Senators Look To Expand Thinning Work In National Forests


A group of senators from western states want to expand a national effort to boost timber production and restore natural conditions on overstocked forests using thinning and other restoration work.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, would extend the Forest Service’s expiring Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program for the next 10 years and double its annual budget to $80 million.
“It makes our forests healthier, more fire resistant. It creates jobs, creates saw logs. This is a really valuable program,” Merkley said.
The projects under this program pairs timber companies with local communities to do work in forests that became overstocked after decades of suppressing natural fires. Those tightly packed trees and brush can increase the risk of forest diseases and for larger, more severe wildfires.

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