Since 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan has been providing protections for millions of acres of old-growth forests, imperiled spotted owls, hundreds of rare species, and wild salmon on federal lands in Washington, Oregon, and California. Without the Plan's protections, all old-growth forests, aside from remote areas, would likely have been destroyed sometime this decade by unsustainable logging. This is why hundreds of scientists and conservation groups have worked hard to uphold the protections afforded these forests for over two decades.
On Thursday January 12, 2017 we celebrated two major victories in southwest Oregon that have paid off in over 100,000 acres protected for climate change resilience, biodiversity, and clean water!!
What We Accomplished and What’s Needed Next
Forests are the nation’s first line of climate change defense. This is because forests are nature’s “cooling towers,” absorbing vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helping to cool down run away climate change. Forests also are nature’s “water towers,” storing and gradually releasing clean water especially during dry summer months when water is most precious. And, where they are intact (free of roads and logging), forests are a refuge for countless plants and wildlife seeking a safe haven in a changing climate.
Download the full report to learn more about our progress towards
- Protecting millions of acres of older intact forests in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for their climate, clean water, and wildlife values.
- Protecting a climate refuge in southwest Oregon from destructive mining.
- Promoting responsible wildfire management in fire-dependent forests.
"A global map of roadless areas and their conservation status", published by Science, is the most comprehensive inventory of roads and roadless areas in the world and shows just how fast we are losing wild places across the planet. Geos Institute's Dr. Dominick DellaSala is one of the co-authors. You can listen to him talk about the study in a Jefferson Exchange interview.
Roads have done much to help humanity spread across the planet and maintain global movement and trade. However, roads also damage wild areas and rapidly contribute to habitat degradation and species loss. Ibisch et al. cataloged the world's roads. Though most of the world is not covered by roads, it is fragmented by them, with only 7% of land patches created by roads being greater than 100 km2. Furthermore, environmental protection of roadless areas is insufficient, which could lead to further degradation of the world's remaining wildernesses.
President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate first-term U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., a former Navy SEAL who is champion of the coal industry and a climate science denialist, as Interior secretary, according to multiple news reports.
Trump had reportedly considered U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., for the job last week, but has offered the job to Zinke, instead, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.
Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Ore. said that while Zinke supports keeping federal public lands under federal control, he would emphasize coal development during his tenure as Interior secretary.
“He has been supportive of oil and gas drilling, the Keystone pipeline, and believes climate change has not be scientifically proven,” DellaSala said.