National Geographic : 1994 Feb
A line drawn in the forest W ith 90 percent of the Northwest's old growth forest already fallen to the saw, many Americans want to halt further cutting of ancient trees. But the contro versy goes deeper than that. Environmental groups con tend that the Forest Service charges too little for the tim ber logged from the nation's 156 national forests and pro vides too many services to the timber industry. They figure the cost to taxpayers at hun dreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues. Worse yet, they say, the system subsidizes practices such as clear-cutting, which can harm wildlife, streams, and mountain slopes--entire ecosystems. Loggers counter that these are narrow views that devalue the human stake in a vital industry, involving whole communities based on timber that supplies afford able lumber for American homes. "What better way to provide jobs and houses," asks one timber worker, "than with a renewable resource?"