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Feds picks contractor to restore Arizona forests

Feds picks contractor to restore Arizona forests

CREATED May 19, 2012

Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - A contractor has been selected to begin a massive forest thinning project in northern Arizona.
   
The U.S. Forest Service announced the selection of Pioneer Forest Products on Friday for what it says is the largest stewardship contract in its history. The work is expected to create 500 jobs.
   
Conservationists, scientists, timber industry representatives, local officials and forest officials worked together on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative.
   
The Montana-based contractor will thin 300,000 acres over 10 years. That's part of a 20-year plan to restore 2.4 million acres along the Mogollon Rim to a natural fire regime, reduce wildfire threats and create sustainable forest industries.
   
Pioneer plans to build a plant near Winslow to convert the timber into things like laminate wood panels
   
One environmental group says it's disappointed that a bidder committed to focusing on small-diameter trees wasn't selected.

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