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Webinar on Biden’s Old-Growth Rule with Dr. Dominic DellaSala

An old-growth redwood stump.
An old-growth redwood stump. Photo by Josefina Barrantes.

On March 18, the Power in Nature Coalition’s Far Northern Regional group, which EPIC co-leads with Trout Unlimited, hosted a webinar on Biden’s old-growth rule with Dr. Dominick DellaSala. Dominick DellaSala is the ​​Chief Scientist at Wild Heritage and an internationally renowned author of over 300 peer-reviewed papers and nine award-winning books on forests, climate change, endangered species, and speaking truth to power.

Biden’s old-growth rule will be the first nationwide amendment to the U.S. Forest Service management plans in its 118 years of existence. The proposal calls for the preservation of older forests on public lands that are biodiversity hotspots with numerous environmental benefits, including wildfire resilience and carbon sequestration. Environmentalists have been urging the White House to act on this for years, while timber companies have argued against environmental protections for old-growth trees on government land. 

Although this proposed rule is a step in the right direction, the rule currently lacks protections for “mature forests,” the stage of forest development immediately before old-growth. According to the Bureau of Land Management, “the mature stage generally begins when a forest stand moves beyond self-thinning, and is often marked by abundance of large trees, vertical canopy layers, aboveground biomass accumulation and stand height…vary widely in character with age, geographic location, climate, site productivity, relative sense of awe, characteristic disturbance regime and the values people attribute to or receive from them.”

In Dr. DellaSala’s presentation, he grappled with the Forest Service’s definitions of mature and old-growth forests. The vague definition for “old-growth” and the exclusion of “mature forests” are widely disputed in the conservation community. In his presentation, Dr. DellaSala explains the environmental benefits of mature and old-growth forests, and presents a clear scientific argument as to why mature forests as well as old-growth should be protected from commercial logging.

Find his slide deck here and a recording of the presentation here.


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