A Conspiracy of Optimism: Management of the National Forests since World War Two (Our Sustainable Future)

Paul W. Hirt

Published by University of Nebraska Press, 1996
ISBN 10: 080327288X / ISBN 13: 9780803272880
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Synopsis: A Conspiracy of Optimism explains the controversy now raging over the U.S. Forest Service’s management of America’s national forests. Confronted with the dual mandate of production and preservation, the U.S. Forest Service decided it could achieve both goals through more intensive management. For a few decades after World War Two, this “conspiracy of optimism” masked the fact that high levels of resource extraction were destroying forest ecosystems.

The effects of intensive management—massive clear-cuts, polluted streams, declining wildlife populations, and marred scenery—initiated several decades of environmental conflict that continues to the present. Hirt documents the roots of this conflict and illuminates recent changes in administration and policy that suggest a hopeful future for federal lands.

From the Back Cover: A Conspiracy of Optimism describes the unprecedented controversy now raging over the U.S. Forest Service's management of America's national forests. Focusing on the ideas of "sustained yield", "multiple use", and "intensive management", Paul W. Hirt describes how the first two of these ideas represent the admirable objectives of achieving balance and sustainability in the management of our publicly owned forest lands. However, since the Second World War, neither multiple use nor sustained yield have been effectively implemented. Criticism of the Forest Service has grown since 1945, when demands for commodities accelerated and the agency strove to meet them through its program of intensive management. Although these demands for resources often clashed with "sustainable" limits, the provision of products and services, such as timber and recreation, enhanced the agency's reputation and budget. Confronted with the dual mandate of production and preservation, the agency decided it could achieve both through more intensive management. For a few decades, this "conspiracy of optimism" masked the fact that high levels of resource extraction were destroying forest ecosystems. The repercussions of this management regime - massive clear-cuts, polluted streams, declining wildlife populations, and marred scenery - proved to be socially unacceptable. This book documents the reasons the U.S. Forest Service stands accused of collaborating in the exploitation of our national forests. Hirt illuminates recent changes in administration and policy which suggest a hopeful future for federal lands.

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Title: A Conspiracy of Optimism: Management of the ...
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: 1996
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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