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By Frank M. D'Itri

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Treasury. But the Timber Salvage Sale Fund does not cover total costs of salvage logging, which must come from additional congressional appropriations (taxpayer money). 91 Other financial fiascos are outright frauds, including timber theft and abusive logging practices that contribute to deteriorating forest health. 92 To ensure profitability, some bidders have pushed the plethora of USFS standards to the limits, or even beyond. 93 Real costs Salvage logging is supposed to improve forest health,94 but like other logging, it actually exacts a steep environmental price.

Large-scale recreational developments on national forest lands (chapter 11) and increased suburban settlements at the forests’ edges tend to influence national forest management policies. Federal and state land managers and elected officials have a duty to evaluate the sustainability of logging practices and lumber yields and to enforce laws protecting endangered species. At the same time, they must also respond to appeals from other commercial forest users and address the public’s sometimes conflicting 18 The American West at Risk demands for access and fire suppression.

Adding numerous human clearings to natural openings—the deep canyons, sand dunes, and mesas or buttes—that already subdivide western forests can disrupt plant succession and disproportionately reduce biodiversity even in large forests. Large predators and migratory herbivores, such as the red wolf, elk, and grizzly bear, need to roam across hundreds of square miles of unfragmented inner forest. As interior habitats decrease in size, the numbers of animal and plant species they support also decline: the species-area effect.

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