Tom Lovejoy on global warming and America's rainforest

Around the world, protecting rainforests is rapidly being embraced as central to solving global warming.  But here at home, we forget that we have our very own threatened rainforest that deserves protection too—the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

We’ve been documenting the threat to the Tongass in our series of web videos, Voices of the Tongass 

So, this weekend, I was happy to hear renowned climate biologist Dr. Tom Lovejoy highlight a couple of very important points about what’s at stake in the Tongass on the radio show Ring of Fire, a program co-hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Listen to the interview here.

Dr. Lovejoy puts the coming destruction of wild Tongass lands into the context of rainforest destruction worldwide--and its impact on global warming.  The Tongass is the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest on the planet, and makes up 30% of the world’s total acreage of such forests.

The U.S. could exhibit some real leadership by scrapping the Bush-era “exemption” that prevents roadless protections in the Tongass and upholding a strong roadless rule nationwide.

And since this past week has been all about green economics, it’s important to note a second point raised by Kennedy and Lovejoy—it makes no economic sense to log roadless areas of the Tongass.  Stacked up against the enormous ecological value of these lands, from providing bald eagle habitat to preserving Alaskan salmon runs, it is a far better investment to keep these areas pristine.