Trump’s Forest Service puts protections for Alaska’s majestic Tongass on chopping block

Credit: Alamy

The Tongass temperate rainforest in southeastern Alaska stores more carbon than nearly any other forest on the planet, and its rich, deep woodlands are home to grizzly bears, bald eagles, and Alexander Archipelago wolves, a rare subspecies whose numbers are already in steep decline as a result of habitat fragmentation. But the Trump administration wants to open up the national forest to industry (and carve it up with roads) anyway. The U.S. Forest Service released a draft environmental impact statement that would greenlight logging and road-building in currently protected areas of the Tongass. The report proposes weakening the long-standing Roadless Rule, which was adopted in 2001 to slow the breakneck pace of clearcutting in our nation’s forests. If passed, the Trump administration’s plan would allow loggers access to 165,000 acres of old-growth trees and 20,000 acres of younger Tongass forest—at the expense of intact wildlife habitat, the planet’s climate, and the traditional cultural practices of Indigenous Alaskans who rely on this ancient and breathtakingly beautiful forest.


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