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Forest Service Seeks Public Comment On Old Growth Forest Management Plan

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Sonora, CA– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is inviting public comment on a draft environmental impact statement for a proposed national old-growth forest plan amendment. The draft, which is published in the Federal Register, will be open for a 90-day comment period.

This amendment aims to provide consistent guidance for the stewardship and conservation of old-growth forests across national forests. It emphasizes proactive management to mitigate threats and reduce wildfire risk, considering the impacts of climate change. The plan also incorporates adaptive management strategies based on local information and the best available science, including Indigenous Knowledge.

“Recent analysis shows that many old-growth forests face significant threats from climate change,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This plan will safeguard these iconic trees through adaptable, science-based management strategies. We look forward to feedback from various stakeholders, including Tribal, state, and local governments, industry partners, and conservation organizations.”

The draft proposal is informed by extensive feedback from the initial scoping period, which closed in February 2024. The Forest Service will continue to gather input during the comment period through public engagements, virtual sessions, and consultations with Tribes and other agencies. This effort is part of broader initiatives to support resilient forests and ecosystems, aligning with the Inflation Reduction Act and Executive Order 14072. The USDA also updated its Climate Adaptation Plan to further advance climate resilience.