Act for our forests
On Earth Day this year, President Joe Biden announced supreme command Directing the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Home Affairs to conduct an inventory of old growth and old growth forests on federal lands. This inventory would be used to inform future policies to protect these forests. To demonstrate support for increased protection of old growth, Environment America launched our Let trees grow action series to raise awareness of their environmental achievements and to advocate for lasting policies that protect our most precious trees and forests from deforestation.
Old-growth and mature forests, composed of trees older than 80 years, remain threatened by deforestation despite their critical roles in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Essential for biodiversity conservation, these forests are unique for their high carbon sequestration rates, wildfire resilience and natural water filtration systems.
The goal of this virtual activist training series is to encourage grassroots action, urge the forest service to take this inventory in a timely manner, and then implement a ban on logging these forests. At the first two training sessions in June, participants called regional forest offices to express public concern about the protection of old stock. The most recent training sessions on July 5th and 7th focused specifically on the benefits of carbon sequestration from mature trees and ended with participants writing letters to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) again calling for immediate action to end the logging demanded. An example of a letter sent during this training is included here:
I am writing to express my concern about the protection of our country’s forests and particularly the older, large trees that play an important role in reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A huge chunk of old-growth and old-growth in our forest is under threat from a US Forest Service rule change made in the final days of the Trump administration that removed a long-standing protection that allowed logging of trees larger than 21 inches forbidden diameter. This is important for protecting the forest and all of its inhabitants, but science also tells us that larger trees store more carbon and help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. The stats are impressive. Although most of these forests are populated and only 3% of their trees are 21 inches in diameter or larger, they are responsible for storing 40% of the carbon contained in the forest.
I challenge you to make choices for the good of our planet that will reduce the depletion of this shared resource and also provide additional protection for the planet. Stop the Devastation.
Future webinars will focus on different ecological services of old-growth and mature forests and will include different forms of direct action. Sign up to receive emails for future training in July. RSVP here!
This blog was co-authored by Erin Powers, an intern at Environment America