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Congressional Research Service Reports
Redistributed as a Service of the NLE*

RS20822 - Forest Ecosystem Health: An Overview (pdf)

21-Feb-2001; Ross Gorte; 6 p.

Abstract: Although most U.S. forests are in better condition than they were a century ago, many forest ecosystems, especially in the intermountain west, are widely thought to be in poor health. Interest groups disagree over what constitutes a healthy forest, what has caused the problems, and what the solutions are. Nonetheless, most accept that high biomass accumulations dead and dying trees, dense undergrowth, and stands of small trees can contribute to catastrophic wildfires, pest problems, and lower biological diversity. A variety of tools and approaches have been proposed and debated to address the problems, including salvage and other timber sales, prescribed burning, and other treatments. Legislative and administrative efforts have generally focused on the national forests, to create new forest health programs and management tools or to authorize alternative treatment approaches. This report will be updated as events warrant. [read report]

* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.