Biscuit Fire Project Continues to Raise Questions about Post-Fire Logging
February 7, 2006
The Biscuit Fire logging project is continuing to generate controversy across the nation as it shines a spotlight on the Bush administration's destructive logging policies. Following the publication of an Oregon State University study that questioned the benefits of post-fire logging in the treasured Siskiyou National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management decided to suspend the University's funding for the research until further notice. Although the BLM claimed that its decision was not political, the incident bears striking resemblance to other tales of the Bush administration's attempt to suppress scientific data. Now Representative Jay Inslee has called for a federal investigation of the BLM's decision. See below for more history on the Biscuit Fire project and check back for more news on this developing story!
January 19, 2006
The Eugene Weekly has published an interview with the lead forester of the Biscuit logging project, Rich Fairbanks. In the insightful interview, Fairbanks discusses the politics behind the decision to log old growth areas of the Siskiyou National Forest after the 2002 Biscuit Fire. The interview—with lessons about all logging projects—comes on the heels of a scientific study titled, "Post-Wildfire Logging Hinders Regeneration and Increases Fire Risk." You can find a link to the article below.
January 5, 2006
A new study from researchers at Oregon State University confirms what environmentalists have been saying all along: salvage logging is bad for forests, and causes more harm than good. Using the "Biscuit Fire" as an iconic example, the scientists concluded that contrary to industry claims, logging in the wake of fires can actually prevent forest regeneration by destroying seedlings. The report also documents a significant increase in fire risk and fuel sources in logged areas.
Although we ultimately lost our lawsuit to prevent post-fire old growth logging in this treasured place, the new study provides key scientific evidence that will help protect other precious forests throughout the country from the Bush administration's destructive logging policies. Below you can find an executive summary of the new report and read local media coverage on this hot issue.
September 9, 2004
On September 7, 2004, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction against logging of certain old growth forests as part of the Bush administration’s "Biscuit" salvage logging project in the Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon, one of America’s wildest, most pristine places. The injunction was in response to a lawsuit filed by Sierra Club and other conservation organizations.
The ‘Biscuit Fire Recovery Project’ is one of the largest and most destructive logging projects in the history of the Forest Service. A logging project of this size will cause irreparable harm to old growth forests, roadless areas, wild salmon and clean water while diverting federal resources away from real community protection. It is a classic example of a Bush administration logging project that rewards timber industry allies and contributors instead of protecting communities from the threat of wildfires.
August 1, 2004
The Siskiyou Wild Rivers area in Oregon and northern California is one of the most spectacular and ecologically important wild landscapes in the nation. The rugged and remote area is characterized by rushing rivers, steep river canyons, and ancient forests, and supports a large number of endangered wildlife species and a community of 131 rare plants that are found nowhere else in the world. In the summer of 2002, the area experienced one of the largest forest fires in recent history, but luckily the fire burned mostly in the backcountry and away from homes. Now the Bush administration is proposing one of the largest logging operations in the history of the Forest Service in this unique and sensitive area. The project would log hundreds of millions of board feet of timber, enough to fill logging trucks lined up end-to-end from the Canadian border to the Baja Peninsula. Sierra Club has filed suit to stop this extreme proposal and the Bush administration’s destructive logging policies.
Details and Documents:
In Fire's Wake, Logging Study Inflames Debate; University Study Challenges Cutting Of Burnt Timber
February 27, 2006, by Blaine Harden, in Washington Post
Congressman calls for investigation of BLM funding cut-off
February 7, 2006, by Jeff Barnard, Associated Press, in Seattle Post-Intelligencer
U.S. funds for logging study suspended
February 7, 2006, by Jeff Barnard, Associated Press, in Seattle Times
Interview with Rich Fairbanks: Former Forest Service team leader, Biscuit salvage plan
January 19, 2006, by Kera Abraham, Eugene Weekly
Executive Summary: Post-Wildfire Logging Hinders Regeneration and Increases Fire Risk
January 5, 2006, by D.C. Donato et al., Science Express
The Forest Recovery Controversy
January 30, 2006, Editorial, Oregonian
Taxpayers pay to line some pockets; Latest timber sale arguments border on the absurd
January 24, 2006, Editorial, Daily Astorian
Commentary: Post-fire logging, forest recovery, and hazardous fuel reduction
January 23, 2006, by Tom Powers, Montana Public Radio
Article sparks scholastic spat
January 22, 2006, by Michael Milstein, Oregonian
Walden Bill Gets Burned
January 12, 2006, Editorial, The Source Weekly
Biscuit timber salvage loses money
January 11, 2006, by Paul Fattig, Mail Tribune
Felling salvage myths
January 7, 2006, Editorial, The Register-Guard
Scorched forests best left alone, study finds
January 6, 2006, by Michael Milstein, Oregonian
Study: Logging after fire kills seedlings, increases fire danger
January 6, 2006, by Jeff Barnard, AP Environmental Writer Casper Star Tribune
Study: Salvage Logging Boosts Forest-Fire Threat (audio story)
January 5, 2006, by John Nielsen, NPR's All Things Considered
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.