Editor’s comment: This morning, this article, about a new $40M program “for restoration of forests near growing communities to reduce wildfire threats, protect water supplies, improve wildlife habitat and support rural economies,” led me in turn to this USDA web page about the current happy state of forestry and forest health in our nation’s national forests. Among the five major achievements in this area, the USDA listed the following as #3. (Reminder: “TIWWUA” stands for “This Is What We’re Up Against.”)
Despite record drought, longer fire seasons and more than half of its budget spent fighting wildfire, the Forest Service and partners have increased the pace and scale of forest restoration by 9% since 2011 and increased timber harvest by 18% since 2008. In the past 5 years, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program has treated more than 1.45 million acres to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, generating more than 1.2 million board feet of timber, $661 million in local labor income and an average of 4,300 jobs annually.