A Victory For Forests Or Is It?

CHALK ONE UP FOR THE OWLS. In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on

June 29 upheld the government's right to regulate private land to protect endangered and threatened species. While environmentalists hailed the ruling, timber industry analysts say they don't expect a disruption of short-term supplies because companies can prepare habitat conservation plans to comply with the law. Yet some speculate that companies in the Northwest may step up clear-cutting of younger trees--before forests become prime habitat for threatened northern spotted owls--disrupting projections for long-term timber supplies. More important, the decision likely will help spur Congress to rewrite the Endangered Species Act later this year.

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