A Reprieve for the Trees

Excerpts: Gentlemen, start your bulldozers. The race to the end of the Bush administration has begun for the US Forest Service, whose leaders have spent much of the past eight years trying to undo President Clinton's protection of one-third of national forest acreage as forever roadless. In New Hampshire, the service wants to log 300 acres of the Kilkenny area in the White Mountain National Forest that were classified as roadless after 2001. The project should be put on hold until the Forest Service gets new leadership under President-elect Barack Obama, who supports the Clinton roadless rule.

…With climate change forcing species to move northward or to higher elevations, conservationists say it is particularly important to protect intact, wild corridors that make this migration possible. Stuart says the cutting in Kilkenny would create an open habitat area for species that flourish in such areas and not in mature forests. She said she and her colleagues are not trying to rush the plan through before the change in administration and are prepared to work with new rules from Washington. Critics of the timbering say nearby open lands, including farms, already provide open habitat.

…President Bush's attempt to reverse the Clinton roadless rule, which had won overwhelming support from the public before it took effect, began in the first weeks of his term. Obama should act quickly to reinstate the rule and ensure the Forest Service acts as steward of the national forests