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USFS signs deal with Sierra Business Council

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USFS signs deal with Sierra Business Council

Postby ERIC » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:15 am

U.S. Forest Service signs deal with Sierra Business Council

Adam Jensen,
Tahoe Daily Tribune
August 17, 2007 ... /108170083

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Forest Service signed an agreement with the Sierra Business Council on Thursday, providing for increased collaboration between the groups in looking at economic social and environmental realities of the Sierra Nevada in the 21st century.

The memorandum of understanding between the council and the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service, which includes Lake Tahoe, is the first ever between the forest service and a nonprofit organization, according to David Mattocks, president of the Sierra Business Council.

"This (memorandum) will allow us to share data, resources and partnerships," Janice Gauthier, spokeswoman for the forest service, said on Thursday.

Sierra Business Council is a Truckee-based nonprofit association of more than 700 hundred businesses, agencies and individuals working to secure the social, environmental and financial health of the Sierra Nevada Region.

Mattocks hopes the agreement will foster communication throughout the Sierra Nevada and keep conflict on environmental issues from traveling down the road to litigation.

"We don't believe economic development and environmental sustainability have to be at odds with each other," Mattocks said on Thursday.

Announcement of the agreement came during the first in a series of "Sustaining Sierra Forests" events to be held throughout the Sierra Nevada, looking at the overall health of the mountain range and its communities.

Much of the discussion between a wide variety of land managers during Thursday's event, held at Heavenly's Lakeview Lodge, revolved around moving the Sierra Nevada's economic and social health forward while preserving its unique natural environment, which faces threats from climate change, catastrophic wildfire and large-scale development.

The role Sierra Nevada forests could play in the burgeoning biomass and carbon trading markets was one topic of discussion.

Eleven national forests in the mountain range store the equivalent of 365 million tons of carbon dioxide, potentially worth between $1.3 billion to $9.9 billion, according to a presentation by Betony Jones, program director for the Sierra Business Council.

Jones said recognizing the value of a healthy, functioning environment could be key to sustaining the quality of life in the region during the 21st century.

"If we don't recognize the value of our ecosystem for the services it provides, somebody else will," Jones said on Thursday.
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