- Under the guise of forest fire prevention, the Bush Administration's
Forest Service has proposed logging in California's Sequoia National Monument,
home to some of the world's tallest and oldest trees, reaching ages of
3,200 years or more. Also at risk are the Pacific fisher, the California
spotted owl, and many other threatened species dependent on ancient forest
- Established by President Clinton in 2000, the Monument
designation was the culmination of years of work by environmentalists.
But in its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for management of
the Monument, the Forest Service chose the most environmentally destructive
of six alternative management plans, the one calling for the most intensive
- Under the Forest Service's "preferred alternative,"
80,000 acres would be opened for logging, including trees up to 30 inches
in diameter, a size not permitted in most National Forests throughout the
Sierra Nevada. The Forest Service's proposal calls for 180 clearcuts,
producing 10 million board feet a year.
- The Forest Service plan is based on the idea that if
the ancient Sequoias aren't logged, they will be vulnerable to catastrophic
fires (despite the fact that they have somehow managed to survive for thousands
of years on their own). But the real motivation may lie in a sentence buried
deep in the EIS, which says logging in the Monument "might make the
difference between continued operation and closure of the one mill available
to serve the Monument."
- If fire prevention is actually the Forest Service's agenda,
experts cite better ways to accomplish this, such as thinning the forest
near homes and businesses, and increasing the number of prescribed burns.
- Logging in the Monument will actually increase the likelihood
of severe fires, since removal of the large trees reduces the cooling shade
of the forest canopy, and because highly flammable brush accumulates in
open areas where logged trees once stood.
- In a final insult, the Forest Service plan will actually
be subsidized by taxpayers, to the tune of $34 million. Much of that will
go toward road building, even though there are already 900 miles of roads
in the Monument. And nearly $14 million of taxpayer money will be spent
for "mechanical thinning of conifer" -- otherwise known as logging.
- SOURCES:  Presidential Proclamation establishing Sequoia
National Monument, April 15, 2000.  "Forest Service Bushwhacks
Giant Sequoia National Monument," Sierra Club. http://www.sierraclub.org/ca/sequoia/monument/fs_bushwacks_gsnm.html
-  "Forest Service Proposes to Log Sequoia National
Monument," The Wilderness Society. http://www.wilderness.org/WhereWeWork/California/sequoiamonument-logging.cfm
 Ibid.  Action Alert, Sequoia ForestKeeper. http://www.sequoiaforestkeeper.org/currentprojects.html