Photo: photographyblog.com Young Lodgepole Pine Stand
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is proposing to clearcut 255 acres of “decadent and overmature” a.k.a old growth lodgepole pine forest stands. The recently published Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Harris Vegetation Project, 23 miles outside the town of McCloud, intends to heavily log over 2000 acres of public land. The agency contends that the project would likely adversely affect the Northern Spotted Owl. It is also within Pacific fisher, American marten and Northern goshawk habitat.
The purpose and need for the project is to improve forest health and restore fire-adapted ecosystems, however science shows that clearcutting and logging old growth trees is contrary to forest health and increases the risk of fire. 380 acres of logging would be within Late Successional Reserves (LSR), which were set aside to provide for Old Growth dependent species. Activity in LSRs is only allowed if treatments maintain or enhance Old Growth forest structure. The project also proposes to extract snags (dead standing trees) and any conifers within 150 feet of an Aspen tree within the reserves. Snags are an essential element in forest structure; they provide excellent habitat and multiple uses for a whole slew of animal species, as well as providing the soil with future nutrients.
The areas targeted for treatment are islands of forest that remain in a sea of clearcuts. The Forest Service has analyzed five alternatives including the No Action Alternative. Alternative 3 would generally keep at least 60% canopy cover. However as proposed, all four action alternatives would likely adversely affect Northern Spotted Owl. There are at least two active Northern goshawk nests in the project area. Despite requirements no surveys have been done for the fisher or marten although they have both been sighted in the vicinity. The connectivity of the landscape would further be fragmented but the rational used is that the roughly one and a half square mile of the Harris LSR provides ample habitat.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Please send a letter to the Shasta-Trinity Forest Supervisor, Sharon Heywood, and ask her to stop clearcutting our forests.