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Study: Protected Forests on Public Land Burn Less Severely Than Logged Areas

For Immediate Release, October 26, 2016

Contacts: Curtis Bradley, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 345-5710, | Dr. Chad Hanson, John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, (530) 273-9290, | Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 482-4459 x 302 or (541) 621-7223 cell,

TUCSON, Ariz.— A new study published in the scientific journal Ecosphere finds that public forests that are protected from logging burn less severely than logged forests. The study is the most comprehensive investigation of its kind, spanning more than 23 million acres and examining three decades’ of forest fire data in the West. Among the major findings were that areas undisturbed by logging experienced significantly less intensive fire compared with areas that have been logged.

Obama Administration Should Protect Tongass National Forest Old Growth To Achieve Urgent Climate Change Goals

For Immediate Release on June 30, 2016

– Tongass Logging Plan Ignores Fast Exit from Old-growth Logging

– Agency Relies on Old School Forestry Tactics

– Contradicts Secretary of State John Kerry’s and President Obama’s Climate Statements

Media Contact: Dominick DellaSala, GEOS Institute | 541- 482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell)

Ashland, OR – The release of the Forest Service’s old-growth logging plan (Final Environmental Impact Statement) for the Tongass National Forest stalls urgent climate change protections and runs counter to the Obama administration’s climate change directives. The plan contradicts the US-led Paris Climate Change Agreement that includes measures to protect vast amounts of carbon stored in forests to help head off dangerous global warming. The Forest Service’s plan calls for continued logging of old growth trees for another 16 years, which threatens 43,000 acres of Tongass old-growth rainforest. The unnecessarily long timeframe will release the equivalent emissions of 4 million vehicles annually over the next 100 years at a time when nations are looking to cut back on emissions.

tongass flyover

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.

Oregon forestry is clearcutting our climate future

For Immediate Release on November 17, 2015


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,; Dr. Dominick DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 482-4459 x302,

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);; Dr. James Karr 360-681-3163;; and Dr. Barry R. Noon 970-491-7905;

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

Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Geos Institute: (cell) 541-621-7223;
Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Research Ecologist, John Muir Project: (cell) 530-273-9290;

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;

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


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

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);;

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.


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