Originally published March 15, 2018, available online at Seattle Times
There is no better place to experience old-growth forests than the Tongass and Chugach national forests. Here, all five species of Pacific salmon line up to spawn like rush-hour traffic, spruce and hemlock trees tower like skyscrapers, and bears and wolves still run free.
By Gordon Orians and Dominick A. DellaSala
The Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the crown jewel of our national forest system, is facing an unprecedented threat.
At the end of last year, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, introduced two legislative budget riders aimed at allowing thousands of acres of pristine, roadless old-growth rain forest on the Tongass and the Chugach National Forest to be clear-cut.
We recently joined more than 220 of our fellow scientists from Alaska and across the country in sending a letter to Congress urging members to reject these backdoor efforts to undermine long-standing roadless and old-growth forest protections.
Geos Institute is part of an international coalition dedicated to protecting the world's last remaining primary (unlogged) and intact forest landscapes (forest legacies). We are on the steering committee and science committee for Intact: International Action for Primary Forests. You can learn about the climate, water quality, and biodiversity benefits of these remarkable forests by clcking here: www.primaryforest.org - our position is that the planet’s remaining primary (old growth) forests should be free of industrial activities. Read our statement and see the list of organizations that have already signed on.
Mater Engineering, Geos Institute, and NRDC young growth study reveals Tongass can transition out of old growth logging quickly.
View the summary of results of results (PDF)
By Kevin Gullufsen
Originally published January 28, 2018 05:58 am at the Juneau Empire
Tongass old growth, aquatic life put at stake by spending bill, they say
A group of 220 natural resource scientists urged Congress with a joint letter Friday not to eliminate the so-called “roadless rule” on Alaska’s Tongass and Chugach national forests.
The letter comes in response to two proposed changes U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, attached to an Interior Department spending bill in November that hasn’t yet passed. One provision exempts the Tongass and Chugach from prohibitions on road construction and timber harvesting in certain areas of the national forests.
Another section overturns protections in the Forest Service’s Tongass Management Plan for valuable old-growth timber. The plan instead charts a path toward logging younger tree stands.
Overturning these protections, the scientists write, would threaten salmon runs and the Tongass’ ability to store carbon and mitigate climate change.