President Biden recently recognized the importance of our mature and old-growth forests as an essential climate solution, and directed federal agencies to develop policies to protect them. We flew with experts, conservationists, and members of the press to spread awareness and encourage the public to ask the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to foster climate resilience and protect old-growth forests from logging!
We flew over the most diverse conifer forests in Western North America, large wildlands, wild rivers, proposed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) timber sales, and industrial clearcut logging operations on private lands. From the air we saw some of the region’s largest wildlands including the Red Buttes Wilderness, the adjacent Kangaroo Inventoried Roadless Area on the Rogue-River Siskiyou and Klamath National Forest, and numerous others wildlands and roadless areas in the Siskiyou Crest region.
The Siskiyou Crest is the only transverse range in the Pacific Northwest directly connecting the Cascade Mountains to the Coast Range. The high-country drains north into the headwaters of the Applegate and Illinois River watersheds, both tributaries of the mighty Rogue River, while the southern slope drains into the Klamath River watershed. The area is a regionally important connectivity corridor, a globally significant biodiversity hotspot, a critical fishery, and if the forests are left standing, both an important region of climate refugia, and its vast old forests create a climate mitigating carbon sink.
The region contains multiple BLM timber sales identified by the Climate Forests Coalition's Worth More Standing report,
as among the most damaging logging projects in the country. We flew over numerous of these timber sales including some proposed by the Medford District BLM like the Late Mungers, Penn Butte, Last Chance and Bear Grub Timber Sales. These public land logging projects propose “group selection” logging, a form staggered clearcut or regeneration logging that involves removing all or nearly all trees in up to 4 acre “openings” spread across up to 30% of a stand. This form of logging is implemented only in mature forest stands, releases carbon stored for centuries in living trees, damages wildlife habitat, increases fire risks, degrades regional fisheries, and contributes to the biodiversity crisis.
EcoFlight's flight partners are working to protect the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains and its important mature and old-growth forests, wildlands, watersheds, and biodiversity.