Stop Cutting What’s Left Of Old Growth

The COP26 convention in Glasgow made clear the urgency of the preservation of our ancient forests as important reservoirs for carbon sequestration if we are to meet our climate goals. Our Pacific Northwest forests are among the highest forest carbon reservoirs in the world, especially the older and largest trees.

Therefore the proposed Flat Country Timber Sale, which would harvest 74,063 acres, is a travesty. Fewer than 10 percent of our legacy forests remain, and it is time to stop the destruction of our few remaining old growth forests. We will not meet our climate goals unless we do.

We recently read Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin’s story map about the sale, in which they refute the reasons offered by the Forest Service to justify the massive cut and discuss the many reasons the preservation of these forests is so important, especially since there is so little remaining. Both helped develop the Northwest Forest Plan and have 100 years of collective experience in the conservation and management of federal forests in Oregon.

At the conclusion, they offer suggestions that would be more productive options for the Forest Service to pursue:

“The Willamette National Forest should continue to focus its harvest on the thousands of acres of older plantations. The plantations are highly unnatural forest ecosystems established during the last 80 years; they lack the structural complexity, species richness and many functional capabilities of naturally developed young forests. Carefully crafted thinning can produce timber volume and improve structural and compositional diversity.”

Ernie and Marietta O’Byrne


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