As you likely already know, the Trump administration took a significant step toward opening the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest to logging and other potential extractive development. The USDA Forest Service plan would roll back protections for 9.2 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. More information can be found here, where you will also find a sample letter for submitting a comment against this proposed rule; your submission is due December 17th, 2019.
Spread across a massive archipelago of more than 2,000 islands that encompass most of southeast Alaska, the forests in the Tongass are home to stunning biodiversity and endemic species, including the Alexander Archipelago wolf. At the time FWS determined ESA protections were unnecessary for the Alexander Archipelago wolf (2016) the estimated rangewide population was approximately just 850 – 2,700 wolves (with approximately 62 percent living in British Columbia and just 38 percent occupying Southeast Alaska). Further roadbuilding and logging in their habitat would certainly harm an already fragile wolf population.
Already, over 1/2 of the old-growth forests that Prince of Wales wolves rely on for hunting, denning & raising pups gone.
Today, only 3% of Southeast Alaska is comprised of large-tree old-growth; meaning over half of the original 7% has been felled for clearcutting. Across the Southeast Alaska landscape, the truly giant trees have almost entirely disappeared. Prince of Wales Island once boasted huge swaths of giant trees, connected seamlessly across the landscape. But an estimated 94% of these contiguous high-volume forests were cut from 1954 to 2004. Source
Once again, the Forest Service is disregarding the evidence of the impacts of road-building, and its timber program, on wolves, other wildlife populations, salmon, and critical habitat necessary for their survival. As we have seen on Prince of Wales, logging and roads initiate many harmful effects, including the “overharvest” and illegal “take” of not only wolves, but also their primary prey and sustenance, Sitka black-tailed deer.
A warm welcome to our tweetstorm, and thanks for lending your voice. As always, tweets are automated and easily sent by tapping our “Tweet This” bluebird at the bottom of each tweet. Please open this link on your browser for ease of tweeting. Once again, thank you for speaking out against changes to the Roadless Rule in Alaska, and the imminent clearcutting of 800-year-old Sitka Spruce trees which this rollback would facilitate.
1. I advise the @forestservice to refrain from pursuing an Alaska version of the #RoadlessRule. Rather, protect these biologically rich, carbon dense, irreplaceable, & stunning forests, home to the rare #AlexanderArchipelagoWolves
2. The world must preserve its
remaining old forests and the massive carbon reserves they’ve accumulated over the centuries if we are to reduce the impacts of #climatechange. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule @SecretarySonny @forestservice @POTUS
3. Forest conservation plays a major
role in the race to stem climate disruption. #Deforestation, on the other hand generates nearly a quarter of all the world’s greenhouse gas emissions @SecretarySonny @POTUS #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
4. As parts of Alaska are warming at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the planet, maintaining an intact Tongass ecosystem can help provide #climatechange solutions for Alaska and contribute to international climate efforts @SecretarySonny
5. The #RoadlessRule protects ecosystems, which, in turn, helps make the Tongass the country’s single most important national forest for carbon sequestration and #climatechange mitigation. #ProtectTheTongass @forestservice @SecretarySonny
6. The implementation of the #RoadlessRule reflects a shift from the long history of subsidized logging of the Tongass’ old-growth forests and toward a more sustainable management approach that capitalizes on the region’s globally unique ecology @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass
7. An “Alaska state-specific” version of the #RoadlessRule would run counter to the interests of all Americans, and is a rule change that I vehemently oppose @SecretarySonny @forestservice @POTUS #ProtectTheTongass
8. An “Alaska state-specific” version of the #RoadlessRule, would allow for increased resource extraction in the form of roadbuilding & old growth timber logging in the farthest reaches of Alaska & would be a step away from sustainable development @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass
9. The Tongass has already lost at least half of its old growth forest since the 1950s, due to scorched-earth logging practices that utilized a technique of clear cutting full forest areas @SecretarySonny
10. The wildlands of the @TongassNF R a treasured natural resource that should be valued & protected from the destruction of logging. Changing/repealing the #RoadlessRule will lead to nothing but environmental degradation in vital forest ecosystems @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass
11. Slashing protections for more than 1/2 of the 17 million-acre @TongassNF would not only negatively impact the ecosystem, and wildlife, including the #AlexanderArchipelagoWolves, but would also further hamper the global fight against #ClimateChange.
12. Keeping the #RoadlessRule in place will continue to help strengthen SE Alaska’s economy while maintaining the health of our forests and the communities/wildlife that depend on them @GovDunleavy @forestservice @lisamurkowski @SenDanSullivan @repdonyoung @POTUS #ProtectTheTongass
13. Alaska is warming faster than the rest of the country. That could make the Tongass a haven for wildlife that feels climate pressures elsewhere. But destroying habitat by logging and fragmenting the remainder with roads undermines that option. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
14. .@SecretarySonny the Tongass is among the world’s best carbon sinks, & one of the largest unfragmented ecosystems in N America. Its trees hold about 650 million tons of carbon, which roughly converts to 1/2 of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions-2017. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
15. .@SecretarySonny @forestservice @GovDunleavy The Tongass already is suffering from the impacts of global warming as rain patterns change and glaciers recede. bit.ly/USFS-Tongass
16. Beyond the bad economics of adding roads and expanding logging in the Tongass, scientists argue that the forest absorbs the equivalent of about 8% of the U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
17. .@SecretarySonny Scientists also argue that cutting old growth also releases up to two-thirds of the trees’ stored carbon into the atmosphere.
18. The drive to open even more federal lands 4 logging/mining & other uses that extend the footprint of human development into the natural world puts the profits of private logging & mining companies ahead of the interests of other economic sectors. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
19. Healthy forests provide a host of watershed benefits, such as purifying water, sustaining surface and groundwater flow, maintaining fish and wildlife habitat, controlling erosion, and stabilizing steam banks. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
20. Short-sighted efforts to rollback the #RoadlessRule to facilitate the harvest of large growth not only harms the economic interests of the local industries, but will harm our long-term fight against #climatechange @SecretarySonny @forestservice #ProtectTheTongass
21. The @forestservice has lost nearly $600 million over two decades through roadbuilding and timber sales. That’s an average net loss of about $30 million a year — over the past 20 years.
22. .@SecretarySonny The timber industry employs less than approximately 250 people (less than 1% of the jobs in the region) and costs the American taxpayer millions a year in federal timber-related expenditures. bit.ly/34lAFX3 (pdf)
23. Experts Dispute Trump Administration’s Rationale for Alaska Logging bit.ly/2NnbEnk
24. Preservation of Tongass National Forest is crucial to our national #climatechange policy @POTUS @Govdunleavy @SecretarySonny @forestservice bit.ly/2BYRR8A
25. Recovery in the Tongass is measured in centuries: A clear-cut old-growth forest takes as long as 500 years to fully mature, meanwhile depriving the planet, for generations, one of the best carbon sinks in a warming world @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
26. The Tongass timber industry accounts for not even 1% of SE Alaska’s jobs. More profitable, sustainable industries, generate more than $2 billion in revenue annually & employ over 10,000 people in the region. bit.ly/2BST2Gj (pdf) #ProtectTheTongass @SecretarySonny
27. Tongass timber has never been a money-maker: the cost of doing business in Alaska combined with heavy government subsidies (to sustain jobs) means that every tree coming out of the Tongass costs taxpayers roughly $100 @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
28. Many Alaskan residents believe that the future wealth of America’s largest national forest will be measured in something other than board feet. bit.ly/3497upS #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule @forestservice @SecretarySonny
29. .@SecretarySonny @forestservice more than 1.5 million Americans voiced support for the #RoadlessRule during the original rulemaking process, which followed decades of clear-cutting that had a destructive and lasting impact on the Tongass. #ProtectTheTongass
30. The world’s largest remaining intact temperate rainforest containing vital old-growth trees is under attack because of efforts to undo the #RoadlessRule.
Take action to #ProtectTheTongass
31. The Tongass Rainforest of Alaska has been called “the nation’s climate forest” due to its unsurpassed ability to sequester carbon and mitigate climate impacts. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule @SecretarySonny @forestservice
There was no room for hashtags in the next tweet (32). If you would like, add a reply to your tweet: #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
32. Our national forests are essential lungs of the Earth, @SecretarySonny @forestservice. Relinquishing over nine million acres of protected national forest to feed the taxpayer supported extraction industry is an abomination @POTUS @GovDunleavy @lisamurkowski @SenDanSullivan
33. The push for an Alaska-specific #RoadlessRule has always been just pretext for continuing to subsidize SE Alaska’s old-growth timber industry, at the expense of climate mitigation, wildlife, stunning forests and sustainable industries @SecretarySonny #ProtectTheTongass
34. Timber sales cost taxpayers millions in the Tongass @Potus @SecretarySonny @forestservice
35. There are better ways to address “local economic and development concerns” than asking taxpayers to foot the bill for another hefty subsidy to Alaska’s timber industry goo.gl/LPCrVM #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
36. Today, only 3% of Southeast Alaska is comprised of large-tree old-growth; meaning over half of the original 7% has been felled for clearcutting. Across the Southeast Alaska landscape, the truly giant trees have almost entirely disappeared. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
37. The @TongassNF stores more carbon removed from the atmosphere than any other national forest in the country. The Roadless Rule has protected the Tongass rainforest for almost two decades.
#ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule @SecretarySonny @forestservice
38. Healthy forests provide a host of watershed benefits, such as purifying water, sustaining surface and groundwater flow, maintaining fish and wildlife habitat, controlling erosion, and stabilizing steam banks.
#ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule @POTUS @SecretarySonny @forestservice
39. Efforts to undermine environmental protection for the @TongassNF not only put Alaska’s last vestiges of old-growth forest at risk, but also clear the way for even bigger attacks on forests nationwide. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule
40. The Tongass is Alaska’s first line of #climatechange defense and deserves full protection under the national #RoadlessRule @SecretarySonny @forestservice @GovDunleavy @lisamurkowski @SenDanSullivan #ProtectTheTongass
41. The millions of ancient trees across the Tongass temperate rainforest serve as the greatest carbon sanctuary in the U.S. national forest system, helping us all as a counterweight against the #climatecrisis, @SecretarySonny @forestservice
42. This ecologically rich landscape and critical wildlife habitat will be lost forever, putting wildlife, including the rare #AlexanderArchipelagoWolves, at risk if industry is allowed to clear-cut our national forest @SecretarySonny
43. Rolling back the #RoadlessRule spells doom for both the #wolves and deer that call Prince of Wales Island home. #ProtectTheTongass #AlexanderArchipelagoWolves bit.ly/A_A_Wolf
The next two tweets should be sent together, preferably tweet #44 should be sent as a reply to tweet #43.
44. Alaska’s elected officials @GovDunleavy @lisamurkowski @SenDanSullivan & @repdonyoung are selling out their constituents & robbing future generations by trying to strip protections from one of the most pristine old-growth forests in the world. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule 1/
45. 2/ In doing so, they have ignored the recommendations of the very people they represent, including the Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC) bit.ly/2NobLyU
46. Trees are Sanctuaries #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule bit.ly/TREES27 #savethetrees
47. They call #Alaska “the last frontier.” I call Alaska our last chance to get it right. And we are failing miserably. #ProtectTheTongass #RoadlessRule Take action: bit.ly/RoadlessRule
Thank you very much for lending your voice, please tweet this link as often as you can to help raise awareness. If you would like to help out further please lend your voice for the Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales.
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