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Obama administration officials are emphasizing restoration of degraded ecosystems as they roll out a final new rule for managing the nation’s 193 million acres of forests and grasslands.

Thirty years in the making, the rule to be officially issued this month will direct regional foresters to use science and more monitoring to improve conditions, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in an interview Thursday.

“If we don’t restore our forests and grasslands, we’re going to continue to see more loss of the benefits,” Tidwell said. “More loss of the clean water that is produced on healthy forests. More loss of wildlife habitat. More soil erosion.”

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