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GLIN==> U.S. Forest Service Roadless Initiative



Posted on behalf of Robin Meadows <robin@nasw.org>

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MORE INFORMATION ON THE FOREST SERVICE'S ROADLESS INITIATIVE
IS AVAILABLE AT: http://www.roadless.fs.fed.us

There are seven remaining public meetings in the Great Lakes region:

INDIANA
Administrative Unit: Hoosier National Forest
June 27
Morgan County Fair Building
Kendall Room;
1749 Hospital Drive Martinsville
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Contact: Wilma Reed Marine, (812) 277-3580, (812) 275-5987,
wmarine@fs.fed.us

Administrative Unit: Hoosier National Forest
June 28
Fulton Hill Community Center
855 Walnut Street
Troy
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Contact: Wilma Reed Marine, (812) 277-3580, (812) 275-5987,
wmarine@fs.fed.us


MICHIGAN
Administrative Unit: Hiawatha National Forest
June 28
Schoolcraft County Courthouse
300 Walnut
Manistique
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Contact: Lee Ann Loupe, (906)789-3329, lloupe@fs.fed.us

Administrative Unit: Huron - Manistee National Forests
June 28
Mackinaw Middle School
Mackinaw Trail Rd.
Cadillac
6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Contact: Tracy Tophooven, (231)775-2421, ttophooven@fs.fed.us

Administrative Unit: Ottawa National Forest
June 28
Ewen Town Hall
South Cedar St.
Ewen
6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Contact: Bob Brenner, (906) 932-1330 ext 317, rbrenner@fs.fed.us


MINNESOTA
Administrative Unit: Chippewa National Forest
June 28
Sawmill Inn
2301 Pokegama Avenue
Grand Rapids
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Contact: Kay Getting, (218)335-8673, kgetting@fs.fed.us


OHIO
Administrative Unit: Wayne National Forest
June 28
Ramada Inn
15770 State
Route 691
Nelsonville
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Contact: Bob Gianniny, (740)592-0200, rgianniny@fs.fed.us


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FOREST SERVICE'S ROADLESS INITIATIVE SHOULD GO FARTHER, SAYS SCB

After a century of building roads in national forests, the
U.S. Forest Service now wants to switch gears and keep roads
out of more than 54 million acres that are still road-free.
But although this covers more than a quarter of all national
forest land, the proposed roadless initiative doesn't go far
enough, says Society for Conservation Biology President Reed
Noss in a recent letter to Forest Service Chief Michael
Dombeck.

About 380,000 miles of roads have been built in the National
Forest System, which in 1997 included 155 national forests
and 20 grasslands. While roads provide access for logging and
recreation, they also damage the environment by fragmenting
wildlife habitats, spreading invasive non-native species, and
increasing erosion, which chokes streams with sediment and
destroys habitat for the many at-risk freshwater plants and
animals.

Moreover, preserving roadless areas in national forests is
key to protecting biodiversity in the U.S. Roadless areas of
national forests contain many of our major ecosystems that
are not currently protected in reserves, particularly those
at lower elevations, according to an in-press paper in
Ecological Applications by R.L. DeVelice and J.R. Martin of
the Forest Service.

While the Forest Service's proposed roadless initiative
sounds good, there are several major catches, says SCB's
Noss. For instance, the proposal covers only roadless areas
that have been inventoried, which includes only those greater
than 5,000 acres. SCB wants the initiative expanded to cover
three more classes of roadless areas: those that have not yet
been inventoried, those that are greater than 1,000 acres,
and those that are adjacent to existing ecologically
significant areas.

Another catch is that the Forest Service proposal excludes
Alaska's Tongass National Forest. About 8.4 million acres of
the Tongass--roughly half of the total--have been inventoried
as being roadless. While the 1999 Tongass plan protects 6.5
million of these roadless acres, it allows significant levels
of logging in the remaining 1.9 million acres (530 million
board feet over five years, which is two-thirds of the total
logging allowed in the Tongass during that time). "The
failure to include the Tongass in the roadless areas
initiative weakens the overall thrust of the policy," says
Noss.

A third catch is that the Forest Service's proposal does not
prohibit logging in roadless areas. The U.S. gets only 3% of
its timber from national forests and can readily meet its
needs from areas that already have roads, says Noss.
Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence to support
claims that traditional commercial logging can improve the
health of forests in roadless areas. "Probably the majority
of roadless areas are in good ecological condition and
require little or no active management," says Noss. For fire-
adapted forests such as ponderosa and long-leaf pine
communities that have been degraded by fire suppression, SCB
recommends a combination of understory thinning and
prescribed burns. However, Noss cautions that such
restoration projects should be overseen by independent
scientists.

The Forest Service is accepting public comment on its
proposed roadless initiative until July 17, 2000 and plans to
release the final EIS in early December.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Reed Noss
President, Society for Conservation Biology
541-752-7639, nossr@ucs.orst.edu


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