Friday, August 14, 2009

Future of Forests: Vilsack's Speech

Today Tom Vilsack the secretary for the US Department of Agriculture presented his vision for America's forests. Here are excerpts with my comments.

"Climate change, catastrophic fires, disease and pests [the invasive cows] have all led to declining forest health in recent decades. The resulting impact on watersheds, the climate, local economies, wildlife, and recreation, has led the USDA to offer a new vision for our nation's forests. [probably start by eliminating all native species and turn parks into pastureland. let's see people pay to see this :P] By taking forest management in a new direction, the Department will emphasize the role our national forestlands play in contributing to the health and prosperity of the country and reverse the trend of declining forest health. "[They can start by getting rid of their cows]

"The Administration's plan calls for the U.S. Forest Service to play a leading role in the development of new markets to sustain the economic viability of forest stewardship and provide landowners with economic incentives to maintain and restore forests. National forestlands produce economic benefits from a diverse range of sources including recreation [of course we won't forget about the snowmobilers] and more than 200 hydroelectric plants operated in national forest watersheds.[these are really restorative] With more than 192 million visitors to National Forests in 2008, local communities throughout the country benefit economically from those who recreate on and near forestlands and high-quality water bodies protected by forested watersheds. "

Here's my favorite quote by Vilsack. "Forests help generate rural wealth through recreation and tourism, through the creation of green jobs, and through the production of wood products and energy. And they are a national treasure – requiring all of us to protect and preserve them for future generations. " [oxymoron. just like a politician's speech]

"The Forest Service must not be viewed as an agency concerned only with the fate of our National Forests, but must instead be acknowledged for its work in protecting and maintaining all American forests, including state and private lands. [MTDOL is doing a fine job with this :P] Our shared vision adopts an 'all-lands approach,' requiring close collaboration with the NRCS and its work on America's private working lands. "

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