Sierra Club Statement on Nationwide Amendment to All Federal Forest Plans

New Protections Advance Biden Commitment to Preserve Old-Growth, Mature Trees

Ian Brickey,

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States Forest Service is expected to announce a Notice of Intent to create a nationwide amendment to all Forest Plans centering protection of remaining old-growth trees. 

The amendment would be an important step towards fulfilling President Biden’s Executive Order 14072, which committed the United States to “identify, inventory, and protect” old-growth forests on federal lands. 

Only a fraction of the old growth forests in the U.S. are still standing. In the Pacific Northwest alone, barely one-quarter of old growth conifers remain. In recent years, science has confirmed the unparalleled ability of mature and old growth trees to absorb and store carbon pollution. The latest studies show that trees’ carbon-absorbing abilities generally increase as they age. 

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous released the following statement:

“From our earliest ages, we see trees as protectors of the environment and a symbol of our natural world. But they are so much more – especially old-growth trees. From the clean air and water they provide to the carbon they store, old-growth trees are some of the most valuable resources we have for taking on climate change and safeguarding thriving ecosystems. And with only a fraction in the United States still standing, it’s vital that we preserve those trees and forests across the country. This proposed amendment makes it clear the Biden Administration recognizes that.

“This is a groundbreaking step towards fulfilling President Biden’s promise to protect our old-growth trees and mature forests, and we need to make sure it’s not the last. We need to keep our old growth trees standing, protect our mature forests from threats, and finally shift our treatment of national forests from timber resources ripe for extraction to natural wonders worthy of preservation. It’s a bold vision, but today has shown that President Biden is up to the task.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit