"Vilsack Calls for Renewed Emphasis on Forests"

"SEATTLE -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday outlined a vision for managing the nation's forests that placed a high priority on restoration to protect water resources and combat climate change.

'Conserving our forests is not a luxury,' but a necessity, the former Iowa governor said at Seward Park in Seattle in his first major address on the Forest Service.

Vilsack stressed the importance of forests and rural lands in supplying much of America's clean drinking water, sheltering wildlife and helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

He said his vision for the agency begins with restoration, such as improving or decommissioning unnecessary roads and rehabilitating wetlands and streams."

Phuong Le reports for the Associated Press August 14, 2009.

Source: AP, 08/18/2009