Sierra Nevada Forests and Threatened Wildlife Gain Protection from Bush Admin Logging Plans
May 14, 2008
On May 14, 2008 the Sierra Club succeeded in putting a stop to the Bush administration’s plans to allow intensive logging in the scenic Sierra Nevada forests of California. A victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will protect large swaths of forests that are habitat for a diverse array of threatened wildlife. The Forest Service attempted to justify their plans to open up sensitive tracts to loggers by saying that the sale of timber is necessary to raise money for fire prevention. However, the Court saw through this rationale, vindicating the position of the Sierra Club and other groups that the Forest Service neglected to consider available alternatives. The fallacy of the Forest Service's approach is is backed up by the science. "Logging large trees away from populated areas does not address the real fire risk presented by more flammable understory growth near the forest floor," said Dr. Phil Rundel, Distinguished Professor of Biology at UCLA. "Fire scientists widely agree that logging can actually increase wildfire threats by eliminating large, fire-resistant trees and encouraging understory thickets that can ignite and spread wildfire into residential areas." Judge Noonan lists a number of means by which the Forest Service could obtain funding for fire management, other than by auctioning off the very forests that they are responsible for preserving.
The Sierra Club, along with the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, and Sierra Forest Legacy filed for an injunction to stop this project in September, 2007. This action came in response to the Forest Service’s announcement that it intended to advertise and award logging contracts for sites throughout the Sierra Nevada region. In October 2007, a California district court denied the Club’s motion; however, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling reverses the district court’s decision, and succeeds in preserving forest habitat that is critical to the survival of a number of already threatened animals and birds.
Details and Documents:
Court blocks Bush's plan for logging in Sierra
May 15, 2008 by Bob Elgelko, The San Francisco Chronicle
US judges order to stop California logging projects
May 15, 2008 by McClatchy Newspapers, The Guardian
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.