Conclusions from the Committee of Scientists Report

1. The report, which will offer a guide to the Forest Service planning regulations, reflects months of study, debate and public comment.

*Recommendations by the committee of scientists are consistent with current Forest Service policy

* The committee is recommending partnerships with other government agencies, interest groups and the public when making decisions.

* This is already being accomplished. For instance, the Forest Service is working with state and federal land managers, interested private landowners and community groups to conduct watershed analysis

* The Forest Service is committed to results: it will issue a report on forest health by 2003 that shows the progress of collaborative relationships with state, local and other partners

2. The committee believes sustainability must underscore the management of America's lands and natural resources that are under the care of the Forest Service.

* This is already a main theme of the chief's Natural Resource Agenda for the 21st Century

* The agenda calls for increasing stream and riparian areas by 40 percent; an increase in habitat restoration by 30 percent and the conservation of threatened, endangered and sensitive species

3. Strategies for conserving and restoring watersheds and the role of timber harvest in achieving sustainability should be recognized

* They are being recognized. For example:

* The maintenance and health of ecosystems and watersheds is the first priority of the chief's Natural Resource Agenda

* The Forest Service's policy on watersheds states "We must continue our long tradition of protecting wild areas... so they can remain important sources of clean water and biological diversity."

* Clearcutting on national forests declined by 84 percent during the past 10 years

* Using timber sales primarily to restore forest ecosystem health increased 70 percent during the past five years

4. The scientific community should be involved more in developing strategies for maintaining ecological, economic and social sustainability and designing strategies for monitoring.

* The Forest Service is using the best available scientific information based on the principles of ecosystem management in managing its 191 million acres of forests and grasslands

* Through more than 100 partnerships, the Forest Service researched a way to give western juniper commercial value. Commonly considered a weed, the wood now finds its way into paneling, home decks and a variety of oils.

*This scientific research is also responsible for new advances in mushroom harvesting, herb cultivation and Taxol, a cancer-fighting drug made from the Pacific yew.

* Science-based research of forest products is an ongoing concern at the Forest Service products laboratory in Madison, Wis. Discoveries with economic relevance are occurring in pulp and paper products, wood preservation, wood finishing products and recycling technologies