Biden administration announces plan to protect old-growth forests

Media Contacts
Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

WASHINGTON – According to reports,the Biden administration will announce Tuesday a proposed national forest plan amendment, which will change policies for managing old-growth forests across the National Forest System. The amendment would protect the last remaining old-growth trees in national forests by adding new safeguards against logging. This action is a step toward fulfilling the promise of President Joe Biden’s April 2022 Executive Order, which directs the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to address threats to mature and old-growth forests on federal lands and develop policies to conserve them. 

In July, Environment America Research & Policy Center and our coalition partners delivered more than 500,000 public comments to the Forest Service calling for the agency to adopt a rule that protects mature and old-growth trees and forests on federal land as a cornerstone of U.S. climate policy. 

In response, Environment America Research & Policy Center President Wendy Wendlandt issued the following statement:

“This is an unprecedented move toward strong forest protection. Old-growth forests capture the imagination of Americans young and old. These trees, which have grown for generations, are often so wide that you cannot get your arms around them. These giants also capture and store carbon, making them essential allies in our fight against climate change. For years, advocates have fought to protect our oldest trees. Today, for the first time ever, the Forest Service is taking strong actions to protect old-growth from being sold to timber companies. 

“We need to restore our forests to their former splendor, with woods you can get lost in and trees whose tops you can’t see. That’s why it’s so important that today’s action should be followed by additional actions to protect mature trees and forests so they can live to be old-growth.”