TheU.S. Forest Service has proposed a new national planning rule, which would govern how individual forests around the country draw up land management plans.
Under the current rule, forests draw up new management plans every 15 years. With the new system, they would re-assess and tweak their plans on an ongoing basis.
The current planning rule was put in place in 1982, and Sherman said it’s outdated and doesn’t help forest managers adapt to changing conditions. He says a change like this could have helped the Forest Service in Wyoming better deal with problems like bark beetles.
“If we had had plans that could have been amended more easily – if we had had better assessments and better monitoring to get ahead of the curve – those would have been helpful factors,” Sherman said. “Not that they would have eliminated this issue entirely … but I do think our response on the ground … would be better.”
The proposal must be approved by the secretary of agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget. Sherman says he expects it to be approved within the next few months.