Shocking inaccuracy

  Dear HCN,


I was shocked to find myself quoted as saying that environmentalists are "bayoneting the wounded" in your piece on the Eagle Timber Sale (HCN, 9/24/01: The timber sale that won't die). These were not my words and I thought that I had made that clear to the reporter. In retrospect, I regret having even repeated the comment at a time when we need thoughtful dialogue as well as to avoid inappropriately stereotyping stakeholder groups.


In my view, the Northwest Forest Plan represents a major advance in federal forest policy regarding biodiversity and ecological sustainability. No stakeholder group was provided with all that they wanted, but the plan provided an excellent starting point for what was intended to be an adaptive process. I think that most of the environmental community initially did accept and commit to implementation of the plan. The Salvage Rider of 1995 significantly altered attitudes and strategies, including much expanded litigation as well as protest. Much of this litigation and protest now appears focused on altering a basic provision of the plan (harvest of late-successional forests in the matrix), a valid political objective. Of course, as the plan is reopened to political processes, all stakeholders will be moved to pursue their agendas. I am personally concerned that the scientific strategy that is at the core of the plan could be lost in the process.


I was accurately represented in your article as believing that there are much higher priorities regionally, nationally and globally than finessing implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan - at least for stakeholders whose priorities really are maintaining forest biodiversity and sustaining forest ecosystems. One of those is to encourage ecologically more sensitive forestry practices in all managed forests, a movement that has not received the level of support from the environmental community that it deserves. Another is to seriously confront the issue of forest pest and pathogen introductions from other continents, which, in my view, represents the greatest single threat, bar none, to the integrity of our natural and managed forests and all of the related biodiversity.


Finally, in my view, your article did not accurately portray the findings of the Independent Scientific Review on the Eagle Sale. I would suggest that your readers access the full report at www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/pubs.htm.





Jerry F. Franklin
Seattle, Washington