Groups sue to protect forest species

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Sun Feb 17 01:52:56 EST 2002

>From The Oregonian, Feb. 16, 2002, p B3

Groups sue to protect forest species

	Conservation groups went to federal court in Seattle on Friday,
seeking to restore protection for about 70 species dropped from a list
of sensitive old-growth forest species last year.
	The lawsuit contests federal revisions to the list of "survey and
manage" species, which under the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan biologists
must look for before allowing logging or other disturbances on federal
land. The list first included more than 400 species of plants, animals
and fungi considered rare or sensitive. Federal agencies shortened it
early in 2001 by removing about 70 species that turned out to be more
common or less sensitive than thought.
	The conservation groups contend that the agencies never thoroughly
considered an alternative approach of halting logging in old-growth
forests where the species were thought to dwell.
	"To avoid the inconvenience of surveys, the government has removed
protection for many species without knowing or disclosing the full
consequences," said Heather Brinton, an attorney with the Western
Environmental Law Center. "If the threads are lost, the fabric of our
forests may begin to unravel."

Comment by poster: It would be wise for the environmental groups
involved to review the science behind these new de-listings. Most were
actually listed in the first place because no funding was available to
study whether they were, in fact, separate species in the first place.
As more recent data has become available, some of the species,
especially among the fungi, have been found to be synonymous with
previously identified species, which causes extended known ranges and
suggests to the prudent person that the species is not endangered.

Science caused these species to be listed in the first place. And it
is good science, IMO, that they can also de-list them when better data
becomes available.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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