For Immediate Release June 1, 2006
Contact the Siskiyou Project:
Chip Dennerlein, executive director (541) 326-1704
Rolf Skar, campaign director (971) 242-9221
Study Finds Natural Regeneration Robust in Roadless Forests
Grants Pass, OR
A new survey has confirmed abundant conifer regeneration in roadless forests affected by the 2002 Biscuit fire that are proposed for logging this summer. The site-specific research, the first of its kind, found at least 100 natural conifer seedlings in a majority of study acres in the Mike's Gulch and Blackberry timber sales.
"This study found rates of conifer regeneration that would meet the Forest Service's own tree stocking prescriptions" said Rich Nawa, Siskiyou Project ecologist and study author. "The data shows that conifer seedlings are well established and can be expected to increase and grow unless the areas are logged. Logging would destroy this young forest and delay conifer establishment."
The Forest Service, while describing the Mike's Gulch and Blackberry timber sale areas as "understocked," has not conducted a site-specific analysis of natural regeneration rates.
"The Bush administration's claim that industrial logging and artificial replanting is needed to regrow roadless forests doesn't match the facts" said Siskiyou Project executive director Chip Dennerlein. "What's really needed is management based on forest science not political agendas."
The new study correlates with other research, including the Donato report recently published in the journal Science, which document encouraging rates of conifer regeneration in forests affected fire. A broader body of peer-reviewed science shows that post-fire logging can damage forest health, increase fire risk and degrade water quality.
"Roadless forest logging is the wrong solution to an imaginary problem" said Rolf Skar, campaign director of the Siskiyou Project. "Science shows it is like popping tires before reinventing the wheel."
The controversial Mike's Gulch and Blackberry logging proposals, which could be sold to private timber companies within weeks, would be the first to cut roadless forests in the nation since the popular Roadless Area Conservation Rule was approved in 2001. The Mike's Gulch logging project is located in Oregon's largest Inventoried Roadless Area: the 105,000-acre South Kalmiopsis. The Blackberry logging project targets the salmon-rich Indigo Creek watershed in the North Kalmiopsis Inventoried Roadless Area.
A copy of the report is available online at: http://www.siskiyou.org/campaign/biscuit_reports.cfm.