Author Archive

Great Bear Rainforest Scientist Letter

Fifty-four scientists from nine countries, supported by prominent experts speaking at the Earth Summit in Rio, sent a letter to the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, calling on her government to fully implement the agreements to protect the world renowned Great Bear Rainforest – announced more than six years ago. In the letter the  emphasized the importance of implementing the agreements within the next year.

“Most of the rare old-growth rainforests outside of the tropics have been logged, making it imperative that we safeguard the Great Bear Rainforest – the largest remaining temperate rainforest of its kind,” said Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist of the Geos Institute and an expert on temperate and boreal rainforests, who initiated the letter. “Scientists are eager to have a model of conservation that can be replicated around the world, and while we have hope with the Great Bear agreement, six years later it remains an unfinished job,” he added.

In the letter, the scientists point out that the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the few remaining large blocks of comparatively unmodified landscapes left on earth. The region includes over a quarter of the Pacific Coastal rainforests of North America that provide habitat for spectacular wildlife like the Spirit Bear and wild salmon runs that are increasingly rare throughout the world. Currently, half of the Great Bear Rainforest remains open to logging, but the scientists’ recommendation built into the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements was to set aside 70 percent of the natural old-growth forest that has yet to be implemented.

View the letter

Post-fire Logging and Clearcutting on National Forests Scientist Letter

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.

The scientists urged Congress and the Administration to oppose the misguided bills, which “misrepresent scientific evidence,” and instead focus on “ways for the public to co-exist with fires burning safely in the backcountry.”  They urged Senators and the President “to consider what the science is telling us: that post-fire habitats created by fire, including patches of severe fire, are ecological treasures rather than ecological catastrophes, and that post-fire logging does far more harm than good to public forests.” 

Read the letter

Northwest Forest Plan Scientists Letter

In an open letter, 229 scientists hail the Northwest Forest Plan as a “global and regional model in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.” They cite recent studies reaffirming the importance of protective reserves for threatened species like spotted owls and other wildlife, as well as new studies describing improvements made under the protective elements of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. Positive changes in watershed condition, for example, have taken place since the implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 that have been driven mostly by road decommissioning and recovery of previously logged watersheds2. In addition, spotted owl numbers, while declining throughout most of the region, are faring better on federal lands managed under the protections of the Northwest Forest Plan than surrounding lands that are not.

“Erasing the protective land designations and weakening aquatic protections is a bit of a shell game,” DellaSala added. “There is nothing holding the Forest Service back from addressing climate change or new science within the constructs of the Northwest Forest Plan. The agency can already thin forests to address climate-related fire risks both inside and outside the reserve network.”

View the letter

Mystic Corridor Tour

From Crater Lake to the Coast

Join us for an online road tour down the Mystic Corridor, between Crater Lake National Park and the Pacific Coast, with its world-class recreation sites and scenic attractions.  This tour crosses the northern part of the Klamath-Siskiyou region on highways 62, 234, 99, and 199.

For each stop on this virtual tour, you will find:

  • a 2 to 3 minute video about the site and what you can do there    
  • driving directions and a map    
  • links to more information and resources

Explore the Klamath-Siskiyou

Breathtaking beauty and untouched serenity are only a small part of what makes the Klamath-Siskiyou region so unique.

Teeming with life, the Klamath-Siskiyou is ranked one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. From the Pacific coast, the rain-soaked coastal redwood forests give way to the rugged Klamath Mountains, which are bordered on the east by the arid foothills of the Rogue and Shasta Valleys. Wild salmon and steelhead spawn in the pristine Wild and Scenic Rivers, while the clear, cold streams provide fresh drinking water for our local communities.

The Klamath-Siskiyou region’s dense mountain forests and beautiful rivers provide a recreational wonderland for generations of families to enjoy and pass on.

The federally-protected Wilderness Areas, National Recreation Areas, National Forests, National Parks, and Wild and Scenic Rivers ensure that this national gem will remain for our future generations to treasure.

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A Wild American Forest

dvd thumbAcademy Award winner Susan Sarandon narrates the remarkable, inspiring story of how a rugged pocket of America’s Pacific Northwest has endured 150 years of logging, mining, and dam-building to remain one of the largest strongholds of old-growth forest in the nation. The beautiful, scenic Klamath-Siskiyou eco-region, straddling the border between California and Oregon, is a wonderland of biodiversity and one of the world’s most important temperate forest regions. The tallest trees on earth grow here, and the greatest concentration of wild and scenic rivers in the nation tumble through the steep terrain.  Filmed in more than a dozen wilderness areas and national monuments, A Wild American Forest showcases the Klamath-Siskiyou’s natural splendor and vividly illustrates why this area is recognized as a globally significant bioregion.

Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, the Klamath-Siskiyou bears the impact of more than a century of resource extraction.  Yet a remarkable set of circumstances–including topography and a landmark court ruling preserving spotted owl habitat–has left the 20,000 square-mile eco-region with more than a third of its old-growth forest intact, a higher percentage than the Pacific Northwest overall. How this happened is explored in the film with the help of those who know it well, from scientists and foresters to an economist, Native Americans, and other local residents. But what will the future bring?  Only one-fourth of the area’s old-growth forest enjoys full legal protection, putting the rest of it at risk.  Salmon populations are on the brink of collapse here and elsewhere on the Pacific coast. A Wild American Forest reveals how creative solutions to these problems have been set in motion in the Klamath-Siskiyou, setting a precedent for the world.

Watch the first five minutes of A Wild American Forest

Draft Tongass plan would boost CO2 emissions

Reprinted with permission from E&E News
Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter
Published:  Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A draft management plan for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest could cause annual releases equivalent to 4 million cars’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions over the next century, warns a new study.

The study by the Geos Institute, a conservation nonprofit organization studying forest systems and climate change, cautions that the plan’s emissions would run counter to the recent international agreement to address climate change.

The Tongass National Forest unveiled the draft plan in November to shift the forest from predominantly old-growth logging to predominantly young-growth logging. A unanimous recommendation by the Tongass Advisory Committee, which is made up of the timber industry, conservation groups, Alaska Natives and local government, formed the basis for the plan (E&ENews PM, Nov. 20, 2015).

The author of the new report, Geos chief scientist Dominick DellaSala, said he set out to determine whether the plan for the 16.8-million-acre forest was consistent with the recent international climate deal crafted in Paris, as well as with the Obama administration’s own climate change policies.

The Geos Institute report, which used published estimates of carbon stored in the Tongass, takes issue with the Forest Service’s plan to continue to allow old-growth logging as it transitions to young-growth logging. The plan calls for a transition period because of concerns about the salability of young growth.

Tongass Forest Supervisor Earl Stewart said that the changes would make the Tongass forest management program “more ecologically, socially and economically sustainable.”

But along with warning that the draft plan undermines the Paris climate agreement, the report from the Geos Institute says that the plan also runs counter to draft guidelines from the Council on Environmental Quality directing agencies to limit carbon dioxide emissions. The plan would release emissions that are 175 times higher than the CEQ guidelines, according to the report.

Geos used the report to push for a conservation alternative to the draft plan that would accelerate the transition to young-growth logging.

“The Obama Administration is using a double standard of paying other countries not to destroy tropical rainforests, while logging the Tongass rainforest,” DellaSala said in a statement. “We need bold action to save the Tongass and its climate now, not baby steps that drag transition through years of controversial old-growth logging in one of the world’s most important temperate rainforests.”

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Tongass Logging Plan At Odds With Paris Climate Change Agreements

For Immediate Release on January 11, 2016

tongass flyover

Contacts: Dominick A. DellaSala: 541-621-7223 (cell); Jim Furnish: 240-271-1650

Ashland, OR – a logging plan on the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska conflicts with President Obama’s commitments to the Paris climate change agreements reached in December. 

In November, the U.S. Forest Service issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement to transition the Tongass out of old-growth logging but the agency plans to continue logging carbon-rich, old-growth rainforests as it slowly transitions logging to younger trees.

When rainforests are logged, most of the carbon stored in dense foliage, old trees, and soils is emitted as carbon dioxide pollution, the main culprit in heating the planet. A new report by the Ashland-based Geos Institute, a climate change organization, shows proposed would release global warming pollution equivalent to the emissions from 4 million vehicles annually at a time when the nation is striving to cut emissions.

tongass rainforest juneau

Tongass rainforest is Alaska’s first line of climate change defense

tongass rainforest juneauGeos Institute released a new report demonstrating the importance of the Tongass rainforest in southeast Alaska as the State’s first line of climate change defense. Old-growth rainforests on the Tongass store more atmospheric carbon than any national forest in the country and therefore act as a carbon “sink.” The recent Paris climate change agreements called on nations to enhance and maintain forests as a carbon sink. Continued logging on the Tongass releases greenhouse gas emissions that will further place at risk Alaska’s climate and world-class wildlife and fisheries.

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