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Logging vs. conservation vs. development

Is logging becoming an industry of the past? According to a recent article in the New York Times, rich moguls are buying up land in the West, as timber companies are seeing more profit in selling to private landowners than logging the forests they own. “1.1 million new families became owners of an acre or more of private forest from 1993 to 2006 in the lower 48 states, a 12 percent increase. And almost all the net growth….was in the Rocky Mountain region.” That’s quite an increase.

These new owners are either developing the land, protecting them with conservation easements or using the land for recreational use. For the first time, conservationists and logging executives are joining forces to find a way to protect land while allowing for controlled logging.

“The Forest Service, meanwhile, is struggling to find its own balance. A spokesman for the agency said that the national forests across the West were increasingly tilting toward recreation and away from logging. But the growth in population on the forests’ edge also means more need than ever to thin the trees, through some logging, if only for wildfire protection.”

Who has the right idea? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

To read the New York Times article, “As Logging Fades, Rich Carve Up Open Land in West,” click here.

To find land for sale in the Rocky Mountain region, click here.

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