Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
It’s official: the Biden administration has announced it will end large-scale logging in the Tongass National Forest and restore the “roadless rule” that was previously rolled back under Trump. The administration says it will focus its efforts in the Tongass on forest restoration, recreation, and other non-commercial ventures. Officials are now celebrating the return of stability and safety for 9.3 million acres of the old-growth rainforest, often called America’s Amazon.
In addition to its value as a weapon against climate change, the forest serves as a crucial tourism, food, spiritual, and cultural resource for local Indigenous communities, which have been at the forefront of the fight to protect the Tongass. Now official, these protections will benefit the entire American public and usher the Biden administration one step closer to protecting 30% of all public lands by 2030.
Tree Politics: The Biden administration’s new round of Tongass protections are the strongest ever issued by a sitting president.
In addition to banning large-scale logging, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the new proposal would designate $25 million for community development.
Environmental groups say that the plan is a significant step in the right direction. “Alaskans love their old-growth forests, and the timber industry in Southeast (Alaska) is now a relic of the past,″ said Andy Moderow of the Alaska Wilderness League. “The Tongass is an unmatched treasure, and with smart action now, we can properly manage it for future generations.”
Still, some Alaska officials disagree. “We need to end this ‘yo-yo effect’ as the lives of Alaskans who live and work in the Tongass are upended every time we have a new president,″ said Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. “This has to end.” She and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy supported the Trump administration’s rollback of the roadless rule. Tim O’Connor, the mayor of Craig, a town on Prince of Wales Island, said that without roads and infrastructure in the Tongass, local economies would be denied access to valuable resources like gold and rare-earth metals.
Nonetheless, Indigenous communities are welcoming the new protections. “Logging was a good thing, but it’s way out of balance,” said Millie Schoonover, a member of both the Craig Tribal Council and the Craig City Council. However, she says there’s always more to be done and is calling on the administration not only to protect the forest, but the salmon, deer, and other wildlife that rely on and thrive in the Tongass ecosystem.
Many European cities are known for their impressive walls, but Madrid is taking siege protection to the next level. The city has embarked on a project to build a 75-kilometer urban forest surrounding the city, planting one million new indigenous trees. Madrid’s councilor for the environment and urban development, Mariano Fuentes, says the project will “improve the air quality in the […]
The Amazon River Basin is home to our planet’s largest rainforest: roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States and covers about 40% of the South American continent. While this vast forest has traditionally been a carbon sink, for years scientists have feared that the Amazon could turn into a carbon source instead. A […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Unprecedented wildfires should cause alarm everywhere, but the fires are burning up more than trees for some communities. They’re burning up a way of life. Each year, National Forests are closing earlier and earlier in the season, leaving communities that rely on tourism and the draw of nature high and dry. […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.