Report from PERC (the Property and Environment Research Center) Outlines Reforms to Restore National Forests and Tackle the Wildfire Crisis

(Bozeman, Montana) — Large and destructive wildfires are becoming more common across the West, with new records set almost every year. Although several factors contribute to this trend, a significant one is the declining health of the nation’s forests. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages 193 million acres of land, reports a backlog of 80 million acres in need of restoration and 63 million acres facing high or very high risk of wildfire.

While improving forest health and mitigating wildfire risk will require long-term policy changes, forest restoration projects offer a way to address these issues in the short term. By promoting landscapes with healthy forests and diverse forest types, restoration projects can reduce the risk of megafires and provide other conservation benefits. Drawing lessons from successful partnerships, Fix America’s Forests recommends actionable reforms that can help the Forest Service work better with states, tribes, and private partners to fix America’s forests.

“Eighty million acres of national forests need restoration to reduce wildfire risks, increase resiliency to insects and disease, and improve watersheds. The Forest Service cannot do this alone. Tackling the problem is going to require the agency to work with states, tribes, conservation groups, and private sector partners who stand to benefit from healthier forests.”

Recommendations:

  • Improve and expand categorical exclusions
  • Limit Endangered Species Act consultations to projects with on-the-ground impacts
  • Require lawsuits to be filed quickly and clarify fire risk effects on injunction decisions
  • Exclude prescribed burns from state emissions calculations
  • Allow the Forest Service to enter longer-term contracts and cooperative agreements
  • Promote and expand Good Neighbor Authority
  • Establish a Forest Service restoration fund for long-term cost-share partnerships
  • Open timber markets for export
     

For Full Report: Click Here


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George Pattone
George Pattone
24 days ago

Key takeaway : Exclude prescribed burns from state emissions calculations

Raging bushfires emit MULTIPLE volumes of pollution yet none of the Sierra Clubbers scream about that, only prescribed burns….