LUMBER: No Clear-Cut Decision for Timber

The U.S. has not seen such a tumult over timbering since the great conservationist Gifford Pinchot took on bureaucrats and lumber barons at the turn of the century. On one side are the U.S. Forest Service and the $57 billion-a-year wood-products industry. Opposing them is a coalition of environmental groups. At stake: how the nation's 183 million acres of federally owned forest should be managed—including how much timber should be taken out of them.

That is no small issue. For years the Forest Service has sold private companies the right to cut...

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