Center for Biological Diversity
Protecting endangered species and wild
places of western North America
| NEWS RELEASE: May
CONTACT: Brian Segee, (520) 623-5252 x308
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP APPEALS HUGE FIRE SALVAGE TIMBER SALE
The Center for Biological
Diversity (CBD) today appealed to the Forest Service's Southwest Regional
Office to withdraw the proposed Scott Able postfire salvage timber sale
within the Sacramento Mountains on the Lincoln National Forest in southern
New Mexico. The sale, approved by Lincoln Forest Supervisor Jose Martinez
in April, calls for logging 10 million board feet of ponderosa pine and
mixed-conifer on 2,000 acres. The trees to be logged burned last summer
in the 16,000 acre Scott Able fire, which ignited when a decayed aspen
tree fell into a power line. The fire destroyed 64 homes and several other
buildings. The Forest Service has 45 days to respond to the appeal. If
the appeal is denied, the groups may sue in federal court.
Postfire "salvage" timber sales, especially virtual clearcuts such as Scott Able, are a highly damaging form of logging. Salvage logging has been shown in scientific studies to introduce exotic species and weeds, negatively impact cavity-nesting songbirds such as woodpeckers, and compact fragile soils, leading to increased levels of erosion and sedimentation in streams and rivers. Because of these concerns, some scientists have called for a prohibition on mechanized logging and road building within fire areas. "Postfire salvage logging is one of the worst things that can happen to a forest. Unfortunately, the Forest Service sees burned trees as just another commodity to be sold," asserted Segee.
Over 100 years of logging, fire suppression, and domestic livestock grazing have transformed much of the Southwest's majestic ponderosa pine forests into overly dense thickets prone to unnaturally intense and damaging crown fires. CBD and other groups are developing and actively testing restoration strategies on the Kaibab, Coconino, and Gila National Forests designed to protect communities, improve forest health and reduce crown fire danger through prescribed burning and conservative thinning which retains all large trees and emphasizes the protection of wildlife and biodiversity.