Eldorado National Forest management is based on the 1989 Forest Land Management Plan. This plan was amended in January 2004 by the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment. This amendment created strategies to treat fuels, but has since been limited by Northern Spotted Owl habitat concerns. Actually, the greatest threat to habitat is wildfire. Proper forest management is evenly balanced, never maximizing one resource to the detriment of the others.
Other forest management plans have greatly reduced the timber harvest from the Eldorado National Forest. The National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Equal Access to Justice Act permit all timber harvest plans to be challenged by lawsuit. These lawsuits have reduced national forest logging for many years. Consequently, the national forest is overgrown with dead and dying trees. Without prompt logging, our national forest will burn down.
Long ago the Indians used to set frequent forest fires to get rid of underbrush. In present forest management, selective logging accomplishes the same thing. Proper logging not only thins trees, it also enhances species habitat and improves water run off. Good forest management approximates natural processes and cooperates with habitat enhancement. Without proper management, the forest is run by crisis management. That means we let trees burn down before we log them.
Unlike the frequent fires the Indians used to set, modern forest fires generate intense heat due to so much fuel. Intense heat even cooks the soil, leaving a sterile environment that trees cannot grow in for many years. This heat destroys critical habitat that environmentalists have been striving to protect. Furthermore, water run off after a forest fire is polluted with ashes and soil. So, if we want to sustain animal habitat and improve water run off, we need to selectively log the Eldorado National Forest.