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AFRA, NFPA RESPOND TO FOREST SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT ON ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

 AFRA, NFPA RESPOND TO FOREST SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
 ON ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT
 PORTLAND, Ore., June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a joint statement by Mark Rey, executive director of the American Forest Resource Alliance (AFRA), and Frank Gladics, vice president of the National Forest Products Association (NFPA), in response to the Forest Service's June 4 announcement on Ecosystem Management of the National Forests:
 "The Forest Service's announcement today is the latest example of the worsening agency trend toward 'forestry by news release.' The timing of the direction -- leaked widely to the media -- is an exercise in pandering to the doomsayers gathered in Rio. It attempts to satisfy those who will never be satisfied.
 "It is also a reflection of the continued policy schizophrenia by the administration in response to the timber-availability crisis, as it desperately tries to simultaneously please environmental pressure groups and save jobs in an election year.
 "As a forest management statement, it is a discredit to the agency's proud history of forest stewardship.
 "As a political ploy, it comes at the expense of the beleaguered forest industry workers, given the prolonged uncertainty of federal timber supplies throughout the nation and particularly in California and the Pacific Northwest.
 "Lumber supplies are already severely constrained by unresolved conflicts over the spotted owl and other species, and prices are at an all-time high. If the chief's announcement is read to further restrict the availability of timber, it will certainly compound the worsening situation and slow the nation's economic recovery.
 "However, while it is still unclear what the policy is designed to accomplish, it is equally unclear how it will impact the agency's ability to implement its forest management plans, developed after the most extensive public involvement program in the agency's history.
 "The Forest Service's terse statement asserts that harvest levels will be reduced, and management costs will increase. Thus, the policy may exacerbate the agency's current efforts to increase its timber sale profitability.
 "It is also strong evidence of continuing agency drift away from the land and resource management plans directed by Congress under the National Forest Management Act of 1976. The bottom line is that the direction is brief, confusing and full of assertions that require scientific support.
 "Since it is unclear whether the direction will encourage or preclude sound forest management, and since the Forest Service appears incapable of explaining which is the case, the forest industry will request three deans of prominent forestry schools in the United States to review the policy. The results will be made available to the public."
 -0- 6/4/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Rey, 202-463-2750, or Kevin Brett, 503-222-7456, both of the American Forest Resource Alliance; or Frank Gladics of the National Forest Products Association, 202-463-2752/ CO: American Forest Resource Alliance; National Forest Products
 Association; National Forest Service ST: Washington, Oregon, California IN: PAP SU:


LM-JH -- SE005 -- 7148 06/04/92 15:25 EDT
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Date:Jun 4, 1992
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