Coalition issues report challenging Forest Service timber harvesting practices

Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - 2:54pm

A coalition of nonprofit organizations has issued a report that challenges Forest Service timber harvesting practices.

In April, the Biden administration directed the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to inventory the country’s old growth and mature forests and develop policies to protect them.

But the coalition fears that many trees could be lost before the inventory is complete, including several in Kaibab National Forest.

“We put this report out, because we are concerned that one of the greatest threats to mature and old growth forests is in fact the Forest Service itself," said Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity. "They are logging these trees, and that is something they absolutely can control, because they’re the ones who are designing the timber sales.”

The Forest Service issued a statement saying the agency plans to open the old growth inventory process to public comment.

“The Forest Service is, I think, still driven by producing board feet. And it really drives their practices. That’s their go-to. Putting down trees. And I think it undermines a lot of legitimate forest restoration,” Spivak said. 

She says older trees can withstand wildfire, absorb carbon and help offset the effects of climate change.