The Emerging Triumph of Ecosystem Management: The Transformation of Federal Forest Policy
This chapter examines the transformation of federal forest policy since 1950. As in other areas of western public lands policy, forest policy has undergone a series of sweeping changes, from a traditional policy regime that emphasized rapid timber harvesting and economic development to a modern regime emphasizing environmental values and ecosystem protection. The chapter outlines the traditional timber regime that characterized forest policy from World War II to around 1970. Although it took more than a decade to influence the core activities of the Forest Service, forest policy has come to reflect the broader pluralist policy regime in the United States. The chapter argues that there has been a fundamental change in federal forest policy. Environmental values have become far more important in forest policy decision-making. Change began with environmental group pressures, litigation, and statutory change in the 1970s.