Forest Service takes key step toward 1st national rule to protect mature, old-growth trees, forests

Announcement advances Biden’s 2022 Earth Day Executive Order

Man gazing up at tall, old, trees.
The 42 Divide logging sale in the Roseburg, Oregon Bureau of Land Management district. Photo Credit: Hanna Anderson

WASHINGTON, DC – According to reports, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday a pathway for protecting mature and old-growth trees and forests as part of a strategy to improve the climate resilience of federally managed forests. The agency is pursuing a rulemaking process, which will involve a public comment period to gather input on new policies the agency can adopt.

Members of the Climate Forests Campaign, a coalition of more than 120 organizations working to protect mature and old-growth trees and forests on federal land, praised these announcements as a significant step forward.

Additionally as reported by the Washington Post, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management released an inventory of mature and old-growth forests, the first of its kind, as required by President Biden’s Executive Order, 14072. Mature and old-growth forests are essential for watershed health, provide critical wildlife habitat, are generally more resilient to wildfire and are an important natural climate solution, absorbing and storing tons of carbon.

The coalition has been elevating calls from community members, scientists and activists around the country about the necessity of protecting these trees and forests, including from the ongoing threat of logging.

The coalition highlighted the threat to mature and old-growth forests and trees in two reports, citing 22 logging projects on Forest Service and BLM-managed forests. The Forest Service has withdrawn one of those projects, the Flat Country project in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon.

Read the full report

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