The U.S. Forest Service agreed on Monday to let an independent panel of scientists review the list of plants and animals the agency will be responsible for monitoring in the Sierra Nevada national forests, settling a lawsuit brought by Defenders and our conservation partners in 2008.
The wellbeing of these “indicator species” reflects the overall health of a forest. If the Forest Service finds that logging, for example, would cause the species harm, wildlife officials should take precautionary steps to protect them before allowing a timber harvest to move forward.
Defenders’ forest expert Peter Nelson says, “The settlement gives us greater confidence that the management of Sierra Nevada Forests will be based on science, not politics. This is good news for both Californians and this region’s sensitive wildlife.”