A live tree in an old-growth forest has withstood a century and a half through fires, disease, and lightning strikes but they could not withstand Donald Trump. When he looked across some of our nation’s greatest treasures, our amazing national park system, he only saw green dollar signs.
The Biden administration will bring back “protections for the Tongass National Forest and add additional logging restrictions,” the Agriculture Department announced on Thursday.
There has been a long battle over whether to protect these forests under the Clinton administration’s “Roadless Rule.”
The 35th generation Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also released a “joint memo” on wildland fire leadership:
‘It halted road construction and timber harvesting on many Forest Service lands.’
Trump had argued:
‘[Harvesting these stately trees] would increase rural economic opportunity and would only cause a “modest difference” in environmental impacts.’
Haaland and Vilsack considered this vital:
‘[P]romoting climate resiliency across landscapes and communities, modernizing the firefighter workforce while creating good jobs, and protecting the safety and long-term wellbeing of our wildland firefighters and incident responders.’
Secretary Haaland said:
‘With so little room for error, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to wildland fire preparedness, mitigation, and resilience. To do so, we must confront the reality that a changing climate is fueling these fire disasters.’
‘The Interior Department will continue to leverage our valuable partnerships with state and local governments, Tribes, and the private sector to address and mitigate wildfire risk.’
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack added:
‘We used to call it fire season, but wildland fires now extend throughout the entire year, burning hotter and growing more catastrophic in drier conditions due to climate change. USDA will increase the resiliency of communities at risk for wildfire with more effective land management decisions and partnerships with local communities and Tribal Nations to address climate adaptation, conservation, and ecological resilience.’
Environmentalists have been concerned by the increased logging. They say there has been:
‘[A] major carbon sink, meaning its trees soak up carbon from the atmosphere, lessening the impacts of climate change. The Forest Service found in 2016 that it stores more carbon than any other forest in the country.’
The Biden administration plans to:
- restore the Clinton-era protects of the Alaskan forest.
- add further protection in order to end “large-scale timber harvesting of the old-growth trees” from Tongass.
- leave room for small “community consumption and cultural use.”
The department intends to invest:
‘[A]pproximately $25 million for sustainable opportunities for economic growth and community well-being and would also look for potential priorities for future investments.’
Vilsack released this statement:
‘We look forward to meaningful consultation with Tribal governments and Alaska Native corporations, and engaging with local communities, partners, and the State to prioritize management and investments in the region that reflect a holistic approach to the diverse values present in the region.’
‘This approach will help us chart the path to long-term economic opportunities that are sustainable and reflect Southeast Alaska’s rich cultural heritage and magnificent natural resources.’
The administration already notified the public it was changing Trump’s expanded logging agreement in the forest. Instead, President Biden intended to change Trump’s expanded logging:
The U.S. Forest Service said that an old forest must be 150 years old and developed into a complex structure:
‘[It consists of] live and dead trees, distinctive habitats; and a diverse group of plants, fungi, and animals. Environmental groups use the term “old growth” to describe forests with large, old trees and no clearly visible human influences.’
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