US solicits help as it defines old growth and mature forests

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. solicit / səˈlɪs ɪt / (v.) – to ask or request something from people, companies, etc.

    The mayor solicited suggestions for the city’s improvement from the citizens.

  2. devise / dɪˈvaɪz / (v.) – to create or design something complicated or difficult

    My friend is trying to devise a way to earn money without working.

  3. inventory / ˈɪn vənˌtɔr i / (v.) – to make a list of the things in a certain place

    The restaurant staff regularly inventories the supplies to make sure that there are enough ingredients.

  4. off-limits / ˈɔf ˈlɪm ɪts / (adj.) – used to say that people cannot enter a place or use something

    The investigation area is off limits to civilians.

  5. oversee / ˌoʊ vərˈsi / (v.) – to watch over something and see if things are being done correctly

    The engineer oversees the workers at the construction site.


Read the text below.

U.S. officials solicited outside help as they craft definitions of old growth and mature forests under an executive order from President Joe Biden.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management issued a notice seeking public input for a “universal definition framework” to identify older forests needing protection.

Biden in April directed his administration to devise ways to preserve older forests as part of the government’s efforts to combat climate change. Older trees release large volumes of global warming carbon when they burn.

Biden’s order called for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management over the next year to define and inventory all mature and old growth forests on federal land. After that, the agencies must identify the biggest threats those forests face and come up with ways to save them.

There’s disagreement over which trees to count. Environmentalists have said millions of acres of public lands should qualify. The timber industry and its allies have cautioned against a broad definition over concerns that could put new areas off-limits to logging.

The Forest Service manages 209,000 square miles (541,000 square kilometers) of forested land, including about 87,500 square miles (226,000 square kilometers) where trees are older than 100 years.

The Bureau of Land Management oversees about 90,600 square miles (233,000 square kilometers) of forests.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management asked the public to help them define what old growth and mature forests are. Why do you think public consultation is important? Discuss.
  • Do you think there can be a balance between protecting forests and keeping the timber industry alive? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think are the possible disadvantages of public consultation when making government policies? Discuss.
  • As a member of the public, what topic or government project would you like to be consulted about (ex. driving laws, improvement in public services)? Why? Discuss.