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ACTION ALERT: Urge the Forest Service to Protect Mature & Old-Growth Forests Nationwide

Pinyon-juniper forests have the most acres of both mature and old-growth forest nationwide.
Pinyon-juniper forests have the most acres of both mature and old-growth forest nationwide. Photo by National Park Service (Public Domain).

On December 19, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service announced a proposal “to amend all 128 forest land management plans to conserve and steward old-growth forest conditions on national forests and grasslands nationwide.” Scoping on this proposal was also initiated in the Federal Register as a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will evaluate the environmental effects of a national land management plan amendment.

Please click here to take action by February 2nd on behalf of mature and old-growth forests across the United States by submitting a comment that advocates for a thorough EIS for the proposed national land management plan amendment that eliminates financial incentives to log old-growth trees, inclusively defines old-growth without arbitrary restrictions, and conserves mature forests as future old-growth.

The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and proposed action are expected in May 2024 followed by a 90-day comment period, and the final EIS is expected in January 2025.

The impetus for this proposed national land management plan amendment was President Biden’s Executive Order 14072, which he signed on Earth Day in April 2022 pledging to “conserve America's mature and old-growth forests on Federal lands…to promote their continued health and resilience; retain and enhance carbon storage; conserve biodiversity; mitigate the risk of wildfires; enhance climate resilience; enable subsistence and cultural uses; provide outdoor recreational opportunities; and promote sustainable local economic development.” On Earth Day in April 2023, as part of fulfilling the Executive Order’s required science-based approach, the Forest Service released the first-ever nationwide inventory of mature and old-growth forests which found that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management manage more than 32 million acres of old-growth and more than 80 million acres of mature forests on national forests and grasslands. View the inventory on the Forest Service’s Climate Risk Viewer.


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