Scientists speak out for Tongass roadless and old growth protections

For Immediate Release January 26, 2018

Contact: Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 482-4459 x 302 or (541) 621-7223 cell, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ASHLAND, OR - 220 leading scientists, researchers, and university professors spoke out in unison today in support of protecting the Tongass National Forest from rollbacks to roadless area and old-growth forest protections proposed by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (attached letter).

Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Chief Scientist of the Ashland-based Geos Institute, author of "temperate and boreal rainforests of the world: ecology and conservation," and co-author of the scientist letter, said "The Tongass is the crown jewel of the national forest system and one of the world's last remaining intact temperate rainforests. Alaska is on the front lines of climate impacts from melting glaciers, rapid thawing of permafrost, and rising temperatures. It makes no sense to open up old growth logging wounds when the Forest Service can be transitioning to more climate friendly young forest logging."

DellaSala added, When old-growth rainforests are cut down up to two-thirds of their stored carbon is released to the atmosphere as a global warming pollutant. Old-growth logging on the Tongass is estimated to release the carbon dioxide equivalent of adding over 2 million vehicles per year to Alaska's climate impacts (See: http://www.forestlegacies.org/images/projects/tongass-report-emissions-2016-01.pdf).

The Tongass is the only national forest still clearcutting old-growth forests. Most have moved on to logging smaller less controversial trees.

Click to read the letter

 

Study: A global map of roadless areas and their conservation status

For Immediate Release December 15, 2016 at 2:00pm EST

Author Contacts: Pierre L. Ibisch (Germany) - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (+49-3334-65 7178) - English, German and Spanish | Nuria Selva (Poland) - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (+48-600135676)- English, Spanish and Polish | Stefan Kreft (Germany) – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (+49-3334-65 7296) - English, German and Spanish

Further co-authors: Monika Hoffmann (Germany) | Vassiliki Kati (Greece) | Dominick DellaSala (USA) | Mariana M. Vale (Brazil) | Peter R. Hobson (UK) | Lisa Biber-Freudenberger (Germany) | Guy Pe’er (Germany)

A new global map of roadless areas shows that the Earth’s surface is shattered by roads into more than 600,000 fragments. More than half of them are smaller than 1 km2. Roads have made it possible for humans to access almost every region but this comes at a very high cost ecologically to the planet’s natural world. Roads severely reduce the ability of ecosystems to function effectively and to provide us with vital services for our survival. Despite substantial efforts to conserve the world’s natural heritage, large tracts of valuable roadless areas remain unprotected. The study shows that the United Nations’ sustainability agenda fails to recognize the relevance of roadless areas in meetings its goals. 

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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, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Dr. Chad Hanson, John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, (530) 273-9290, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 482-4459 x 302 or (541) 621-7223 cell, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

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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 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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.

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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.

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