Scientists Who Laid Groundwork for Clinton's Northwest Forest Will Reunite

A group of scientists, whose report to Congress on protecting the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest over a decade ago laid the groundwork for the Clinton Administration’s Northwest Forest plan, will reunite to discuss their historic collaboration.

The forum, titled “The Gang of Four Revisited: Science, Policy and Politics of Sustainable Forestry,” will take place on Tuesday, October 23 at 4:30 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium, Sage Hall. For more information, contact Jay Shepherd at 203-432-5117.

The forum will reunite John Gordon, former dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington; Norm Johnson of the University of Oregon; and Jack Ward Thomas, former USDA Forest Service Chief, and currently a professor at the University of Montana.

The group will be joined by Jim Sedell and Gordon Reeves, both of the USDA Forest Service, who designed a regional framework for protecting watersheds and salmon habitat as a part of the old-growth strategy. James Lyons, who originally convened the team of scientists, and is now professor in the practice of natural resource management at Yale, will serve as moderator.

They will discuss the Gang of Four’s collaboration in protecting the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, the development of ecosystem management concepts and regional ecosystem protection strategies, the evolution of natural resource science and policy resulting from their work and the future of sustainable forestry as it has evolved from these initial ecosystem management efforts.

In the late 1980s, the Congressional Committees on Agriculture and Merchant Marine and Fisheries asked Gordon, Franklin, Johnson and Thomas to help develop a management plan for the Pacific Northwest federal forests. Critics of this scientific panel named the group, the “Gang of Four,” reflecting their dislike for Congressional efforts to seek scientific guidance for an issue that had eluded a political solution.

The forum is sponsored by the Yale Forest Forum, a program of the Global Institute for Sustainable Forest Management at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the student-led Western Resources Interest Group.

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326