AFRC has the following to say regarding a report by the “Climate Forests Campaign,” an anti-forestry effort to halt forest management throughout the nation:
Old and mature trees are not “worth more standing” if they are dead and emitting carbon. This “report” by anti-forestry lobbyists was released at the same time firefighters are working to save California’s Mariposa Grove and its famed Giant Sequoia Trees. The Washburn Fire demonstrates how old and mature trees are directly threatened by tinderbox conditions on our national forests, which are choked with overstocked, insect-infested and drought-stricken stands.
More than half of all National Forest System lands are already off-limits to forest management. The remaining lands are in dire need of proactive, science-based treatments that reduce wildfire risks and promote the health and resiliency of our forests to natural disturbances.
President Biden’s Executive Order and 10-year Wildfire Strategy both recognize severe wildfire and climate change as the greatest threats to old and mature trees, not logging. Of the 10 projects targeted by anti-forestry lobbyists, half are located in Oregon and Montana. The common thread among all these projects is that they were developed by public lands managers and their scientists to help improve forest health, protect communities from wildfires, and protect and enhance wildlife habitat and mitigate climate change impacts. These projects also serve to maximize our forests’ ability to sequester and store carbon, both in standing trees and in long lasting wood products.
Whatever timber is harvested from these projects will provide climate-friendly, carbon-storing building materials that require less energy to produce compared to steel and concrete. American-made wood products also decrease our dependence on foreign imports, where wood is harvested under weak environmental standards and forest practices. In releasing this “report,” anti-forestry lobbyists are seeking to double-down on status quo of mismanagement of our national forests that has resulted in severe wildfires, the emission of millions of tons of carbon, toxic smoke impacting our most at-risk populations, devastated and destroyed communities, and the loss of old and mature trees that all Americans value.
AFRC continues to stand with those seeking balanced solutions to the challenges facing our forests, climate, and society. We hope the Biden Administration and our public land managers will take decisive action to protect our forests from catastrophic wildfires and reject desperate attempts to distract the American public and press from the real threats we face.