by Kristin Sykes
George Perkins Marsh publishes "Man and Nature," which warns that
if logging is not reduced, forests in the U.S. will disappear
as completely as those in Europe and Asia.
First legislative attempt at forest protection.
Franklin B. Hough and Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior, draft a
resolution declaring forest growth and preservation to be "of general
practical importance." Later passed as a rider to an
appropriations bill, this establishes the need
for management and conservation of forests and timber. Hough appointed
chairman to newly created federal forestry commission, the first entity
to oversee the logging and management of forest lands.
Division of Forestry established as part of Department of Agriculture.
President Benjamin Harrison authorized to set aside forest reserves
from public domain. Designates 15 reserves containing more than 13 million
acres, including the Yellowstone Forest Reserve.
Organic Act passed as part of Sundry Civil Appropriations Act with the
intention of protecting watersheds and forests while still supplying timber.
President Teddy Roosevel creates U.S. Forest Service and appoints
Gifford Pinchot as chief.
Forest reserves renamed national forests. Rooservelt adds 99 million acres
Secretary of Agriculture authorizes selling of national forests in
exchange for private land of equal value, signaling shift in Forest Service
paradigm from conservation of forests to commodity logging.
Forest Service begins authorizing 10-year grazing permits in
national forests, furthering private secot profit on national public lands.
Forest Service declassifies wilderness corridors and builds road through
former Gila Wilderness, setting precedent of undoing wilderness
protection to increase timber output.
Sustained-Yield Forest Management Act authorizes Agriculture and Interior
secretaries to establish sustained yield units for private interests on
federal lands. Forest Service invites timber companies to build mills
throughout the West.
Cooperative Forest Management Act authorizes Secretary of Agriculture to work
with state foresters in assisting private landlowners to log national forests.
- Late 1950s-1960s
Following World War II, private forest lands are exhausted.
Cutting and roadbuilding in national forests surges.
National Environmental Policy Act requires environmental impact statements
for major federal actions that have a significant effect on the
environment, allowing for legal challenges of timber harvests and
Endangered Species Act passes, giving forest advocates a legal tool
to challenge logging when it threatens endangered species and their habitat.
National Forest Management Act requires land planning process and
management plans for national forests, which must be evaluated
periodically for their future environmental impacts.
Logging roads built in national forests now exceed 350,000 miles--eight
times more than the interstate highway system.
U.S. District Judge William Dwyer of Washington issues
injunction against all logging in northern spotted owl habitat.
Significant use of Endangered Species Act to stop logging in
Northwest Forest Plan announced by President Clinton in effort to slow logging
in the last old-growth forests.
Clinton signs budget bill with "salvage logging" rider allowing clearcutting
of healthy trees in national forests under the guise of
"salvage." Suspends environemntal laws and public appeals process.
As a result, more than 3 billion additonal board feet are logged in
Less than 10 percent of old-growth remains in U.S. national forests.
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