Arboreal residents of Oregon's drippy coastal forests, North Coast red tree voles have grown dependent on intact communities of thousand-year-old trees. Building nests on tree branches and rarely leaving the canopy, these voles rely on the complexities of ancient forest ecosystems.


But the habitat of this special population of red tree voles is being logged and developed. Sadly there's little federal land on Oregon's North Coast. Without protections, most of the private and state lands in this area are being heavily managed to maximize timber production — causing dramatic declines in the North Coast red tree vole.


In June 2007 the Center and allies petitioned to protect this tree vole under the Endangered Species Act, fighting for the designation of critical habitat, development of a recovery plan and restoration of native old-growth ecosystems. Since then we've seen wins and losses and gone to court to defend this charming critter.

We'd ultimately like to see in place a comprehensive plan similar to the Northwest Forest Plan to protect the region's rich biological diversity. The tree vole, an important indicator of forest health because of its vulnerability to ecological disturbances, is just one of dozens of species that depend on the Northwest's forests, rivers and coastlines to survive.

Red tree vole photo by Nick Hatch