An official at the U.S. Forest Service told TechRadars forestry forum this week that the agency was still “firmly committed” to clearing forests.
“We’re doing what we can to keep forest ecosystems in balance,” the official told the forum.
“But we’re not going to stop there.”
The Forest Service’s chief spokesperson, Michael DeWitt, was more forthcoming.
“While we are committed to clearing the forest, it is not our goal to completely eliminate the problem of invasive species,” DeWitz told Techradars.
“The best way to deal with invasive species is to do it in a safe, controlled way.”
DeWitte did acknowledge that “a lot of our efforts are aimed at eradicating invasive species, but we have to keep our eyes on other threats.”
De Witt said the agency had been studying how to manage invasive species for several years, and that the Forest and Forest Products Service was working with the USDA to “identify and manage” invasive species in the forests they control.
“It’s not clear what that means at this point,” De Witte said.
DeWitch said the Forest Conservation Service would work with the Forest Food Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service “to identify potential targets of native species” for removal and then help identify those targeted to be removed.
The Forest Food and Agriculture Service, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s vast forests, is currently working on the issue of invasive native species.
The USDA also recently announced a $30 million plan to manage and control native invasive species.
However, DeWits remarks about native species “are not going anywhere.”
“We do have some very good data on how much native species are impacting our forests,” De Wit said.
“And we’re working very hard to identify those targets.”
Dewitt also addressed a separate issue, one that has long been a concern for timber companies and timberland industry advocates.
De Witten said that the federal government has a policy to “require that all native species be managed to the maximum extent possible,” but that “in some cases, there are gaps that need to be addressed.”
“This has been a very long process, and I think it’s time for us to move on,” De witte said in response to the public comment period.
“If you think the government has been doing enough, you should call them and ask what they need to do more.”