approval Thursday by the Arizona Board of Supervisors Association. The
proposal represents the first broad agreement on the role of the
timber industry in harvesting the small trees that have turned some
2.6 million acres of Arizona forests into a tinderbox that threatens
disaster for many communities. “This agreement is unprecedented,” said
Ethan Aumack, who serves as both chair of a governor’s task force on
forest health and director of restoration programs for the Grand
Canyon Trust.

“We’ve never come close to this kind of agreement
before. If this can’t get us to where we need to be, it’s hopeless,”
he said. Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin said the agreement is
“historic” because key environmental groups have agreed to a crucial
role for the timber industry in restoring the forest to health for the
first time in a quarter century.

“We’ve finally done enough work and
had enough meetings that everyone said we’re willing to trust one
another enough to try this – because we know we have to do something.
We can’t let it burn and we can’t afford to clean it” without the
timber industry, said Martin. County governments have lined up behind
the plan, based on a study estimating the supply of wood from pines
smaller than 16 inches in diameter totals at least 840 million cubic
feet. The group urged the U.S. Forest Service to award a 20-year
contract to give a planned Winslow sawmill the right to annually thin
30,000 acres of overgrown ponderosa pine forests.

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