Oregon “Salvage Logging” Threatens Ancient Forest Renewal

The Bush administration has announced final plans for one of the largest commercial timber sales in modern history in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon, one of America's wildest, most pristine places. The site of the 2002 Biscuit wildfire is to be mercilessly “salvage” logged. Some 74,000 logging trucks worth of timber are to be removed – mostly from old-growth, roadless and previously unlogged ancient forests – an amount equal of one quarter of the entire annual U.S. national forest timber harvest. The sale would occur at significant cost to tax-payers.
This crass timber industry pay-off is being justified as a means to ensure forest health and reduce the threat of forest fires. It will achieve neither. Salvage logging is known to increase erosion, impair streams and other wildlife habitat, further damage forests made more fragile by fires, and can actually increase fire risk due to the buildup of hazardous fuel and slash left by logging operations.
A fire-adapted forest that burns naturally (most are on varying periodicities) and is left to recover is not a disaster – it is how many forests regenerate. Trees downed by forest fires provide habitat for wildlife and nutrients needed for their renewal and to help keep forests healthy. Rarely are whole forests destroyed – as clumps of live trees and surrounding intact forests provide materials to seed a new, healthier forest.
There exists no environmental justification to heavily log burned trees in the Klamath-Siskiyou region – one of Western America's most important intact ancient forest landscapes. The region is ecologically unique and home to remarkable biological diversity. As one of America's last large ancient forest wildlands and many important watersheds, it deserves national park status, not destructive first time industrial logging under false pretenses.
Will you buy the lie that heavily logging ancient forests protects them? Indeed, in most cases it is first time industrial logging and not forest fires that irreparably diminish large and natural forests. Your vigilance provides the last best hope that the Klamath-Siskiyou and the world's other forest cathedrals – evolutionary and ecological treasure troves – will remain able to continue giving us life.
Even ancient forests deserve a fresh start.

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3 Responses

  1. Justin says:

    What do you expect the government to do with all of the burned landscape just let it set and rot?

  2. Mike says:

    You got your facts wrong. The ancient forest in the Biscuit Burn is dead. On 224,000 acres (350 square miles) all the trees were killed. What is sprouting back is sclerophyllous brush, not trees. This tickbrush is highly flammable, the lightning still strikes, and more fires are sure to follow.
    The forest is dead. All the forest creatures are dead. All the formerly resident spotted owls, pine martins, wolverines, elk, deer, bear, etc. got burned up. Tickbrush is not forest. Forest animals do not live in tickbrush.
    The forest is not coming back. What is coming back is fire-type tickbrush. Your ignorant ecological assessment is wrong. These forests did not arise as a result of “natural burns”. Such a conclusion fails to acknowledge that human beings have been living in Oregon for 10,000 years, or that they set fires every year for many millenia. Your conclusion is, in fact, rascism, not science.
    Your opposition to restoration of the Biscuit Burn helps to insure that the Kalmiopsis Forest will never come back, and will remain extinct. Your foolishness is actually a call for further forest extinction. Which makes you a pretty toxic fellow. Which is something to be, I guess, but pardon me if I don't shake your hand.

  3. Glen says:

    Au contraire, what you are seeing is the birth of a new forest from the ashes of the old. This has happened for eons, and because it does not fit your world view your refused to see.

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