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$40 million for new forest restoration projects

By Jeff Barnard

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Feb. 2 2012 5:25 p.m. MST

The Obama administration has announced $40 million is going to new forest restoration projects intended to boost timber production and create jobs while making forests healthier and less vulnerable to wildfire.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday over the next three years the 10 projects from Oregon to North Carolina will expand the number of acres thinned and restored on national forests by 20 percent and increase timber production by 25 percent. They will maintain or generate 1,550 jobs.

Mike Anderson of The Wilderness Society, a conservation group, says this represents the first time full funding has gone to a program enacted by Congress in 2009.

Ann Forest Burns of the American Forest Resource Council says the projects recognize that timber production is an important part of restoring healthy forests.

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