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Meridian Institute

Tongass Advisory Committee Releases Consensus Recommendations for Forest Management in the Tongass

Friday, May 08, 2015

After nine months of deliberations, in a region fraught with controversy, a diverse group of stakeholders agreed on a package of draft recommendations for forest management in the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC)—composed of 15 individuals from the timber industry, conservation community, Native Alaskan interests, government, and other forest users—was tasked with providing advice to the Secretary of Agriculture about how to transition the Forest’s timber management program from a focus on old growth to predominantly young growth forest management. The TAC members were selected because of their deep knowledge and their willingness to work collaboratively on new approaches, practices, and responses to historically contentious management challenges.

On May 8, 2015, the TAC reached full consensus on a comprehensive package of draft recommendations. According to a statement from the TAC co-chairs, the recommendations represent “the best efforts of a diverse group of stakeholders to develop a path forward that addresses the conflicts of the past while increasing the certainty and stability for the communities and people of Southeast Alaska…. [The] recommendations represent not only the views and interests of the TAC members, but also sought to incorporate the diversity of values and perspectives of those outside of the room—local communities, user groups, and the American public at large.” The TAC’s work offers the possibility of a regionally focused, collaborative path toward an innovative opportunity for a viable young growth timber industry while honoring the suite of economic, ecological, social, and cultural values inherent in the Forest.

The TAC will reconvene after the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Forest Plan Amendment is released, to review the analysis and consider possible changes to and/or additional recommendations.

The TAC’s consensus report is available for download at www.merid.org/TongassAdvisoryCommittee.