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Group Calls for Greater Protection of Forests
Moratorium on large-scale industrial logging and road-building in all forests administered by the USFS and BLM sought
by Dick Kauffman


January 04, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - The rainforest of Southeast Alaska was named on Monday as one of the nation's 11 "Keystone Forests" by the environmental group Greenpeace. In a new report released by Greenpeace, America's Keystone Forests: Mapping the Next 100 Years of Forest Protection, the environmental group identifies the biggest forest areas left in the United States that provide the best habitat for the most diverse species.

Greenpeace's release of the report on Monday was planned to coincide with the opening day of the U.S. Forest Service's Centennial Congress. The report also faults the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for failing to protect these keystone forests, most of which are found on public land.

"The coastal temperate rainforest of Alaska is the rarest forest type on earth. It is also a good example of the inability of the Forest Service to get it right," said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner in Sitka, Alaska. "The Forest Service has not only failed miserably in its mission, it has been corrupted by unrelenting pressure from vested interests that reap the spoils of ancient forest destruction."

Greenpeace said they worked with the Big Sky Conservation Institute to identify the keystone forests, employing the latest scientific studies of forest fragmentation, road density, biological diversity and health of plant and animal communities. The report included maps showing the condition and ownership of the forest lands.

According to Nancy Hwa a Greepeace spokesperson based in Washington, DC, the report details how the Forest Service and BLM have allowed, and even encouraged, rampant industrial exploitation of the nation's forests at taxpayer expense. According to Greepeace, under the Bush administration, this mismanagement is escalating at an unprecedented rate citing that most recently, the administration's announcement on December 22nd that it was opening up all national forests to greater logging and mining.

"With only 15 percent of the nation's ancient forests left in the United States, keystone forests represent our last best hope for saving the country's natural heritage," said Pamela Wellner, Greenpeace senior campaigner and co-author of the report. "However, they are threatened by the very agencies that are responsible for them: the Forest Service and the BLM," said Wellner.

America's Keystone Forests provides a blueprint for saving the nation's remaining forests says Greenpeace. In the short-term, Greenpeace is calling for a moratorium on large-scale industrial logging and road-building in all forests administered by the Forest Service and BLM. In the long-term, America's best forest lands, starting with the keystone forests, must be given greater protection, and the missions of the Forest Service and BLM must be refocused on restoration and conservation, not commercial exploitation.


Dowload the report:

pdf America's Keystone Forests: Mapping the Next 100 Years of Forest Protection (9.7MB) - January 03, 2004




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