Tahoe forest health meet USDA guidelines | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe forest health meet USDA guidelines

by Andy Bourelle

A 13-member panel of scientists earlier this week made a variety of recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service regarding its management of 191 million acres of national forests and grasslands. However, the suggestions are very similar to what the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has been doing for years.

“Certainly we have been among the leaders in this type of forest management,” said Linda Massey, spokeswoman for the LTBMU.

The Committee of Scientists was established by the Department of Agriculture two years ago to help update forest rules that have been unrevised since 1982.

The Forest Service should place forest health above all else as it revises the rules used to manage its land, the scientists recommended Monday.

The agency should use science in governing lands, make forest plans flexible, ensure that critical species remain viable and consider an entire region when crafting plans rather than just an individual forest, says a 193-page report from the Committee of Scientists.

“We have been putting forest health first since the early 1990s,” Massey said. “It continues to have top priority.”

The basin’s branch of the Forest Service isn’t alone in already doing much of what the scientists recommend.

“What I get is a message that is loud and clear, that we’re on the right track,” said Jim Lyons, the Agriculture Department undersecretary who overseas the Forest Service.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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