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ACTION ALERT: Stop the Extinction of Northern Spotted Owls by the Fisher Family

Updated: May 10, 2023

Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) vs. barred owl (Strix varia). Photos by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Peter K Durian via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Humboldt Redwood Company and Mendocino Redwood Company, both owned by the billionaire Fisher family, are allowing northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) to go extinct on their properties.

One of the greatest threats currently facing the northern spotted owl is the takeover of invasive barred owls (Strix varia), which both attack and outcompete northern spotted owls. Northern spotted owls are so afraid of barred owls that they will no longer respond when surveyors make owl calls. Click here to learn more about how to differentiate spotted and barred owls.

In response to the spotted owl’s looming extinction on Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Company land, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service convened a panel to recommend changes to stop the spotted owl’s swift decline. The panel, led by renown owl researchers, advised that the company begin a barred owl removal program. Barred owl removal has been shown to be extremely effective in reversing long-term spotted owl declines, including on the adjacent property of Green Diamond Resource Company. In spite of best available science, the Fisher family’s Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Companies are refusing to implement barred owl removal.

Why might that be? Fewer spotted owls mean more old, large trees that the companies can log. Legal protections for the northern spotted owl, which is listed as threatened under the federal and California Endangered Species Acts, currently serve as a limit to harvesting mature forests. If the owl went missing from their properties, however, the companies would be allowed to harvest large, old trees previously off limits. By allowing massive barred owl invasion of their properties, the Fisher family gets rid of spotted owls while under the guise that they have clean hands.

This is not acceptable. Given the large scale of the Fisher family’s ownership of the redwoods, unchecked barred owl expansion will result in the extinction of spotted owls in the redwoods. The company has built its reputation as “different” from other industrial timber companies, but increasingly the company has failed to live up to that claim.

EPIC has filed a complaint with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) against the Humboldt Redwood Company (click the download button below to read the full complaint). A company can’t be certified as “sustainable” if it voluntarily allows for the extinction of spotted owls. The Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Companies and the Fisher family also need to hear from the community that allowing northern spotted owls to go extinct is unacceptable.

Click here to take action on behalf of northern spotted owls on Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Company lands.

HRC.MRC FSC Complaint
Download PDF • 267KB


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