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The timber industry and Alaskan government officials, including Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), say that developing the forest is imperative to growing the state’s economy and claim that only one percent of the forest would be impacted by the rule reversal. However, advocacy group Earthjustice has revealed that the Trump administration has worked with the State of Alaska as well as the logging industry to make it easier for old-growth forests to be logged. Environmentalists have cause for concern that opening pristine forest for logging development will harm precious ecosystems and sacred Indigenous land.
The Logging Interest: This battle has been raging for years now; the administration has been met with resistance not only by green groups but by Indigenous people as well. The forest holds deep cultural importance to the Tlingit, whose members traveled to Washington, DC last year to speak out against the push to eliminate the “Roadless Rule.” As part of a delegation sponsored by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), the members told Congress, “If you destroy the Tongass Forest, if you destroy the ecosystem, the salmon, the rivers, the trees, you also are committing cultural genocide against indigenous people because they are the land the land is them.” The Tlingit are not the only Indigenous people opposed to the development of the Tongass; in July, nine Alaskan tribes submitted a petition calling on the USDA to stop the rolling back of protections for the old-growth forest.
The logging of the Tongass forest would become part of a global loss in old-growth forests and carbon sinks. In the past 20 years, logging has removed over 800 million acres of forest, an area more than 47 times the size of the Tongass. Kim Heacox, an author, novelist, and photographer who has lived in Alaska for 40 years says, “Cutting down the Tongass, one of the best carbon sequestration forests in America, would be a crime.”
by Ashira Morris From fishery management to forest protection, the environmentalist vs. industry frame is often a roadblock to sustainable practices. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Canada, environmentalists, logging companies, and First Nations people came together to create a management plan for the Great Bear Rainforest. This stretch of the British […]
If you’ve ever noticed that there’s something off about the timing and duration of fall foliage where you live–you’re not imagining things! As with many ecological processes, human activity is shifting the arrival of our seasons through what’s described as “season creep.“ As the Washington Post wrote this past weekend: “Human activities transform not just […]
Back in January, President Trump said the U.S. would join the World Economic Forum’s “Trillion Trees” Initiative — but in the 9 months since then we have heard little of it. Today, the President signed an Executive Order saying that “given the expansive footprint of our Federal forests and woodlands, this order initiates the formation […]
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