Study: As logging declines, lawsuits continue

Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press

A study of national forest litigation over a 20 year period found that the U.S. Forest Service has been more willing to settle cases in recent years.

Lawsuits over the management of national forests have persisted despite a steep decline in logging, based on a 20-year litigation study.

An average of 56 cases a year were filed against the U.S. Forest Service between 1989 and 2008, according to the State Univerity of New York study, which was funded by the agency.

In that time, annual timber harvest levels in national forests have dropped roughly 75 percent, from 12 billion board feet to fewer than 3 billion board feet, according to Forest Service data.

“Even with the supposedly kinder and gentler forest management, the environmentalists are still litigating,” said Scott Horngren, attorney with the American Forest Resource Council timber industry group.

Environmentalists are now targeting thinning projects that they previously claimed were preferable to large clearcuts, he said.

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