Planning for the Future
In conformance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976, each national forest develops a comprehensive plan, utilizing substantial public involvement and sound science, to guide future management. The Forest Service is fortunate to have a decade of experience managing forests under the initial set of NFMA plans. Many national forests are now working to revise those plans by addressing inadequacies, new information, changed conditions, and/or new issues or trends. How and where to conduct timber harvest will undoubtedly be a significant issue in many of the plan revisions.
Timber harvest and related issues are extremely important to the future of America's federal forests. There are sharp divisions in public opinion over how they should be resolved. The forest planning process provides an excellent vehicle to assure that all sides of the issues are represented, varied ecological situations are assessed, and related policy and management decisions are based on ecological, social, cultural, and economic considerations.