The Biden administration’s plans to help federal forests combat and adapt to climate change fail to protect mature and old-growth forests, an omission conservation groups, including Environment America, noted in formal comments submitted November 19.
The groups and federal lawmakers are calling on the administration to end logging of mature and old-growth trees. In a letter to President Biden, dozens of House and Senate members said the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees national forests, and the Department of the Interior should have included recommendations to protect carbon-sequestering old forests and trees in their climate adaptation and resilience plans.
The conservations groups’ comments said the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management should prohibit logging of older forests and trees on public lands and include forests as part of the solution to addressing the climate emergency, drought and wildlife extinction. The letter described the carbon-sequestration benefits of older and mature trees and the dangerous emissions associated with logging them. Conserving these forests is one of the most straightforward, high-impact and cost-effective climate solutions. In addition to serving as a natural climate solution, forests are essential biodiversity reservoirs and provide habitats for a vast array of life. With a rapidly changing climate producing more droughts and more intense storms, older forests play an essential part in clean water and flood control.