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7.9.03

Making money from the forest

I've tended to be skeptical about the promise of tourism as a way to make the environment profitable without cutting it down and digging it up. It always seemed like it would be too small a revenue stream. But I just ran across this in an old column about the Healthy Forests Initiative:

The economic argument for increased road-building and logging is unfounded. It is contradicted by the U.S. Forest Service's own measure of forests' contributions to the nation's economy. Of the $35 billion yielded in 1999 (the last year for which a comprehensive accounting was published), 77.8 percent came from recreation, fish and wildlife, only 13.7 percent from timber harvest, and the modest remainder from mining and ranching. Roughly the same disproportion existed in the percentages of the 822,000 jobs generated by national forests.

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