Preserve Our Forests

Good News: Court halts logging of big trees

Old, mature trees provide habitat for wildlife and fight climate change. We need to protect them from logging.


Big old trees in parts of southeast Washington and eastern Oregon were once off limits to logging. The Trump adminstration changed that, permitting logging in the area of trees 21 inches or greater in diameter. But now a judge essentially says “not so fast.”

The judge pointed to the fact that logging big trees could harm wildlife and noted that the previous administration didn’t conduct a study when it opened the door to cutting the big trees.

While this ruling isn’t the final say, and Oregon Public Broadcasting (which covered the story) noted that the Forest Service could appeal, this is nonetheless good news.

Climate fighters

In addition to the providing great wildlife habitat, big trees store carbon — lots of it. From the OPB story: “research suggests trees larger than 21 inches in diameter comprise 3% of trees in eastside forests, but hold 42% of the carbon.”

This ruling about large trees comes as the Biden administration is considering a broader (and much-needed) plan to protect big trees in national forests and other public plans.

As my colleague, Len Montgomery, once told the media: “We often call it the climate solution you don’t have to invent. Trees are literally standing right there in front of us.”

Congrats to the plaintiffs that brought this action. We hope the ruling stands and that the Biden administration moves forward with its plan to protect mature trees from logging.

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