Representatives of Idaho's forest industry reacted positively to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell's announcement that timber harvest on federal land would increase by 20 percent over the next couple of years.
Tidwell told members of Boise's City Club Nov. 30 that this year's severe wildfire season is an example of why it's critical to restore forest health by clearing out some of the fuel that is leading to much bigger wildfires.
Tidwell said about 80 million of the agency's 193 million acres need to be restored and that thinning is one of the main tools to accomplish that.
Tidwell said that goal can best be accomplished by increasing collaborative efforts between major stakeholders that have already allowed for more timber harvest without litigation in many cases. There are 23 of these collaborative efforts around the country and Tidwell hopes to increase that number dramatically.