A group of conservation organizations had sued the US Forest Service in 2005 over its management plans that they say failed to protect old growth forests and wildlife and placed too much emphasis on commercial logging.
Greg Loarie is an attorney with Earthjustice and represented the environmental groups.
“It wasn’t just about logging by any means," says Greg Loarie, an attorney for Earthjustice, which represented the environmental groups. "This is the governing document that manages how all the national forests in the Sierra will be used and tries to strike that balance between conservation and all the uses that the forests are designated to serve,” says Loarie.
Under the settlement agreement, the US Forest Service must reassess its conservation strategies using current science.
“It’s committing us to really analyze and identify approaches to managing the California spotted owl, the Pacific fisher and post-fire habitat which is like the black-backed woodpecker in our planning efforts,” says John Heil with the Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service.
He says it also gives the US Forest service a better ability to manage the forest through the increased use of fire or controlled burns.