Scientists say California fails to adequately regulate logging
BY JOHN HOWARD
Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO (AP) -- California's laws governing the way timber
cut their trees are inadequate to protect the environment, mainly
the state has failed to define the impacts of logging over time, a new
scientific report says.
In a study commissioned for the state Resources Agency and the
National Marine Fisheries Service, a panel of scientists concluded
the state's forestry practice rules don't assure protection for fragile
watersheds or salmon, whose habitats are threatened by sediment
erosion linked to logging.
``The primary deficiency of the (forestry rules) is the lack of a
watershed analysis approach capable of assessing cumulative
attributable to timber harvesting,'' the study said.
A top logging industry representative said the report was skewed
comprehensive than an earlier study, but an environmental
the latest report was particularly significant because it showed
had been poorly regulated during earlier administrations.
``That's a pretty dramatic conclusion, given that this panel was
chosen to try to give the industry cover, and they still came to this
conclusion,'' said Ted Nordhaus of the Living Forest Project, a
group seeking protections for privately owned forests.
``The overall effects over time -- that's the main threat to salmon
because you get these denuded watersheds that are very
erosion,'' Nordhaus said.
Forestry practice policy is set by the nine-member Board of
policy is enforced by the California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection, the state's principal firefighting agency.
The report supports the findings of a study last month by Leslie
U.S. Forest Service scientist, who said California's logging rules
inadequate, resulting in slides, damaged water supplies and
wildlife habitats. Reid urged state officials to shift authority over
logging rules from the CDF to the cabinet-level Resources Agency,
by Mary Nichols, Gov. Gray Davis' top environmental adviser.
But the 250-member California Forestry Association, which
companies that produce most of the forestry products in the state,
critical of the latest study.
``They were asked to take a look at the rules as written, which are
minimum standards, and make some judgments,'' said CFA
Bischel. ``But to focus on the minimum standards of the rules is
valuable than focusing on the end results,'' he said.
A recent report by the Board of Forestry ``provides the only true
evaluation of post-harvest results, and it paints a very different
of the implementation'' of forestry rules, Bischel added.
``The point here is that we have a timber harvest planning process
adaptive, and a lot of voluntary protections that landowners have
as part of their plans are proving out,'' he said.
The latest study was released on the eve of Davis' new
appointments to the
Board of Forestry.
His office declined to discuss his appointments, but two sources
Associated Press that Davis planned to appoint a carpentry union
representative to one of the five public slots on the board -- a move
environmentalists said could give the timber industry control of the
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