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Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

Program: Pacific Northwest

Sierra Club Forests and Climate Webinar by Dominick DellaSala and Jason Grant.

View the presentation- https://www.dropbox.com/s/56zrp1j3ea5615u/Forests%20&%20Climate_092519%20copy.pptx?dl=0

View the recording- https://zoom.us/recording/share/M03C_q4FuYzAtJjJ7AFIS8ZXvpY0Qozff4qO194zqJewIumekTziMw

 

By Jim Furnish

Jim is a consulting forester in Iowa, following a 34-year career with the U.S. Forest Service, including as the agency’s deputy chief from 1999 to 2002.

Published August 11 at The Washington Post

I was the supervisor of Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest in 1996 when a huge landslide caused by shoddy road construction sent tons of mud and debris into a critical salmon stream. I felt terrible ― and personally responsible. In the rush to build logging roads along treacherously steep hillsides, we mismanaged forests for decades and pushed salmon and spotted owls to the brink of extinction.

When I came to Washington to become deputy chief of the Forest Service a few years later, that Oregon landslide ― and countless other road-building mistakes ― motivated me to rewrite national forest policy. I was a chief architect of two landmark rules to reform logging and road building in our national forests.

By Roy Keene and Dominick DellaSala
Posted Jun 13, 2019 at The Register Guard

The Shotcash BLM timber sale would clear cut some 1,200 acres of ecologically healthy, still-growing, 60-80 year old timber within the heavily logged Mohawk River drainage. In a watershed checkerboarded with thousands of acres of clear cuts and almost entirely depleted of older forests, the BLM claims it needs more seedling plantations. We think this is a bad idea.

In its 1957 forest inventory, the United States Forest Service reported Lane County having a sawtimber volume of 97 billion board feet. Its 2001-2010 inventory reported only 64 billion board feet, a 34% decline. In the last half century of so-called “sustained yield management,” 33 billion board feet of Lane’s timber has been liquidated. The 2010 inventory shows 83% of the county’s remaining timber volume vested in federal forests. Having consumed most of their mature timber, Lane County’s mills now press federal lands. The BLM seems eager to accommodate the county at the public’s expense. 

  • Scientists say reforestation and better forest management can provide 18 percent of climate change mitigation through 2030. But studies appear to be divided about whether it’s better to prioritize the conservation of old forests or the replanting of young ones.
  • A closer look, however, reconciles these two viewpoints. While young forests tend to absorb more carbon overall because trees can be crowded together when they’re small, a tree’s carbon absorption rate accelerates as it ages. This means that forests comprised of tall, old trees – like the temperate rainforests of North America’s Pacific coast – are some of the planet’s biggest carbon storehouses.
  • But when forests are logged, their immense stores of carbon are quickly released. A study found the logging of forests in the U.S. state of Oregon emitted 33 million tons of CO2 – almost as much as the world’s dirtiest coal plant.
  • Researchers are calling on industry to help buffer climate change by doubling tree harvest rotations to 80 years, and urge government agencies managing forests to impose their own harvest restrictions

Read the full article by Paul Koberstein & Jessica Applegate at Mongabay

Dominick DellaSala’s presentation in Portland at a public event in Portland hosted by Oregon Wild.

pnw northern spotted owl USFWSAt the world’s first breeding centre in Langley, B.C., spotted owls are hatched in incubators, given around the clock medical care and hand fed euthanized rodents in a last-ditch effort to save the species from Canadian extinction. All the while scientists warn that the province has yet to recognize the endangered raptor as a symbol of our escalating failure to protect old-growth forests. Read the entire in-dept piece by Sarah Cox at The Narwhal.

DellaSala likened the spotted owl to the quintessential canary in a coal mine. The owl is an indicator of a “whole complex ecosystem with all the parts that are in jeopardy,” he said. “This is just one of the parts and it’s telling us we have not done a responsible job of maintaining the old-growth ecosystems upon which the owl and thousands of other species depend.”

By Annette McGee Rasch for The Mail Tribune, published September 21, 2018

A group of environmental scientists have written a letter to Congress advising that efforts to control wildfires should focus on reducing fire hazards near communities, homes and roads and not on logging larger, fire-resistant trees deeper in the forest.

More than 200 scientists with backgrounds in areas such as wildfire ecology and natural resource management recently sent the letter to Congress urging the removal of pro-logging amendments to the 2018 Farm Bill.

“It’s hard for most policymakers to ignore science from so many experts when they explain why the logging provisions would harm forests and worsen wildfire conditions in the West while doing nothing to protect communities,” said Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist with Geos Institute, which focuses on climate change and other environmental issues.

Comments submitted on August 1 to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to help inform its legislative mandate (HB 5201) on the development of a statewide carbon policy framework, and to assist in presenting the best available science for forest carbon accounting. Read the full comments.

Geos Institute Chief Scientist speaks on the importance of scientific integrity in endangered species conservation at the NACCB 2018 Symposium. (starts around 45:00)

 

By Ted Sickinger

For as long as climate change legislation has been debated in Oregon, the forestry sector has been the ghost in the room.

If policymakers bothered to discuss it at all, they assumed the sector was carbon neutral, with the greenhouse gas emissions from logging offset by replanting and forest growth each year. But no one really knew; the data didn’t exist for Oregon. And in a state where big timber exercises outsize political clout relative to its economic importance, the politics of including it in any potential regulation or strategy to increase carbon stocks was simply a nonstarter.

Until now.

As lawmakers gear up to make another attempt to pass a climate change bill in 2019, new data suggests that the forest sector is not only a factor in Oregon’s carbon picture, it is THE factor and one of national and even international importance as lawmakers look to reduce the concentration of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.

Keep reading at online at The Oregonian

By Dominick A. DellaSala, Posted April 21, 2018 at The Oregonian

As a forest ecologist, I have argued for decades that public forests need to be protected as our irreplaceable natural legacy. New studies from Oregon State University and Oregon’s Global Warming Commission Task Force on Forest Carbon show that there are critically important climate benefits to be added that could make Oregon the nation’s first carbon-neutral state if forestry practices are improved.

It turns out that Oregon’s forests are nature’s cooling towers. Through the process of photosynthesis, forests absorb atmospheric carbon and use it to make their food (sugar), storing excess carbon in tree trunks, plants and soils for centuries. When forests are cut down, most of this stored carbon is released to the atmosphere as a global warming pollutant from decomposing logging slash and the transport and manufacture of wood products. Forest loss globally accounts for some 17 percent of these pollutants. Clearcutting, mainly on private lands, and the sell-off of 320,000 acres of family-owned forests since 1974, is limiting the capacity of forests in Oregon to provide climate savings.

Geos Institute partnered with the Center for Sustainable Economy in 2015 on a ground-breaking report that identified Oregon’s forestry practices as among the top global warming polluters in the state. That report triggered the formation of a task force on carbon appointed by Governor Kate Brown to which our Chief Scientist sits on. The task force recently released its forest carbon findings and Geos Institute sent a summary to Oregon state legislatures. Read it here.

By Warren Cornwall, Oct. 5, 2017, for Science Magazine

WESTERN OREGON—Jerry Franklin has spent much of his life in the company of giants. From his childhood in the woods of Washington state to a scientific career that catapulted him to international prominence, the towering trees of the U.S. Pacific Northwest have shaped his world. In the 1980s, the forest ecologist became a hero to many conservationists thanks to research that helped lead to a controversial 1994 plan protecting millions of hectares of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest from logging.

Today, in the twilight of his life, the 80-year-old scientist has become a champion of this far different landscape, which he sees as vital to supporting a full range of forest species. That change has again thrust Franklin, a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, to the center of a debate over the future of the northwest’s forests—including a potential rewrite of that seminal 1990s Northwest Forest Plan. This time, Franklin is drawing the ire of conservationists for promoting forest management techniques—including targeted logging—designed to create more of the scraggly patches of protoforest that ecologists call “early seral” communities.

Forest ecologist Dominick DellaSala, president of the Ashland-based Geos Institute, is convinced that logging is a poor substitute for natural disturbances, which leave a complex jumble of live and dead trees. DellaSala was Franklin’s co-author on the 2011 paper about the importance of early seral habitat, but he has become Franklin’s chief scientific critic. Franklin, he says, “thinks you can recreate [seral habitat] from nothing. And I think you can’t recreate it from nothing. You’ve got to start with something and just not salvage log it.”

Read the full article at sciencemag.org

 

csnm dellasalaFrom High Country News, August 24, 2017

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has completed his long-awaited review of 21 national monuments and recommending a handful be reduced in size including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon. Climate change was a main reason to expand the Cascade-Siskiyou, as researchers pressed the Obama administration to protect whole watersheds and reduce habitat fragmentation between the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains.

“It’s the only functional land bridge making that connection,” says Dominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist at the Geos Institute, who was involved with research on the monument’s role in climate resilience. He describes Cascade-Siskiyou, which encompasses a wide variety of habitats including oak woodlands, mixed conifer stands and chaparral, as the first monument to biodiversity. “Traditional uses like logging are land-use stressors that are incompatible with the monument’s biodiversity.”

In fact, researchers pushed for a far larger expansion than the one Obama enacted. “This is the last place any kind of monument reduction should be attempted,” DellaSala says. “Reducing the boundaries is not scientifically defensible.”

Read the full article here.

csnm dellasalaFrom High Country News, August 24, 2017

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has completed his long-awaited review of 21 national monuments and recommending a handful be reduced in size including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon. Climate change was a main reason to expand the Cascade-Siskiyou, as researchers pressed the Obama administration to protect whole watersheds and reduce habitat fragmentation between the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains.

“It’s the only functional land bridge making that connection,” says Dominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist at the Geos Institute, who was involved with research on the monument’s role in climate resilience. He describes Cascade-Siskiyou, which encompasses a wide variety of habitats including oak woodlands, mixed conifer stands and chaparral, as the first monument to biodiversity. “Traditional uses like logging are land-use stressors that are incompatible with the monument’s biodiversity.”

In fact, researchers pushed for a far larger expansion than the one Obama enacted. “This is the last place any kind of monument reduction should be attempted,” DellaSala says. “Reducing the boundaries is not scientifically defensible.”

Read the full article here.

marbled murrelet

The marbled murrelet, a robin-size coastal seabird, is unique in nesting in old-growth rainforests along the Pacific Coast of northern California, Oregon, and Washington. It has been declining mainly from habitat loss due to logging, gill net fisheries, and oil pollution. Geos Institute sent detailed comments to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to up-list the species from threatened to endangered due to ongoing habitat loss and ill-effects of climate change on coastal marine waters. 

Read the full comments

cnsm viewInterior Secretary Ryan ZInke has begun a controversial and scientifically incredulous review of 25 national monuments for possible reductions in protections, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon and northern California. Geos Institute played a supportive science role in designation of the monument (as well as other national monuments) in 2000. We are now defending this monument from possible rollbacks of the Trump administration.

Read the letter we sent to Mr. James Cason, Special Assistant, Delegated the Functions, Duties, and Responsibilities of the Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

cnsm viewInterior Secretary Ryan ZInke has begun a controversial and scientifically incredulous review of 25 national monuments for possible reductions in protections, including the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon and northern California. Geos Institute played a supportive science role in designation of the monument (as well as other national monuments) in 2000. We are now defending this monument from possible rollbacks of the Trump administration.

Read the letterRead the letter we sent to Mr. James Cason, Special Assistant, Delegated the Functions, Duties, and Responsibilities of the Deputy Secretary of the Interior. (photo: D. DellaSala)

south kalmiopsis dellasalaSince 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan has been providing protections for millions of acres of old-growth forests, imperiled spotted owls, hundreds of rare species, and wild salmon on federal lands in Washington, Oregon, and California. Without the Plan’s protections, all old-growth forests, aside from remote areas, would likely have been destroyed sometime this decade by unsustainable logging. This is why hundreds of scientists and conservation groups have worked hard to uphold the protections afforded these forests for over two decades.

south kalmiopsis dellasalaSince 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan has been providing protections for millions of acres of old-growth forests, imperiled spotted owls, hundreds of rare species, and wild salmon on federal lands in Washington, Oregon, and California. Without the Plan’s protections, all old-growth forests, aside from remote areas, would likely have been destroyed sometime this decade by unsustainable logging. This is why hundreds of scientists and conservation groups have worked hard to uphold the protections afforded these forests for over two decades.

On Thursday January 12, 2017 we celebrated two major victories in southwest Oregon that have paid off in over 100,000 acres protected for climate change resilience, biodiversity, and clean water!!

On October 14, 2016 Senator Jeff Merkely held a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the approximately 62,000 acres Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which includes the Pilot Rock area. It was designated by President Clinton in 2000 as the nation’s first monument to biodiversity and contains extraordinary plant and animal diversity. The region is considered a unique biological crossroads for wildlife and plants dispersing across the Cascades, Siskiyous, and Coast Range. It is the nation’s only monument to biodiversity.

Scientists, including Geos Institute, have been calling for expansion of the monument to enable wildlife migrations facing unprecedented climate change and development in the surroundings.

 

On October 14, 2016 Senator Jeff Merkely held a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the approximately 62,000 acres Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which includes the Pilot Rock area. It was designated by President Clinton in 2000 as the nation’s first monument to biodiversity and contains extraordinary plant and animal diversity. The region is considered a unique biological crossroads for wildlife and plants dispersing across the Cascades, Siskiyous, and Coast Range. It is the nation’s only monument to biodiversity.

Scientists, including Geos Institute, have been calling for expansion of the monument to enable wildlife migrations facing unprecedented climate change and development in the surroundings.

 

USFWS Northern Spotted OwlLong known for its old-growth haunts, the spotted owl is quite resilient to forest fires. Check out the new blog by Chief Scientist, Dr. Dominick DellaSala, where he comments about how owls teach us what it means to be a “forest.”

forest health presentation coverForest health is a concept widely used in management of federal lands in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. Geos Institute’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, presents his thoughts on forest health perspectives and consequences. 

Download a PDF of his presentation [6.76MB]

 

The Northwest Forest Plan is considered a global model for ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation on 24.5 million acres of federal lands from California to Washington (mainly west of the crest of the Cascade Mountains). Since the plan’s inception in 1993, forest ecosystems have been recovering from unsustainable logging, streams are improving, and atmospheric carbon is being stored in forests as they mature. This landmark plan is up for renewal in 2017 and a science synthesis is being conducted by the Forest Service as a pre-requisite. Scientists have called on the Forest Service to expand protections afforded to forest ecosystems and imperiled species as a means of preparing for unprecedented climate impacts and ongoing land-use disturbances mainly on nonfederal lands.

Read the scientist comments

 

In comments submitted June 10, 2016 Geos Institute’s Chief Scientist provides analysis of 6 specific pieces of the proposed fire legislation in the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee:

  1. Ecological role of wildland fire in resilient and fire-adapted ecosystems is missing from the draft
  2. Restricts provisions of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) by restricting forest planning to the “no action” vs. “action” alternative and allowing for expansive use of emergency “alternative arrangements” will harm the environment
  3. Allowing for long-term (20-year) federal “hazardous fuel reduction” contracts (d – Long-Term Contracts) in dry mixed conifer and ponderosa pine forests is a disincentive to ecologically based restoration
  4. Not excluding inventoried roadless areas and other ecological important lands recognized in forest plans (e.g., Wilderness Study Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Late-Successional Reserves, “high-value watersheds”) will cause harm to public lands with some of the highest ecological values
  5. Not addressing the risk of human-caused fire ignitions from an extensive and damaging road system on public lands misses an important contributing factor to uncharacteristic fires
  6. Reducing hazardous fuels in the backcountry diverts much needed attention away from homeowner safety

Read the full comments here

Learn about its history and how the spotted owl is doing from a new article “Evidence Of Absence: Northern Spotted Owls Are Still Vanishing From The Northwest” By Sarah Gilman in the Spring 2016 issue of Living Bird Magazine. 

By Dominick DellaSala

(Originally published in the Medford Mail Tribune, April 17, 2016)

This week, more than 193 nations will celebrate Earth Day. The annual event is a marker for the environmental movement begun on April 22, 1970, when Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson organized a peaceful teach-in. At the time, rivers were on fire, oil spills fouled Santa Barbara’s coastline, spaceships were headed to the moon, and the nation was at war.

Rachael Carson warned in the 1960s of a “Silent Spring” caused by toxic pesticides that were bad for songbirds and people. Hydro-fluorocarbons, a byproduct of refrigerants and other uses, were ripping holes in the ozone, triggering skin cancers.

Forests in the Pacific Northwest were being clearcut at an alarming rate of 2 square miles every week, which nearly wiped out the spotted owl and salmon.

Clearly, something had to be done. And, thankfully, millions of Americans demanded that Congress pass new laws to give us a healthy environment.

Over the past four decades, political activism has led to hard-fought gains in civil rights, gender rights, social justice, and environmental policies, from the Clean Air Act to the Northwest Forest Plan.

So, why do we need Earth Day even more now?

For Immediate Release on November 17, 2015

REPORT: INDUSTRIAL FOREST PRACTICES COULD BE OREGON’S SECOND LARGEST SOURCE OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Despite this, the Oregon Global Warming Commission has failed to track and evaluate the timber industry’s emissions and effects on carbon sequestration capacity 

Contacts: Dr. John Talberth, Center for Sustainable Economy: (510) 384-5724, jtalberth@sustainable-economy.org; Dr. Dominick DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 482-4459 x302, dominick@geosinstitute.org

PORTLAND – Clearcutting and use of forest chemicals and fertilizers on industrial forestlands could represent Oregon’s second largest source of global warming pollution and are subverting the State’s climate agenda by making landscapes more susceptible to wildfires, landslides, floods and warm waters that kill salmon. And despite legal requirements to do so, the Oregon Global Warming Commission has failed to track and evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from forest practices or follow through on commitments to develop and promote alternative management techniques that can transform these lands from a net source to a net sink for atmospheric carbon. The key culprit: a flawed international greenhouse gas accounting protocol that lumps all forest owners into one aggregate “forest sector” and allows the timber industry to take credit for carbon sequestered on forests protected by non-profits, small landowners, and public agencies.

pnw redwoods national park in fogReports:

The North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative, California Landscape Cooperative, Geos Institute, Society for Conservation Biology (Humboldt State Chapter), and the Environmental Protection Information Center hosted a workshop and field trip entitled: “Managing Coast Redwoods for Resilience in a Changing Climate,” which took place on September 6 and 7, 2013 at Humboldt State University and Redwood National Park.

For Immediate Release on September 28, 2015

Contacts: Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, Chief Scientist; 541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell);Dominick@geosinstitute.org; Dr. James Karr 360-681-3163; jrkarr@olypen.com; and Dr. Barry R. Noon 970-491-7905; barry.noon@colostate.edu

Ashland, OR – Two decades of monitoring and recent scientific studies show that the integrity of old-growth forests and the viability of salmon and spotted owl populations would be far worse today if not for the Northwest Forest Plan. Published in a special feature on forests and biodiversity in the open access journal Forests, “Building on two decades of ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation under the Northwest Forest Plan, USA” is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the plan’s effectiveness in halting the long-term decline in the region’s federal forests.

For Immediate Release on May 11, 2015

Contact: Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, Chief Scientist; 541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell); Dominick@geosinstitute.org; www.geosinstitute.org

Ashland, OR – Two decades of monitoring and scientific studies have shown that the Northwest Forest Plan is meeting its ecosystem management objectives across nearly 25 million acres of forests from Coast Redwoods to Olympic rainforest as managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service. The Northwest Forest Plan: Still the Best Science of the Day, a report issued by the Ashland-based Geos Institute reviews extensive government monitoring reports and scientific assessments of the Plan’s effectiveness overtime.

According to the report’s author, Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, “the protective elements of the Northwest Forest Plan have been rehabilitating forests that were once a net source of carbon dioxide pollution from logging to forests that are now re-growing and absorbing vast amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. We also have seen marked improvements to drinking water for millions of people, protection of habitat for endangered species, and the beginnings of ecosystem restoration that wouldn’t be possible without the Plan’s protections.”

Executive Summary

Northwest Forest Plan

The 1994 Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) shifted federal lands management from timber dominance to ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation on nearly 25 million acres within the range of the threatened Northern Spotted Owl. Several assessments have demonstrated that the scientific underpinnings of the plan remain sound and that it has met most of its ecosystem management goals, including:

  • Greatly reduced logging of old-growth forests on federal lands;
  • Slowed declines of the Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet that would have been much worse;
  • Provided a “safety net” for rare species outside the reserve network (so called “survey and manage” species);
  • Vastly improved watershed conditions across over two-third of 193 watersheds managed under the Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS);
  • Provided indirect climate benefits in the form of carbon sequestration and carbon storage and high quality water;
  • Provided a “soft landing” for the timber industry as it continues to consolidate and shift toward smaller logs;
  • Decoupled Oregon counties from reliance on uncertain and unsustainable timber receipts; and
  • Sustained quality of life benefits for regional economic diversification.

Logging and post-fire salvage, along with competition from barred owls, still seen as key threats

Staff Report by Summit County Citizens Voice

FRISCO — Dinged by a double whammy of continued habitat loss and interspecies competition, the Pacific Northwest’s northern spotted owl may get even more protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week said it will launch a review to decide if the spotted owl should be reclassified as endangered rather than threatened.

The population of the northern spotted owl is declining across most of the species’ range. The most recent data show a 2.9 percent range-wide population decline per year, although declines as high as 5.9 percent per year have been observed in some areas.

Continue Reading >>

By Dominick A. DellaSala and Jim Furnish for the Medford Mail Tribune Guest Opinion

One of us is a conservation scientist and the other is former deputy chief of the Forest Service and Siuslaw National Forest supervisor. What we share in common is a love for the great outdoors, our families, and having been intimately involved in the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), which in 1994, shifted management of 24 million acres of Forest Service and BLM lands from timber dominance to ecosystem management.

Back when we were launching our careers in the 1980s, majestic old-growth forests from redwoods to Olympic rainforests were being clearcut at about 2 square miles a week. Iconic salmon runs were crashing, bellwether species such as the spotted owl were circling the extinction drain, and the regional economy was on a collision course with nature.

Without the NWFP, older forests, outside of a few parks and wilderness areas, would have been liquidated this decade. Thanks to the NWFP, streams are recovering, deforestation has slowed dramatically on public lands, and the region’s forests are doing their part to stymie global warming by soaking up atmospheric carbon dioxide. In sum, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Ashland, OR – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has determined there is sufficient cause to trigger a 1-year review for up-listing the embattled northern spotted owl from threatened to endangered. Prompted by an up-listing petition filed by the Arcata, CA conservation group, EPIC, the decision by the Fish & Wildlife Service sets in motion a specific process placing response requirements and specific time constraints on the agency for reaching a determination.

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2014

Contacts: Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., 541-482-4459 x302; 541-621-7223 (cell); Olga Krankina, Ph.D., 541-737-1780

Ashland, Oregon – A new analysis from Dr. Olga Krankina, a member of the Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), demonstrates how increases in logging levels on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in western Oregon proposed by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (S. 2734) would lead to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to expanding the Boardman coal-fired power plant in Oregon by 50%, or adding another half million cars to Oregon’s roads, or burning over 6.3 million barrels of oil annually.

Senator Wyden’s legislation covers over 2 million acres of western Oregon’s federal forestlands (often called the “O&C” lands) administered by BLM. If S.2734 is enacted into law, logging would increase by 75-140% above current levels. The O&C lands are currently managed under the region’s Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), which was adopted in 1994. An indirect effect of the NWFP’s logging reductions has been a gradual accumulation of atmospheric carbon by the region’s forests. At present, two-thirds of BLM forestland in the Pacific Northwest are protected, older “high-biomass forests,” a term used by scientists to describe forests that sequester (absorb) and store massive amounts of atmospheric carbon.

Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC.   www.eenews.net   202/628-6500

A bill proposed in Congress that would increase logging activities in Oregon jeopardizes the Pacific Northwest’s forests’ ability to capture and store carbon dioxide, scientists argue in a new study.

by Jim Furnish and Dan Chu

OregonLive

Twenty years ago, the Northwest Forest Plan sought to resolve the timber wars. Has it worked? We think so.

It’s important to recall that gridlock plagued the Northwest during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The old-growth forest that once covered much of the region had been decimated by clearcutting and other logging, threatening the spotted owl and other wildlife. While many stakeholders demanded protections for the remaining forests, the shutdown of logging on federal lands left others facing an uncertain future. Out of this tense situation came the Northwest Forest Plan.

Contacts:
   Dominick A. DellaSala,
Ph.D. Geos Institute, 541-482-4459 x 302
   Patric Brandt, Ph.D. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Garmisch
          Partenkirchen, Germany; Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany;
          +49 4131 677 1571; patricbrandt@gmx.de

Ashland, Oregon and Lüneburg, Germany – Scientists from the Pacific Northwest and Germany released new findings in the journal Biological Conservation documenting linkages between the richness of rainforest plants and wildlife and the provisioning of key ecosystem services in coastal rainforests of North America, particularly those managed under the landmark Northwest Forest Plan.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden pledges to do everything he can to get his proposed timber plan passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama this year. He’s gathered support from key players in both the timber industry and the environmental community, and he’s painting opponents as uncompromising extremists. But, hold-outs on both sides say splitting the baby in half isn’t the wisest choice. Read more

Contacts:         Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D. (541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223)
                         Robert Hughes, Ph.D. (208-354-2632)

Two preeminent scientific societies believe plan increases extinction risks for salmon, other threatened wildlife

Washington, DC —Two international scientific organizations, the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) and the American Fisheries Society (AFS), are questioning the assumptions behind Senator Ron Wyden’s plan to double logging levels on publicly owned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in Western Oregon. In testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the organizations raised serious concerns that the Oregon and California Lands Act of 2013 (S. 1784) abandons science-based management of public lands.

Contact: Dominick DellaSala, Geos Institute, 541/482-4459 x302

Oregon’s O&C BLM lands provide drinking water for over 1.5 million people, contain the region’s last mature and old-growth forests, and provide habitat for endangered wildlife and salmon. These BLM lands are managed under the guidelines of the Northwest Forest Plan, a global model of ecosystem management and conservation on 25 million acres of public lands from northern California to Washington.

Geos Institute stands ready to work with Senator Wyden to find a common sense solution to O&C lands that provides timber and jobs from appropriate thinning of small trees for fuels reduction and restoration purposes in tree plantations. We urge Senator Wyden not to unravel the Northwest Forest Plan to increase clearcut logging for timber volume because hundreds of scientists have supported the plan’s protection of salmon, drinking water, and mature forests.

Shared Responsibility: The Conservation Community’s Recommendations to Equitably Resolve the O&C County Funding Controversy

Reports and Info:

As Oregon county governments receive their last checks from federal taxpayers under the expired county payments program, a coalition of seven local, state, and national conservation organizations has unveiled a balanced strategy to resolve the county funding conundrum.  Given the growing trend in Congress to end Oregon’s county payments program, the groups are promoting a shared responsibility approach, where county governments, the State of Oregon, and the federal government would each take responsibility for resolving a portion of the problem.

Guest Opinion by Bill Bradbury

OregonLive.com        click here 

You don’t have to leave western Oregon to witness the escalating impacts of climate change .

On Mount Hood, river-feeding glaciers thousands of years old have shrunk by as much as 60 percent in the past 100 years.

In the often water-starved Klamath Basin, average summer temperatures are projected to increase by more than 10 degrees by 2075, with surrounding snowpack levels expected to decrease by as much as 90 percent.

In the Columbia River, average August and September water temperatures are already pushing levels that disrupt salmon migration, and they’re projected to rise another 4 degrees by midcentury.

Given those pressing realities, I read with great interest the plan just released by the Obama administration to help America’s wildlife adapt to the rapid habitat changes caused by global warming. Much of the plan’s focus is on plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act . The act, which turns 40 this year, is not without its critics, and I can be frustrated by how long it can take to get protection for critically imperiled species and, once they’re listed, how long it can take to get a recovery plan in place.

Yet, when we use it as intended, the law can have a tremendous impact. More than 90 percent of the species it protects have been saved from extinction, and hundreds are on the road to recovery. Here in Oregon, some of our most cherished species — from coho salmon to gray whales and bald eagles — owe their existence to the Endangered Species Act.

But as we move through the climate-fueled challenges of the 21st century, we’re entering uncharted waters in the battle to preserve the broad diversity of life critical to our planet’s future.

The Obama administration’s new plan includes a series of mitigation measures for wildlife, including protecting corridors that allow animals to move to more suitable habitat as climate change alters ecosystems. It’s an intriguing idea, but will it be enough? Or is it simply an incremental step in a much longer journey we’ve yet to commit to?
We’re entering uncharted waters in the battle to preserve the broad diversity of life critical to our planet’s future.

What “corridor,” for example, can help coho salmon escape the ever more heated Columbia River? And consider the plight of Oregon’s fast-disappearing wolverines. Scientists have known for some time now that wolverines require at least 5 feet of spring snowpack in the high-mountain terrain where they dig protective dens.

So it was hardly surprising that when proposing Endangered Species Act protections for wolverines earlier this year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists cited climate change as the greatest threat to the 300 or so of the solitary predators that remain from Oregon and Washington to the northern Rockies. Unchecked, temperature increases could very likely wipe out wolverines in the Lower 48 before the end of this century.

Yet, just as was the case when polar bears were listed as “threatened” in 2008, federal wildlife managers declared that any protections extended to the wolverine would not include regulation of greenhouse gas pollution — the leading driver of rising global temperatures that are threatening wolverines and degrading the planet we all share. That troubling dichotomy reflects the need for a dramatic change in our current political climate, one in which elected officials can be far too quick to trade critically important long-term conservation and economic benefits for the exaggerated benefits of short-term economic gain.

Whenever we’re ready, even the most challenging policy solutions are within reach. We need only glance back at the confident steps taken to preserve the national bird we now routinely see soaring above the Willamette River for a model of how to move forward. We not only used the Endangered Species Act to protect bald eagles from being killed and captured — much as we’re proposing to do with the wolverine — but we also banned pesticides such as DDT. In the process of protecting the eagle’s habitat, as required by the Endangered Species Act, we cleaned up the waterways critical to our own health and economic stability.

The sooner we realize that protecting our environment and our economy is not an “either-or” proposition, the more quickly we can get down to the work of building a sustainable bridge to the future that’s anchored in the reality of our times.

Only then will we have a real shot at protecting Oregon’s irreplaceable ecosystems, from the high-mountain home of wolverines and our winter sports industries to the rivers critical to the future of our salmon runs, as well as our commercial and recreational fishing interests.

 Bill Bradbury,
 former Oregon Secretary of State, is a member of the NW Power and Conservation Council and is on the board of the Oregon Environmental Council and Geos Institute. 

CONTACT: Randi Spivak, Vice President of Government Affairs, Geos Institute (310) 779-4894

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three proposals to address payments to counties were considered today at a hearing of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, including H.R. ____, “Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act” (Hastings); and H.R. ____, “O&C Trust, Conservation, and Jobs Act” (DeFazio, Walden, Schrader); and H.R. 1294, “Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act of 2013” (Labrador).

All three would effectively privatize federal public forestlands by creating legally binding fiduciary trusts for the sole purpose of providing revenues to counties, resulting in industrialized clearcuts across the landscape. The DeFazio-Walden-Schrader proposal would effectively privatize 1.5 million acres of public forests Western Oregon.

Co-authors of the O&C Trust Conservation and Jobs Act say it will help former timber receipt beneficiaries.

by Paul Fattig, Medford Mail Tribune

A trio of Oregon congressmen expressed optimism over a plan to revamp management of the O&C lands in Western Oregon, following a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Thursday morning.  read more >

Contacts:     Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
                    Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, (541) 488-5789
                    Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, (541) 621-7223

Decision Reverses Controversial Bush Administration Cuts to Habitat 

WASHINGTON — Conservation groups today hailed protection of 9.6 million acres of critical habitat for the threatened northern spotted owl across federal lands in Washington, Oregon and Northern California, but were deeply disappointed by the exclusion of all private and most state lands, resulting in a 4.2 million cut from the proposed designation. The owl has continued to decline since being protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1990, in part because of continued loss of habitat on private and state lands.

Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Oregon — The last building block of the Obama administration’s strategy, to keep the northern spotted owl from extinction, nearly doubles the amount of Northwest national forest land dedicated to protecting the bird by the Bush administration four years ago.

Still, conservation groups that went to court to force the overhaul said key gaps remain, such as an exemption for private forest lands and most state forests.

The full critical habitat plan will not be published until next week, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 9.6 million acres of Oregon, Washington and Northern California will come under its provisions, almost all of it federal lands.

read more>

 

Bill Bradbury figures you don’t have to be a climate-change expert to know which way the wind is blowing. The former Oregon secretary of state, who will discuss “Climate Reality” Thursday evening at Southern Oregon University, said he has seen denial over climate change slowly fade since he began giving talks about it in 2006.

“When I first started giving presentations, it was very normal to have a small group of deniers attending,” said Bradbury, 63. “Now I don’t need to convince anyone that climate change is happening.”   more>

Guest Column by Dominick DellaSala, PhD

The July 26 Oregonian editorial “Logging for spotted owls” dismisses decades of scientific research by touting one new study that suggests “heavy thinning” (aka, clear-cut lite) of forests could benefit spotted owls. Based on a single computer simulation, the new study suggests that intensive logging will magically prevent “catastrophic fires” such as the Biscuit that “wiped out” owls and other wildlife. This is unfounded.

The Biscuit fire did not destroy spotted owl territories, nor did it “consume” half a million acres of forests. More than half of the fire area actually burned with no, low or moderate fire severity, while a third was deliberately torched in what are called back burns set by firefighters trying to “control” the blaze. This fire was weather-driven, not fuel-driven, and occurred during a severe drought with gusting winds that created fire plumes up to 30,000 feet. Thinned areas burned as hot as those not thinned.

Klamath-Siskiyou country is no stranger to large fires. In fact, a Biscuit-like fire burned through the area in the late 1800s, and since then, fires of mixed severities (low, moderate, high) have repeatedly visited the landscape every 15 to 75 years. The renewal of plant communities — many of which are rare and fire-dependent — from repeat fires is part of the region’s globally distinct plant and wildlife richness. Mature evergreen forests with madrone and oak understories also have been shown to burn less severely than open forests, presumably because over time understory trees in these closed-canopy forests shade out flammable shrubs.

Ten years following the Biscuit fire, the landscape is a vibrant snag forest full of wildflowers, conifer seedlings, woodpeckers, songbirds and butterflies that began populating the fire area as the embers cooled (from nature’s rain, not firefighting). It was certainly not an ecological catastrophe. And while the fire influenced owl territories, its patchiness created a beneficial mixture of shrubby owl foraging areas with large dead and live trees left standing for nesting. Such snag forests are richer in plants and wildlife than even old-growth forests, and unlogged areas are rare because salvage logging, the true catastrophe in burned forests, typically damages them.

Decades of research on spotted owls and prey shows that logging is not as short-lived an impact as some might hope. This is because the owls roost and nest in closed-canopy, dense forests and so do many of the species’ prey. Opening up forests may encourage barred owls, a more aggressive competitor of spotted owls, thereby negating efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to contain this invading owl.

We agree with social reasons for thinning forests to reduce fuels, especially near buildings, and ecological reasons in highly flammable tree plantations. A recent report released by conservation groups and forestry experts, in fact, recommended a 44 percent annual increase in log volume as a byproduct of ecologically restorative actions in primarily tree plantations west of the Cascades. Until scientists have more definitive information on thinning effects on owls and prey, land managers would do best to stick with less ecologically risky and more scientifically supportable actions.

Dominick A. DellaSala is chief scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland and was a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spotted owl recovery team (2006-08). Also contributing to this essay: Monica L. Bond, principal scientist of the Wild Nature Institute and a member of the dry forest landscapes work group for the Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan; Dennis Odion, fire ecologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara; Randi Spivak, vice president of government affairs of the Geos Institute.

© 2012 OregonLive.com

Society of Conservation Biology     www.conbio.org

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is strongly considering excluding up to five million acres from its proposal to designate nearly 14 million acres of critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl. Two SCB board members briefed Congressional staff and federal agency officials on why these exclusions would likely set back recovery efforts for the owl.

North America Section President Dominick DellaSala and board member Barry Noon visited Washington, DC  to discuss the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s critical habitat proposal.  In three days of meetings, Dominick and Barry briefed Congressional staff from the House of Representatives and the Senate on portions of the critical habitat proposal  MORE>

Oregon Public Broadcasting  / Earthfix News

The U.S. Forest Service has made forest thinning one of its top priorities, particularly in fire-prone and unhealthy dry forests. But environmental groups say dense Douglas fir plantations on the wet side of the Cascades need to be thinned too. And that could help increase the lumber supply.

On a steep slope in the Siuslaw National Forest, Douglas fir trees are packed in like matchsticks. Dan Segotta, the U.S. Forest Service’s timber operations manager in the Siuslaw, says these woods were clear-cut in 1965, and then densely replanted. 20 years ago, forest managers in the Siuslaw began a thinning experiment on the site. They left this stand alone to serve as an experimental control.  more >

New study finds non-controversial timber volume

Contacts:
Jim Furnish: (240) 271-1650
Marc Barnes: (541) 609-0322
Andy Kerr: (503) 701-6298

Portland, Oregon—A new report by conservation organizations finds that logging volume on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest can increase substantially over the next two decades without controversy if carried out with specific ecological criteria.

The report, titled Ecologically Appropriate Restoration Thinning in the Northwest Forest Plan Area, finds that annual federal timber volume could increase 44% over what has been produced on average in the last 15 years while maintaining the clean water and wildlife protections of the Northwest Forest Plan. Under a program of science-based and ecologically appropriate thinning of mostly small diameter trees in degraded forests, BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands could produce 774 million board feet (mmbf) annually, compared to an average of 537 mmbf than has been produced since the Northwest Forest Plan was put into place (1995-2010).

by Amelia Templeton, Oregon Public Broadcasting

EUGENE — A coalition of environmental groups has released a report on the potential for restoration thinning in overcrowded northwest forests. The groups say thinning alone could generate a steady supply of timber for 20 years and allow federal forests to increase logging yields.

Four Northwest environmental groups commissioned the study: Conservation Northwest, The Geos Institute, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild.

The groups say they wanted to put a number on how much non-controversial logging could take place on the federal forests in the range of the spotted owl. The bird is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The report examines the potential for thinning out young Douglas fir plantations and other types of young dense stands on 17 national forests and on a handful of Bureau of Land Management forest lands in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.  read more>

229 SCIENTISTS DECLARE SUPPORT FOR NORTHWEST FOREST PLAN

                                                                                            click here to see the scientists’ letter

 

Contacts:

   Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., Geos Institute, Chief Scientist (541-621-7223)

   Jim Karr, Ph.D., University of Washington, Professor Emeritus (360-681-3163)


Ashland, OR
– Today 229 scientists called on the Forest Service to uphold the protections afforded hundreds of species, clean water, and salmon, which were established under the landmark Northwest Forest Plan in 1994. While still in formal environmental review, the Forest Service is proposing a plan revision on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington that includes undoing protective reserves and weakening the Aquatic Conservation Strategy of the plan. Citing “new science” and climate change concerns, the agency proposes moving to “whole-landscape level management,” where protective reserves are eliminated and mandatory stream protections become discretionary1. This is the first forest plan revision to pose such radical shifts in the protective elements of the Northwest Forest Plan.

KBOO Radio interview by Barbara Bernstein on her weekly Locus Focus program

Three members of Oregon’s congressional delegation (Peter De Fazio, Kurt Schraer and Greg Walden) are proposing legislation that would create a timber trust on two thirds of the O&C lands’ 2.6 million acres, managed for the sole purpose of maximizing revenues from logging for the benefit of the 18 O&C counties in Western Oregon.  In this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Randi Spivak, Vice President of Government Affairs with the Geos Institute in Ashland, about why Oregon’s conservation movement is not pleased with this proposed legislation and what are some alternative solutions to the O&C counties’ fiscal crisis.  Click here for the audio file and more >

 

The imperiled northern spotted owl faces extinction if efforts enacted to save it continue to put politics ahead of science.

The Scientist, Magazine of Life Sciences

By Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D.

No other species symbolizes the “war-in-the woods” over logging vs. forest protections better than the northern spotted owl. The owl was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1990 due to destruction of its forest habitat by logging. Unchecked logging at the time, as well as ongoing mechanization of mills that accelerated the speed at which trees could be processed by fewer workers, would have soon eliminated nearly all older forests along with forestry jobs. Historic logging levels also would have severely impacted the owl population, possibly eliminating it altogether, throughout most of its range.  MORE>

As one encroaches more and more on the habitat of the other, scientists and federal officials consider multiple alternatives.

by Paul Fattig, Medford Mail Tribune

Wildlife biologist Paul Henson acknowledges the prospect of killing even one barred owl doesn’t sit well with him. “I’m a bird person — to be put in a position to have to shoot one charismatic and beautiful bird to save another charismatic and beautiful bird is very difficult,” said Henson, who heads the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s northern spotted owl recovery program in Oregon. “But the alternative is letting the spotted owl go extinct,” he said of what amounts to a Sophie’s choice.     read more>

by Erik Stokstad, ScienceInsider

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today formally proposed several actions, some of them controversial, to aid the iconic northern spotted owl, an endangered species in the Pacific Northwest whose population continues to shrink. The proposals include designating more critical habitat, encouraging logging to prevent forest fires, and an experiment to shoot a competing owl species.   read more>

By Paul Fattig, Medford Mail Tribune

The Ashland-based Geos Institute and the Conservation Biology Institute in Corvallis are teaming up to create an online center to track deforestation around the world. Known as the Global Forest Information Center, it will be on the Internet in a data-sharing system known as Data Basin — databasin.org.

The conservation institutes recently received a $50,000 grant from a private foundation to start building the cyberspace center, initially focusing on intact forests in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. The information, including maps, is expected to be available to policy makers, land managers and the public beginning this fall.   read more >

Oregon Wild Takes Legal Action for Coho Salmon

KOBI Ch. 5 TV (Medford, OR) news story by Travis Koch

To see the TV news commentary by Brian Barr, coordinator of the Freeways for Fish Program at Geos Institute … click here and then click on the center of the video image.

By Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Back in the 1980s, when conservation advocates were trying to stop logging in old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, they relied on a 1982 regulation that required the National Forest Service to protect wildlife such as the spotted owl throughout its range. They won, and a new Northwest forest plan in 1990 greatly reduced logging in the region’s old-growth forests on federal land.   Read more>

By Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian
and Charles Pope

A coalition of environmental groups, hoping to head off congressional action they believe would increase unsustainable logging, propose a three-prong approach for replacing federal forest payments to hard-hit Oregon counties. Read more…

Contact:
Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild: 503.283.6343 ext 212
Randi Spivak, Geos Institute: 310.779.4894

Local, state, and national groups unveil plan to replace federal subsidies without resorting to clear-cutting public lands

Eugene, OR — As Oregon county governments receive their last checks from federal taxpayers under the expired county payments program, a coalition of six local, state, and national conservation organizations today unveiled a balanced, three-pronged strategy to solve the looming county funding crunch. With uncertainty around Congress extending this important program, the groups are promoting a shared responsibility approach, where county governments, the State of Oregon, and the federal government would each take responsibility for resolving a portion of the problem. 

From KTVZ.COM News Sources

EUGENE, Ore. — As Oregon county governments receive their last checks from federal taxpayers under the expired county payments program, a coalition of six local, state and national conservation organizations unveiled Wednesday what they called “a balanced, three-pronged strategy to solve the looming county funding crunch.” Oregon lawmakers, however, said their proposal wouldn’t work. Read more…

The Washington Post
By Juliet Eilperin

The Obama administration finalized a rule Thursday governing the management of 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands, establishing a new blueprint to guide everything from logging to recreation and renewable energy development. Read more...

By JEFF BELL, Victoria Times Colonist

B.C. scientists are among more than 133 experts from across North America joining the call for permanent protection of old-growth rainforests in Clayoquot Sound.  All have signed a declaration supporting the measure, which stands against a recent application to the provincial government by the logging company Iisaak to cut old-growth areas on the sound’s Flores Island.  read more >

Effort to save northern spotted owl helped preserve old-growth forests but now the owl faces a new threat

By Francesca Lyman
Special to The Bee
Published: Sunday, Sep. 18, 2011

It’s a warm sunny day in early August and wildlife biologist Eric Forsman heads up to the Willamette National Forest in Oregon’s Cascades mountains to climb trees. In this land of 200-foot Douglas firs, Forsman will hoist himself up in a harness to check the nests of red tree-voles, a staple of the northern spotted owl’s diet.  Read more…

‘Their ideas don’t match up with forests that were there’

August 02, 2011
By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune

A University of Wyoming professor is challenging the assumptions of two leading Pacific Northwest forestry professors spearheading a pilot project on public forestlands in the Applegate Valley.  Read more…

July 01, 2011
By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune

Southern Oregon environmental and timber industry representatives were lukewarm to a northern spotted owl plan released Thursday.  Read more…

Conservation groups, logging industry critical of draft as Friday deadline nears

The Bulletin
By Jeff Barnard / The Associated Press

GRANTS PASS — After months of tinkering, the Obama administration is due out this week with its last-ditch plan for saving the northern spotted owl from extinction.  Read more…

The Seattle Times
By JEFF BARNARD
AP Environmental Writer

GRANTS PASS, Ore. —
After months of tinkering, the Obama administration is due out this week with its last-ditch plan for saving the northern spotted owl from extinction.  Read more…

Public News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Details, details, details. More than 400 scientists and about 300,000 lay people from across the country are asking for more “details” in the National Forest Management Act. The public comment period ended Monday, and New Mexico Congressman Martin Heinrich is echoing the call for specifics. He says the act gets praise for much of its content, but that wildlife and water decision-making guidelines in the plan are vague, rather than tied to the best available science.  Read More…

LA Times Greenspace Blog

What would be the first major overhaul since the Reagan administration of rules for planning the nation’s 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands is entering the homestretch — comments are now in, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is promising a final rule by the end of the year.  Read more…

The Washington Post
By Associated Press,
Published: May 16, 2011

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Obama administration’s proposed new rules for protecting clean water and wildlife on the United States’ nearly 200 million acres of national forests goes against the president’s pledge to let science be the guide, conservation groups and two former Clinton administration officials said Monday.  Read more…

April 26, 2011
By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune

The life and times of the northern spotted owl are now available in a computerized model.

Dubbed Appendix C, the 81-page document released Friday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assesses the owl’s habitat and the effectiveness of various conservation measures.  Read more…

The Denver Post
By Barry R. Noon and Dominick A. DellaSala

Recognizing the need for a 21st century vision, the Obama Administration recently announced a planning rule that would govern management of the 193-million acre National Forest System. The goal of the planning rule is to maintain and restore forests and watersheds-objectives particularly important to Coloradans who will increasingly depend on the many benefits coming from these forests to prepare for impending water scarcity and climate change.  Read more…

March 08, 2011
The Mail Tribune
By Dominick A. DellaSala
and Randi Spivak

Recognizing the need for a 21st-century vision, the Obama administration recently announced a sweeping planning rule for the 193-million-acre national forest system. The rule will govern management of the national forests with the goal of maintaining and restoring forests and watersheds that Oregonians will increasingly depend on for climate change insurance.  Read more…

Scientists predict that lodgepole pine — one of the most common trees at higher elevations in the Cascades and Rockies — will be largely gone from the Northwest by 2080 because of the warming climate.

Published: Monday, February 28, 2011
By Jeff Barnard
The Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Scientists predict that lodgepole pine — one of the most common trees at higher elevations in the Cascades and Rockies — will be largely gone from the Northwest by 2080 because of the warming climate.  Read more…

The Oregonian
Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 1:34 PM
By Dominick DellaSala and Randi Spivak

Recognizing the need for a 21st-century vision, the Obama administration recently announced a sweeping planning rule for the 193 million acre national forest system. The rule will govern management of the national forests with the goal of maintaining and restoring forests and watersheds that Oregonians will increasingly depend on for climate change insurance.  Read more…

February 14, 2011
The Daily Courier
By Jeff Barnard AP Environmental Writer

More than 20 years of logging cutbacks on national forests across the Northwest have yet to show much benefit for the northern spotted owl, leading to what many believe will be a double-barreled effort that includes locking up more acreage and purging thousands of a newcomer to the threatened species’ survival. 

Published: Friday, February 11, 2011, 3:57 PM       
By Eric Mortenson, The Oregonian

The U.S. Forest Service believes proposed revisions to its forest planning rule will accelerate timber sales and provide rural jobs while protecting watersheds, wildlife and quiet spaces for recreation.  Read more…

E&E Publishing
Thursday, December 23, 2010
By Eryn Gable, special to E&E

Spotted owl experts say the Obama administration’s latest draft recovery plan for the embattled Pacific Northwest raptor contains substantial flaws, including provisions to extensively log owl habitat to reduce fire risks — an approach they say is not backed by science and could reduce the owl’s chances of recovery.  Read more…

Valley Morning Star
December 19, 2010 6:35 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) _ The Obama administration’s plan for saving spotted owls isn’t much better than the one proposed by his predecessor, experts on the threatened bird said. Read more…

The World
Posted: Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:00 am
By Jeff Barnard, AP Environmental Writer

The Obama administration’s plan for saving spotted owls isn’t much better than the one proposed by his predecessor, experts on the threatened bird said.  Read more…

October 25, 2010
By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune

ASHLAND — What’s in a name? Plenty, if you are affiliated with the National Center for Conservation Science & Policy based in Ashland.  Read more…

The Obama administration has pushed aside a weak Bush-era protection plan. But the owl is in precarious condition.
Crosscut
September 20, 2010
By Daniel Jack Chasan

Is the Obama administration taking a step forward, merely sideways, or — as some environmentalists hope — back to the future on the Northern Spotted Owl? On Sept. 8, the administration issued a brand new draft recovery plan for the owl.  Read more…

The draft, replacing a halted Bush administration recovery effort, invites the help of private landowners

BY SUSAN PALMER
The Register-Guard
Appeared in print: Friday, Sep 10, 2010

Federal officials have unveiled another recovery plan for the northern spotted owl, one that invites private landowners to help protect the bird and uses new mapping and modeling to identify the best habitat for the owl.  Read more…

For fun and profit
Forest jobs are disappearing, too. Perhaps strategic alliances with tree-huggers can help
The Economist
Aug 26th 2010

AMERICA’S most sparsely populated states were among its more resilient during the recession. Before the downturn, places like Montana and North Dakota poked along with slow growth and greying populations. When the wheels came off the national economy, they began to move up the rankings. They were doing well from commodities, had never known housing bubbles and were not especially vulnerable to the financial sector’s troubles. In 2008 Montana’s growth rate was the highest in the country.  Read more…

By Chris Rizo
Ashland Daily Tidings

After more than a decade of government protection, the northern spotted owl continues on a downward trajectory, raising the specter of the dark-brown, winged species being listed as endangered.  Read more…

Geos Institute staff brings credible science to public policy debates on a range of natural resource topics through their testimony before House and Senate committees.

Scientific publications authored or edited by Geos Institute staff.

Scientific publications authored or edited by Geos Institute staff.

  • Terrestrial habitats (2005, In: Amphibians of the Pacific northwest, Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, WA)
  • Siskiyou Mountains salamander: Plethodon stormi Highton and Brame (2005, In: Amphibians of the Pacific northwest, Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle WA)
  • Scott Bar salamander: Plethodon asupak Mead (2005, In: Amphibians of the Pacific northwest, Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle WA)
  • Surveys for terrestrial amphibians in Shasta County, California, with notes on the distribution of Shasta salamanders (Hydromantes shastae)(2004; Northwest Naturalist 85: 35-38)

Scientific publications authored or edited by Geos Institute staff.

Scientific publications authored or edited by Geos Institute staff.

Published: July 23, 2010 in the Oregonian
By Randi Spivak and Tom Power

It’s time for a 21st century dialogue about Oregon’s federal forests that recognizes they are greater than the sum of their parts. Debates over logging vs. spotted owls are narrow, polarizing and obsolete. Read more…

 

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