For Immediate Release, July 12, 2022
Randi Spivak, Center for Biological Diversity, (310) 779-4894, firstname.lastname@example.org
Report: Federal Logging Projects Put 10 Climate-Saving Forests on Chopping Block
PORTLAND, Ore.— Federal agencies are targeting mature and old-growth forests for logging, according to a new report, despite these trees’ extraordinary ability to curb climate change and President Biden’s directive to preserve them.
The report, Worth More Standing — which spotlights the 10 worst logging projects on federal lands across the country — was released today and details federal logging proposals targeting nearly one-quarter of a million acres of old-growth and mature forests overseen by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. In it the Climate Forests coalition outlines “a pervasive pattern of federal forest mismanagement that routinely sidesteps science to turn carbon-storing giants into lumber” and calls on the Biden administration to pass a permanent rule to protect these big, old trees.
“The best way to protect these carbon-storing giants is to let them grow, but our federal agencies keep turning them into lumber,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Biden administration can help curb climate change by permanently protecting mature and old-growth trees. It takes centuries to make up for the carbon that’s lost when these trees are chopped down, and we don’t have that kind of time.”
The threatened forests are in North Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, California and Oregon.
Mature and old-growth forests hold enormous amounts of carbon. Preserving these trees is a meaningful, cost-effective measure the Biden administration can take immediately to mitigate climate change. Biden issued an Earth Day executive order directing an inventory of old forests and policies to protect them.
“Without a federal rule in place to restrict logging of these critical forest tracts, these mature and old-growth trees could be lost, along with the opportunity to make significant progress toward addressing climate change,” said Blaine Miller-McFeeley, senior legislative representative at Earthjustice.
Also today, more than 100 groups sent a letter to the U.S. Agriculture and Interior departments requesting an immediate start to a rulemaking process to ensure permanent protections for mature and old-growth trees and forests across federal lands, while allowing for necessary measures to reduce wildfire risk. Large, older trees are more resistant to wildfires, and studies show logging them doesn’t reduce the risk of climate change-driven fires.
“This report highlights what we have, but also what we stand to lose,” said Alex Craven, senior campaign representative at the Sierra Club. “Our old and mature growths are a natural climate solution, and we must protect these trees if we wish to tackle the intersecting climate and biodiversity crises.”
Scientists have pointed to forest preservation as one of the most effective ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. U.S. federal forests sequester 35 million metric tons of carbon annually, a number that could rise steadily with new conservation measures.
Protecting older forests also safeguards clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and recreation opportunities.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.