Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't Clearcut Oregon's Forests

As a child growing up in rural Oregon, I spent countless hours enjoying all of the outdoor splendor of my home state's wildlands. Hiking and camping with my family, I enjoyed being out amidst Oregon's towering old-growth trees. To this day, I marvel at trees that have stood in Oregon's forest for hundreds of years.
The trees in Oregon's forests are a national treasure in my mind. That's why I'm so upset at a Bush-era plan to open more than 2.5 million acres of public forest land in Oregon up to logging.
It all stems from a Bush Administration agreement with big timber called the Western Oregon Plan Revision (or WOPR). In 2007, Bush released a draft of this plan -- and 27,000 people commented, demanding that the Bureau of Land Management act to save the forests. But the BLM ignored their pleas.
The Sierra Club Oregon's website lists what will happen to western Oregon's forests during the first decade if the WOPR isn't stopped. They say the WOPR will:
1. Remove BLM forests from the scientific framework of the Northwest Forest Plan.2. Ramp up clearcut logging across hundreds of thousands of acres and get over 70% of the timber volume from clearcuts.3. Reduce streamside buffers that protect clean water and fish by 50%.4. Log some of the last remaining older forests in western Oregon.5. Increase logging by nearly 400% compared to current logging levels.6. Add 180 million tons more carbon to the atmosphere compared to no logging (equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 1 million cars driven for 132 years).7. Result in 1,300 miles of new logging roads.
The Wilderness Society is leading the charge, asking Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to stop this plan. In a blog post on their site, the Wilderness Society writes: "The fate of over 2.5 million acres of forest, which is home to over 1,000 different wildlife species, now lies in the hands of the Obama Administration. President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have pledged to restore scientific integrity and ethical responsibility to public lands management. To live up to their pledge, the administration should act based on science, law and the interests of the American people and withdraw Bush’s WOPR."
I couldn't agree more. If you've ever visited Oregon's forests, you know just how majestic they are. If you haven't, you're really missing out on an amazing display of our natural world. Either way, please join me in urging Secretary Salazar to stop the plan to clearcut Oregon's forests.
posted by: LiAnna D.

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