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U.S. Forest Service to move forward on new policy for managing old growth forests

By Ron Dungan
Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2023 - 4:21pm

Researchers have known for years that old-growth forests have several benefits for Western ecosystems, yet the U.S. Forest Service has not had a policy for managing them. The agency recently announced that it is moving forward on one. 

In 2022, the Biden administration ordered the Forest Service to take an inventory of old growth trees, which are resilient to wildfires, store carbon and provide habitat for animals.

This week, the agency announced it will change how it manages old growth forests. Blake Busse, of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said that although some forests have plans to preserve old growth, others do not.

"This helps bring together some of that good thinking that has already been done at the local forest level, provide some national direction, to bring some consistency to that, and then also provides the opportunity for forests to develop strategies that are consistent with the national policy," Busse said.

The public has about 45 days to comment on the proposal.

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