Press Room

Geos and conservation groups ask the Forest Service to shelve logging plans in roadless areas within the world-class Tongass National Forest

Geos Institute and conservation groups called on the Forest Service to properly analyze and reduce carbon emissions from logging in roadless areas on the Tongass National Forest, southeast Alaska, a globally significant carbon warehouse.

Read the Supplemental Comment on Alaska Roadless Rule Draft EIS Concerning New Information on Tongass National Forest Carbon Sink

Scientists announce importance of the world’s primary forests and large, old trees in climate regulation and biodiversity conservation

primary forestPrimary (unlogged) forests and large, old trees provide high biodiversity and carbon value benefits

Dominick A. DellaSala and William R. Moomaw

Summary: Primary (unlogged) forests and large old, trees (live and dead) provide multiple benefits that forestall biodiversity and climate emergencies. They have high conservation value if allowed to achieve their ecological potential to support superior biodiversity, carbon storage and ecosystem benefits.

Oregon lawmakers look to supersize firefighting and forest cleanups; critics say it could be counterproductive

Debate on wildfire heats up in Oregon with Geos Institute’s Chief Scientist calling on legislators not to make matters worse by increasing logging.

Legislators will consider several bills in the upcoming short session that could expand and overhaul the way Oregon works to fight – and prevent – wildfires.

The plans include an unprecedented effort to restore forest health through thinning, removing brush and small trees, and increasing prescribed burns. Over the next 20 years, supporters aim to do that work on 5.6 million acres of forest and rangelands — an area equivalent to the state of New Jersey, or nearly 10 percent of Oregon’s entire land base.

The proposals also call for expanding firefighting resources at the Oregon Department of Forestry, putting more boots on the ground and modernizing equipment to put fires out when they’re small, thereby keeping costs low. And they would add administrative staff to make sure the state is promptly invoicing and collecting its firefighting costs – a problem that drove the Department of Forestry to the brink of insolvency last fall.

Read the full article: https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2020/01/lawmakers-look-to-supersize-firefighting-and-forest-cleanups-critics-say-it-could-be-counterproductive.html

Amid forestry struggles, panel finds ‘surprising’ consensus on old-growth logging concerns in B.C.

Conservation North, supported by Geos Institute science, pushes for ban on old growth logging in world class inland rainforest in British Columbia.

When professional foresters Al Gorley and Garry Merkel were appointed to lead a sweeping review of how B.C.’s old-growth forests are managed, they made a deal with each other before hitting the road.

They wouldn’t come to a single conclusion until they had wrapped up what Gorley calls their “listening phase” — four months touring the province and gathering input from people of all walks of life, from forestry company executives to people who came in “off of the street or out of their garden and just wanted to share a personal perspective.”  

After visiting 30 communities, the duo is taken aback by the consensus they’ve encountered as they prepare to wrap up the “listening” phase of the old-growth strategic review this week.

Keep reading: “Amid forestry struggles, panel finds ‘surprising’ consensus on old-growth logging concerns in B.C.“, by Sarah Cox, published Jan 27, 2020 at The Narwhal.

Scientists call for protecting half the planet to provide an equitable future for all species and a safe climate

View at Nature Research Sustainability Community. A response to Schleicher et al. “One Billion People to be Directly Affected by Protecting Half.” Nature Sustainability (2019): 1-3.

We are in a planetary recession marked by biodiversity collapse, climatic upheavals, freshwater shortages, global toxification, and unprecedented human and nonhuman displacements (Ripple et al, 2017). The only positive outlook lies in deep solutions and new narratives. Protecting at least half the Earth, terrestrial and marine, offers such an outlook. Safeguarding nature on a vast scale is necessary both to halt the mass extinction underway and to prevent the huge unleashing of carbon that will result from further ecological degradation (Steffen et al., 2018). In addition to affording robust natural solutions to the ecological exigencies that are imperiling all complex life, the Half Earth (or Nature Needs Half) initiative charts a course toward a sustainable and equitable human coexistence alongside the millions of life forms with whom we share the planet (Noss et al., 2012; Wilson, 2016; Dinerstein et al., 2017; Kopnina 2016; Kopnina et al., 2018).

In implementing Half Earth, conservationists, scientists, and policy-makers should work in concert with indigenous people and local populations (Goodall, 2015). Such efforts are aimed at ensuring that, en route to preempting further ecological catastrophes and healing the relationship between humanity and Earth, wide-scale nature protection will not adversely affect people in proximity to these natural areas (Goodall, 2015; Naidoo et al., 2019). The level of protection proposed will also bar corporate ventures, such as mining, logging, and industrial agriculture, from profiteering at the ongoing expense of the natural world and local and indigenous people (Vettese, 2018).

An Australia in flames tries to cope with an ‘animal apocalypse.’ Could California be next?

By Joseph Serna and Susanne Rust
Originally published January 14, 2020 at the Los Angeles Times

KANGAROO ISLAND, Australia — Sam Mitchell balanced himself on a eucalyptus branch 30 feet above the ground as his meaty left fist clutched a koala, which wailed like a pig with breathing problems. The dark gray marsupial batted its 3-inch black claws in the air helplessly, and minutes later Mitchell crawled down. He and the animal were safely on the ground.

Across much of Australia, volunteers and professionals are fighting to contain widespread blazes, with many also taking risks to save wildlife being killed by the millions. Kangaroo Island, a popular tourist destination and wildlife park off Australia’s southeast coast, has seen some of the worst damage to the nation’s biodiversity. Fires have overrun nearly half of the 1,700-square-mile island, and rescuers have been going tree to tree, trying to save what they can.

“There’s not much that isn’t threatening koalas at the moment,” said Mitchell, who has owned and run the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park with his wife, Dana, the last seven years. The couple started a GoFundMe campaign so people can help with the rescues. Without quick intervention, koalas that survived the fires “are going to die of starvation,” he said.

In terms of human fatalities, Australia’s blazes this year have been less severe than some previous bush fires — with 27 people killed so far this season, compared to 75 during the nation’s 1983 “Ash Wednesday” inferno. But the impact on wildlife this year has been far more devastating, a preview of what California could experience in future fire seasons.

Chief Scientist Dr. Dominick DellaSala testifies in the Oregon legislature

Chief Scientist Dr. Dominick DellaSala testifies in the Oregon legislature on a proposal by state legislatures to provide $4 billion for logging Oregon’s forests, which would be a maladaptive climate change response.

Read the testimony

Read the supplemental materials

Read the additional supplemental materials on the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), climate change, thinning, and defensible space

Tongass transition: Future of the forest depends on preserving old growth

Young growth timber harvest can sustain timber industry, environmentalist says — others aren’t so sure

By Peter Segall, Originally published December 22, 2019 at the Juneau Empire

A recently released mapping project seeks to show the importance of the Tongass National Forest not necessarily in terms of fishing, tourism or dollars but in carbon.

The Oregon-based Geos Institute published an analysis of the Tongass on Dec. 16, and it highlights the importance of the National Forest as a “carbon sink,” which the report says has global climate implications.

“The Tongass is part of a global network of temperate rainforests that make up ~2.5% of the world’s total forest coverage,” the report says. “But these rainforests have exceptional carbon stores for their relatively small spatial extent and are critically important in climate regulation collectively and individually.”

Alaska Roadless Rule Petition Comments

EarthJustice submitted comments to the USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region on December 18, 2019 on behalf  of Geos Institute, Alaska Wilderness League, National Wildlife Federation, Audubon Alaska, Alaska Rainforest Defenders, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Sierra Club, and Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Geos Institute and partners release new information on the global importance of the world’s last remaining unlogged forests

Geos Institute and partners have released three fact sheets available for download.

Read the open access article on SpringerLink

PrimaryTemperateForests

PrimaryTropicalForests
PrimaryBorealForests

Sources for fact sheets:

PrimaryBorealForests_References
PrimaryTemperateForests_References
PrimaryTropicalForests_References

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