Help Defend Big Trees and Old Forests

Comments are due October 13th– please comment now!

Tell the Forest Service: do not eliminate protections for large trees on public lands in eastern Oregon. Mature and old growth forests need more protection, not more logging. 

10/13/2020 is the last day to help defend large trees and old forests from the Forest Service’s proposal to gut protections for large trees! Please submit a comment (even a brief comment is helpful!) Unfortunately, the Forest Service comment portal has be crashing. If the portal does not work, you can email your comments to: SM.FS.EScreens21@usda.gov

Otherwise, you can submit comments electronically at: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=58050. Comments may also be sent via e-mail to SM.FS.EScreens21@usda.gov. Hardcopy letters should be sent to: Shane Jeffries, Forest Supervisor, Ochoco National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 3160 NE Third Street, Prineville, OR 97754.

Under pressure from the Trump administration to increase logging, the Forest Service is proposing to gut protections for large trees on approximately 9.5 million acres across several National Forests in eastern Oregon.

The Forest Service’s proposal to roll back protections and dramatically increase logging of large trees directly threatens biodiversity and wildlife habitats, and would increase carbon emissions and exacerbate the negative ecological impacts of climate change.

The Forest Service is pushing this timber grab through on an unusually tight timeline, during multiple national crises. While most people are struggling to stay safe and many are worried about where their next paycheck is coming from, the Forest Service is fast-tracking this proposal which would jeopardize old and mature forests across millions of acres of public lands.

Currently, the Forest Plans that guide management on these National Forests prohibits most logging of large trees (those ≥21” diameter at breast height (dbh)). This prohibition on logging large trees– known as the 21” Eastside Screens or the “Wildlife Screens” was put into place in the mid-1990’s because of the well-documented deficit of large trees across the landscape due to logging and mismanagement.

Now, the Forest Service is proposing to eliminate or severely weaken the 21” Wildlife Screens on six National Forests: the Deschutes, Ochoco, Malheur, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Fremont-Winema National Forests.

Tell the Forest Service: Large trees are biological legacies that are crucial for wildlife and ecological integrity— they need protection, not logging!

Tell the Forest Service: We need to increase carbon sequestration and retain large trees and mature forests, which store the most carbon. The Forest Service’s proposal to increase logging of large trees is the wrong direction for forests, wildlife, and people.

Tell the Forest Service: Large blocks of core habitat and wildlife connectivity corridors need to be protected from logging and ecological degradation. Increasing logging of large trees will degrade high-quality wildlife habitats, and make it harder for wildlife to adapt to or survive climate change. 

Tell the Forest Service: The agency needs to withdraw this ecologically destructive proposal, and instead develop a holistic and comprehensive plan that addresses issues such as ameliorating climate change and its ecological effects; ensuring robust wildlife populations and the recovery of imperiled species; preserving clean water; and providing quiet recreational opportunities.

Please speak up to defend large trees, wildlife habitat, and mature and old growth forests!

To see the full Action Alert, with more detail and additional talking points, please click here.

Comments are due by October 13th. You can submit comments electronically at: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=58050. Comments may also be sent via e-mail to SM.FS.EScreens21@usda.gov. Hardcopy letters should be sent to: Shane Jeffries, Forest Supervisor, Ochoco National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 3160 NE Third Street, Prineville, OR 97754.

Even brief comments are important! You can copy or paste from the talking points above, or use it as inspiration for writing your own. Personalizing your comments helps to ensure they are counted as unique. If you’ve spent time in any of the National Forests which would be affected by the proposed changes, please mention this in your comments. 

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project is working with Greater Hells Canyon Council, Oregon Wild, Central Oregon Landwatch, Earthrise Law Center, and other allies to ensure we mount a strong challenge to the Forest Service’s attempt to gut protections for large trees. A helpful resource from our allies at Oregon Wild is their blog on the 21″ Screens, which includes some history on the screens. Thanks to all of these groups and everyone working hard to protect amazing forests and wildlands!

Thank you for commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: