Activists rally to support protecting mature forests from logging

Media Contacts

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Tuesday, activists joined Environment Oregon and Oregon Wild at the Bureau of Land Management’s regional headquarters in downtown Portland. Holding signs that said “Save Oregon’s Oldest Trees,” activists rallied in support of durable protections for mature and old-growth trees and forests on federal lands and delivered over 45,000 public comments to BLM as part of their public comment period on a proposed rule to protect these trees. The environmental community expects to deliver over 200,000 public comments before the July 5th deadline. 

“Our forests, especially mature and old growth forests, are part of what makes Oregon a special place to live. They are a place for us to connect with nature, provide habitat for thousands of species and are critical allies in the fight against climate change– one that we lose the moment we cut them down,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, state director with Environment Oregon. “We’re calling on the Biden Administration to prevent timber companies from logging mature and old growth trees on all federal land in Oregon and across the country– and are excited to deliver these public comments from tens of thousands of people who don’t want to see these trees cut down.”

Despite some protections like the Forest Service’s 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, road-building, industrial logging, and mining threaten our remaining mature and old-growth trees and forests, increasing the risk of climate change and destroying essential habitat for countless species and degrading the land. Nearly 50 million acres of mature and old-growth forests are not protected from logging and in fact, the federal government is allowing logging of mature and old-growth trees across the country. More than 370,000 acres are on the chopping block.

“In the Pacific Northwest, mature and old-growth forests are our first line of defense against the impacts of climate change,” says Victoria Wingell, Forests and Climate Campaigner for Oregon Wild. “Oregon’s Bureau of Land Management  lands contain some of the most carbon dense forests in the U.S. As numerous mature and old-growth logging projects are planned to move forward in Oregon, it’s clear that new rules must be put in place to protect them for future generations.”

In November, the Climate Forest Campaign released a report, “America’s Vanishing Climate Forests” in November spotlighting 12 federally-run logging projects that include cutting down mature and old-growth forests, eliminating vast amounts of naturally stored carbon and ongoing sequestration. Together with an earlier report, Worth More Standing, the coalition has highlighted 22 projects totaling nearly 370,000 acres of mature and old-growth forests and trees.

“Our mature and old-growth forests are a natural treasure worth protecting and one of our best allies in the fight against climate change,” said Ellen Montgomery, public lands campaign director with Environment Oregon. “Oregon is known for its amazing forests and trees. The Bureau of Land Management must take action to protect our mature trees and forests from logging.”

The Bureau of Land Management will be accepting public comments until July 5th.