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One California Forest Thinning Project Upheld, Another Rejected

Feb. 4, 2022, 8:43 PM

The U.S. Forest Service’s approval of one tree thinning project in the Los Padres National Forest in California passed Ninth Circuit scrutiny Friday, but the agency must reconsider another project and explain how some trees qualified as small timber.

The agency can thin trees to reduce fire hazards without completing an environmental review, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This exemption doesn’t limit thinning by tree age, size, or type, the court said, and it can apply to commercially viable trees.

As a result, the Forest Service could skip an environmental review for the Cuddy ...