Salmon, water, old-growth forests and climate win!
The Obama administration announced today its decision to cancel a Bush era plan that would have harmed salmon, clean water and old-growth forests on 2.6 million acres of public lands in western Oregon.
The Obama administration announced today its decision to cancel a Bush era plan that would have harmed salmon, clean water and old-growth forests on 2.6 million acres of public lands in western Oregon. The highly contentious plan, called the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR), would have increased logging of old growth forests by 400%, harmed threatened salmon spawning streams, healthy old-growth forests, and habitat for rare birds such as the threatened northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.
The WOPR, a vestige of the Bush administration’s attempts to circumvent laws and unravel protections for public forests under the Northwest Forest Plan, would also have and contributed significantly to global warming through CO2 emissions from logging.
“The highest and best use of these forests are for clean water, wildlife and salmon habitat and carbon sequestration, said Randi Spivak, VP of Government Affairs with the GEOS Institute. “The mature- and old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest store more carbon per acre than almost any other forest on earth, logging them releases a significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.”
According to BLM’s own analysis, compared to letting these old forests grow, logging would release approximately 180 million tons of carbon that is currently stored in these forests. This is equivalent to driving 1 million cars for a period of 132 years or the equivalent of operating a 585 Mw coal-fired plant for 36 years.
Preserving older forests can significantly help mitigate climate change through biological carbon sequestration and storage. The latest study just published by Oregon State University titled, Carbon Dynamics and Potential Land-Based Carbon Storage concludes that, “If forests were managed for maximum carbon sequestration total carbon stocks could theoretically double in the Coast Range, West Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and East Cascades and triple in the Klamath Mountains.”
Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist and President of the National Center had this to add – “the Obama administration’s decision to cancel the WOPR puts to rest nearly a decade of failed attempts to rollback Northwest forest protections that included political interference in endangered species recovery plans and scientifically flawed management plans for public lands. We look forward to working with the Obama administration to ensure Northwest forests are managed for clean water, endangered species, old forests, and climate security, as was intended under the Northwest Forest Plan.”
“We think the administration needs to now turn its attention to efforts that protect old forests for climate security while restoring overstocked tree plantations, and restoring fish and wildlife habitat that will generate new jobs in restoration”, said Randi Spivak.
For more information, contact Randi Spivak, GEOS Institute, 310-779-4894 or Dominick DellaSala, 541-482-4459 extention 302.
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