A lumbering history of the Forest Service and how it has administered Smokey the Bear's terrains from the 1800's to the present when the early crusading conservationist spirit has become mired in bureaucratic log-jams aided and abetted by the cut-everything-in-sight machinations of the timber industry. Frome likes trees and writes with exhortatory zeal appealing to the flagging esprit de corps of the forest rangers to defend public interest against the axes of the lumber lords (who have recently become extraordinarily solicitous of the housing needs of the poor). Peering through the shady grove back to the golden era of Gifford Pinchot (the nation's first Chief Forester) and friend Teddy Roosevelt who first popularized the conservation ideal, Frome reviews the steps by which 187 million acres of oaks and firs and pines came under government protection. He cites with approval recent legislative victories -- notably the Multi-Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 which mandated an ""even flow"" of cut trees, systematic reseeding, watershed management, wilderness preservation and biotic diversity, and commends the Forest Service on its pioneering silvaculture techniques and mighty efforts to save endangered species like the Puerto Rican parrot and the masked bobwhite quail. But looming ominously on the horizon there is a ""gathering crisis between timber production and resource protection"" and Frome wants the Forest Service to rethink its priorities and place itself squarely on the side of the ecologists and the Sierra Club -- while recognizing that Nixon's policies point in the opposite direction. Readers will have to face a good deal of tedious hiking through intra-agency labyrinths at the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior and the book -- which features not a single first-hand interview with a ranger or woodsman -- would have benefited from a little mud on the author's boots. As is, it's well-intentioned, occasionally informative, but there are few green saplings.