Save Oregon’s Oldest Trees

We need to protect Oregon's mature and old-growth trees from logging. We're calling on the Biden administration to protect these vital forest habitats.



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Oregon’s majestic old forests deserve protection

There’s nothing quite like walking through an old growth forest in Oregon. Magnificent Douglas firs and Western hemlocks stand like giants against the sky, while huge ferns, vine maples, manzanita and wildflowers dot the understory. Douglas squirrels climb the towering trees to get a better look at you as the clatter of a woodpecker rings in the distance. For the patient – and the lucky– you may even get a glimpse of an elk or a spotted owl. 

These incredible old-growth forests used to cover most of Oregon, but today only a small fraction remains. Many of these forests, along with approximately 50 million acres of mature forests are on federal lands in the United States and are unprotected from logging. 

Old-growth forests are crucial habitats for thousands of species. The longer trees grow, the more time a fully-fledged, interconnected forest ecosystem has to develop. 

A Spotted Owl sitting on a branch
Jan Zoetekouw |

Old forests: Allies in our fight against climate change

Mature and old-growth forests are also critically important in the fight against our changing climate. They absorb huge amounts of carbon– more than 10% of the U.S. annual climate pollution– and are a climate solution that we lose the moment we cut them down.

That’s why we’re calling on the Biden Administration to enact a rule this year that protects mature and old-growth trees and forests on federal public lands from logging in Oregon and across the country.

After we launched this national campaign, on Earth Day in 2022, President Biden signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to conduct an inventory of mature and old-growth forests on America’s federal lands and to develop policies to protect them. 

Now we need him to follow through. To convince President Biden to protect mature and old growth forests on federal land, we need to show an outpouring of public support from forest-heavy states like Oregon. 

As this proposal moves forward, we know that timber interests in Oregon will be lobbying hard to keep things as they are, so they can continue to access and cut down our remaining mature and old-growth forests. That’s why it’s so critical that everyone who supports protecting our irreplaceable forests signs on in support of our campaign. 

Together we can save Oregon’s oldest trees and forests

We’ve seen that building public support makes all the difference. In 2001, we were one of the leaders of the coalition that worked to establish the Roadless Rule in 2001. We set a record, helping collect an overwhelming 1.6 million public comments in favor of protecting 58.5 million acres of roadless areas in our national forests.

More recently, Environment America worked to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan law that will invest billions of dollars in our public lands, including our national parks and national forests. 

This summer we are going door-to-door and speaking with thousands of Oregonians across the state to build support for protecting our mature and old-growth trees. We’ll also be building support from outdoor recreation businesses, hunters and anglers, and other key constituencies, and working with the media to generate public awareness of the need to protect these vital ecosystems that make our state so special. 

We know we can make this happen– but we need you to join us. Please add your name to our petition and consider becoming a member of Environment Oregon to support this work.

Our remaining mature and old growth forests are worth protecting.

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Celeste Meiffren-Swango

State Director, Environment Oregon

As director of Environment Oregon, Celeste develops and runs campaigns to win real results for Oregon's environment. She has worked on issues ranging from preventing plastic pollution, stopping global warming, defending clean water, and protecting our beautiful places. Celeste's organizing has helped to reduce kids' exposure to lead in drinking water at childcare facilities in Oregon, encourage transportation electrification, ban single-use plastic grocery bags, defend our bedrock environmental laws and more. She is also the author of the children's book, Myrtle the Turtle, empowering kids to prevent plastic pollution. Celeste lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two daughters, where they frequently enjoy the bounty of Oregon's natural beauty.

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