Oregon forestry is clearcutting our climate future

For Immediate Release on November 17, 2015

REPORT: INDUSTRIAL FOREST PRACTICES COULD BE OREGON’S SECOND LARGEST SOURCE OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Despite this, the Oregon Global Warming Commission has failed to track and evaluate the timber industry’s emissions and effects on carbon sequestration capacity 

Contacts: Dr. John Talberth, Center for Sustainable Economy: (510) 384-5724, jtalberth@sustainable-economy.org; Dr. Dominick DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 482-4459 x302, dominick@geosinstitute.org

PORTLAND – Clearcutting and use of forest chemicals and fertilizers on industrial forestlands could represent Oregon’s second largest source of global warming pollution and are subverting the State’s climate agenda by making landscapes more susceptible to wildfires, landslides, floods and warm waters that kill salmon. And despite legal requirements to do so, the Oregon Global Warming Commission has failed to track and evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from forest practices or follow through on commitments to develop and promote alternative management techniques that can transform these lands from a net source to a net sink for atmospheric carbon. The key culprit: a flawed international greenhouse gas accounting protocol that lumps all forest owners into one aggregate “forest sector” and allows the timber industry to take credit for carbon sequestered on forests protected by non-profits, small landowners, and public agencies.

Scientists Applaud Northwest Forest Plan Anniversary While Calling for More Forest Protections

For Immediate Release on September 28, 2015

Contacts: Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, Chief Scientist; 541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell);Dominick@geosinstitute.org; Dr. James Karr 360-681-3163; jrkarr@olypen.com; and Dr. Barry R. Noon 970-491-7905; barry.noon@colostate.edu

Ashland, OR – Two decades of monitoring and recent scientific studies show that the integrity of old-growth forests and the viability of salmon and spotted owl populations would be far worse today if not for the Northwest Forest Plan. Published in a special feature on forests and biodiversity in the open access journal Forests, “Building on two decades of ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation under the Northwest Forest Plan, USA” is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the plan’s effectiveness in halting the long-term decline in the region’s federal forests.

260 Scientists Oppose Post-fire Logging Bills

For immediate release on September 24, 2015

Contacts: 
Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Geos Institute: (cell) 541-621-7223; dominick@geosinstitute.org
Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Research Ecologist, John Muir Project: (cell) 530-273-9290; cthanson1@gmail.com

Ashland, Oregon —  Over 260 scientists sent a letter to the U.S. Senate and President Obama urging them to oppose two public lands logging bills, being promoted by the timber industry and their supporters in Congress, which the scientists say would be very destructive to forest ecosystems and wildlife on National Forests and other federal public forestlands. The bills, HR 2647 and S 1691, will not improve forest health or reduce fire risks by promoting widespread logging of ecologically rich post-fire “snag forest” and older forest in mostly remote areas of federal public forestlands. 

Instead they would eliminate most environmental analysis, prevent enforcement of environmental laws by the courts, and markedly reduce public participation in forest management decisions on public forests. The role of the timber industry in federal forest management would also unfairly increase under the deceptive guise of promoting decision-making by “collaborative” groups.

Scientists Call on Pres. Obama to Include Tongass in Climate Change Talks

Contact: Dominick DellaSala (541/621-7223; dominick@geosinstitute.org)

Ashland, OR – Alaska’s Tongass rainforest may fair better in a changing climate than more southerly rainforest locales, according to a new study published in an online reference module “Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences” by Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

The release of the study coincides with President Barack Obama’s visit with the Arctic Council in Anchorage in advance of the United Nations climate talks. It follows a letter sent in April 2015 to the White House by hundreds of scientists calling on President Obama to speed the transition out of old-growth logging on the Tongass to preserve the rainforest’s unique climate and wildlife benefits.

Global Synthesis of Large Wildland Fires Shows They Are Ecologically Beneficial

For Release on June 29, 2015

Contacts:

Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., Chief Scientist Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Ecologist
Geos Inst., Ashland, OR John Muir Project
541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell) Big Bear City, CA; 530-273-9290
www.geosinstitute.org www.johnmuirproject.org

Ashland, OR – 25 fire scientists from around the world released a new publication “The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix” published by Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.  

For the first time scientific research has been compiled from fire-adapted regions providing extensive documentation that forests and other plant communities need a variety of different types of fires, including severe fire, to rejuvenate over the long-term. These findings are timely, in light of current proposals by Members of Congress to weaken environmental laws, based on the assumption that current fires are damaging forest ecosystems, and that increased logging is needed to reduce fire effects.

Old-growth forests, clean water and climate benefiting from two decades of protections under the northwest forest plan

For Immediate Release on May 11, 2015

Contact: Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, Chief Scientist; 541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell); Dominick@geosinstitute.org; www.geosinstitute.org

Ashland, OR – Two decades of monitoring and scientific studies have shown that the Northwest Forest Plan is meeting its ecosystem management objectives across nearly 25 million acres of forests from Coast Redwoods to Olympic rainforest as managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service. The Northwest Forest Plan: Still the Best Science of the Day, a report issued by the Ashland-based Geos Institute reviews extensive government monitoring reports and scientific assessments of the Plan’s effectiveness overtime.

According to the report’s author, Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, “the protective elements of the Northwest Forest Plan have been rehabilitating forests that were once a net source of carbon dioxide pollution from logging to forests that are now re-growing and absorbing vast amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. We also have seen marked improvements to drinking water for millions of people, protection of habitat for endangered species, and the beginnings of ecosystem restoration that wouldn’t be possible without the Plan’s protections.”

Media Advisory on Northern Spotted Owl endangerment decision of Fish & Wildlife Service

Ashland, OR – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has determined there is sufficient cause to trigger a 1-year review for up-listing the embattled northern spotted owl from threatened to endangered. Prompted by an up-listing petition filed by the Arcata, CA conservation group, EPIC, the decision by the Fish & Wildlife Service sets in motion a specific process placing response requirements and specific time constraints on the agency for reaching a determination.

Scientists Warn Climate Change is Threatening World’s Most Expansive Temperate Rainforests

For Immediate Release on February 26, 2015

Contact: Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D.; Cell: 541-621-7223

Ashland, Oregon – International climate change and rainforest experts warned that without drastic and immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and new forest protections, the world’s most expansive stretch of temperate rainforests from Alaska to the coast redwoods will experience irreparable losses.  

Using global climate models, researchers assessed changes in temperature and precipitation from recent to future climatic conditions projected toward the end of the century if emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation continue to rise.

Scientists Ask President Obama to Save Tongass Rainforest

For immediate release on January 20, 2015

Contact: Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist and President; 541.482.4459 x302; 541.621.7223 (cell); dominick@geosinstitute.org

Ashland, Oregon- Seven of the nation’s top scientific societies have joined over 200 distinguished climate and natural resource scientists to urge the Obama Administration to speed up its transition out of old-growth logging on the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in July 2013 that a transition out of old-growth logging and into logging second growth (forests originally logged in the 1950s that have since reforested) would commence over time. The Forest Service is amending the Tongass National Forest Land Management Plan, with a draft due this August. Unfortunately, the agency continues to support controversial old-growth sales at levels not seen since the early 1990s, despite independent analyses showing second growth will soon be available to replace old growth timber.

The scientific societies calling for an end to old-growth logging on the Tongass National Forest (the only national forest still clearcutting old growth) include the American Fisheries Society, American Ornithologists Union, American Society of Mammalogists, Ecological Society of America, Pacific Seabird Group, Society for Conservation Biology, and The Wildlife Society.

Increased Logging on Bureau of Land Management Lands in Western Oregon Would Rival Carbon Dioxide Pollution from Cars and Power Plants

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2014

Contacts: Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., 541-482-4459 x302; 541-621-7223 (cell); Olga Krankina, Ph.D., 541-737-1780

Ashland, Oregon – A new analysis from Dr. Olga Krankina, a member of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), demonstrates how increases in logging levels on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in western Oregon proposed by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (S. 2734) would lead to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to expanding the Boardman coal-fired power plant in Oregon by 50%, or adding another half million cars to Oregon’s roads, or burning over 6.3 million barrels of oil annually.

Senator Wyden’s legislation covers over 2 million acres of western Oregon’s federal forestlands (often called the “O&C” lands) administered by BLM. If S.2734 is enacted into law, logging would increase by 75-140% above current levels. The O&C lands are currently managed under the region’s Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), which was adopted in 1994. An indirect effect of the NWFP’s logging reductions has been a gradual accumulation of atmospheric carbon by the region’s forests. At present, two-thirds of BLM forestland in the Pacific Northwest are protected, older “high-biomass forests,” a term used by scientists to describe forests that sequester (absorb) and store massive amounts of atmospheric carbon.

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