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Most Endangered U.S. Forests Ranking Pinpoints Logging Pressure
MISSOULA, Montana, October 14, 2005 (ENS) - Oregon has more national forests
at risk of commercial logging than any other state, according to the latest
listing of the most endangered U.S. national forests released Wednesday by
the nonprofit National Forest Protection Alliance.
Representing some of the nationís most diverse old-growth forests remaining,
these wooded lands in Oregon contain the region's largest roadless areas,
which provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.
The Zane Grey roadless area and the Rouge River in Oregon. The Bureau of
Land Management proposes a timber sale in this pristine area. (Photo
"Our national forests face myriad threats from Bush administration policies
and Forest Service management," said Jake Kreilick, Endangered Forests
Project coordinator with the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA).
"Collectively, the forest profiles in this report illustrate the poor
ecological state of the national forest system, in large part from Forest
Service efforts to place private industrial interests above the interests of
the American people," Kreilick said.
Since 2002, the volume of wood cut in the federal logging program has grown
by over 300 million board feet due to an escalation of logging in Oregon,
California and the South, the NFPA points out.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth has said logging is important for
fire risk reduction because fuels that might go up in smoke are removed.
That too is the rationale behind the Bush administration's Healthy Forests
law passed in 2003.
But the number of acres burned this year, after four years of logging to
clear fuels, at 8,221,095 acres, is greater than any year since the Bush
administration took office, and nearly twice the 10 year average number of
acres burned from 1995 to 2005 of 4,568,739 acres.
The Forest Service estimates that "high priority treatment areas" for fuel
removal cover 397 million acres across all ownerships, public and private,
an area three times the size of France.
A clear cut in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota (Photo
The National Forest Protection Alliance report, "America's Endangered
National Forests: Lumber, Landfill or Living Legacy?" lists 12 most
endangered forests, nine threatened forests and two deserving of special
mention - the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, and the Nantahala
National Forest in North Carolina.
The 1.2 million acre Black Hills National Forest is a biologically distinct
forest ecosystem where Rocky Mountain, eastern deciduous and boreal forests
meet. Though the forest in its entirety is sacred to the Lakota Native
people, logging, roadbuilding, overgrazing, mining and development are
constant threats, and most of the forest has been logging at least once.
In the 1.3 million acre Nantahala National Forest, "intense pressure" from
logging and roadbuilding is the greatest concern, according to the National
Forest Protection Alliance. The Nantahala and surrounding forests contain
130 species of hardwoods and more than 2,000 species of flowering plants.
The NFPA says, "The forest provides refuge for more than 50 species of
terrestrial plants and animals that are listed as endangered or threatened
and for 289 imperiled aquatic species."
Most of the forests featured in the report face threats to roadless areas
from logging, roadbuilding, grazing, off-road vehicles and the Bush
administrationís new roadless policy that gives state governors just 18
months to request protection for roadless areas in their state.
"Protecting roadless areas is no longer a priority of the Forest Service and
many are now proposed for development," the NFPA warned.
America's Most Endangered National Forests:
Malheur National Forest - Oregon
Siskiyou National Forest - Oregon
Oregon BLM Forests
Allegheny National Forest - Pennsylvania
Bighorn National Forest - Wyoming
Daniel Boone National Forest - Kentucky
Los Padres National Forest - California
George Washington & Jefferson National Forest - Virginia
Rio Grande National Forest - Colorado
Tongass National Forest - Alaska
National Forests in Mississippi
Bitterroot National Forest - Montana
America's Most Threatened National Forests:
Carson National Forest - New Mexico
Wayne National Forest - Ohio
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area - Kentucky
Flathead National Forest - Montana
Kaibab National Forest - Arizona
Michigan National Forests
Klamath National Forest - California
Nez Perce National Forest - Idaho
Umpqua National Forest - Oregon
"Most Americans would be shocked to learn that logging on the Tongass
National Forest is still being scheduled at about the same yearly rate that,
over the past century, has already endangered this forest," said Larry
Edwards of Greenpeace, a member of the Alliance.
"To force rational management of this national treasure and other national
forests, we must turn to the one place where people have indomitable power -
the marketplace," Edwards said.
Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest is at risk of intensified logging on
stands of trees just recovering from the logging of 100 years ago.
Roadbuilding and mining are other imminent threats. (Photo courtesy NFPA)
The economic research presented in the market section was compiled by Dr.
John Talberth, an expert on the values and benefits derived from all the
national forest programs and uses.
"Clearly, America's national forests are far more valuable standing than cut
down and converted into 2 x4's and paper products that are of trivial
importance to our nationís wood products supply," said Talberth.
"Nonetheless, through generous taxpayer subsidies of the federal timber sale
program, the Forest Service is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
These subsidies would be far better spent protecting and restoring
ecological services of immense value to both existing and future
The NFPA's Jeanette Russell said, "The National Forest Protection Alliance
believes that the marketplace provides a new and effective avenue for
protecting and restoring national forests. It's clear that citizens can no
longer rely exclusively on Congress or the Bush administration to protect
these public forests, as they are the very entities promoting more
industrial logging and development."
"Given the disconnect between these bigger economic trends and the federal
government's pro-logging policies," said Russell, "consumer demand and
corporate responsibility will play increasingly important roles in changing
how national forests are managed."
The report, "America's Endangered National Forests: Lumber, Landfill or
Living Legacy?"is online at: