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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

For Immediate Release
October 21, 2004


  • Dr. A. Carl Leopold, Distinguished Scientist Emeritus, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Cornell University, 607-254-1327.
  • David Wilcove, Ph.D.,Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Public Affairs, Princeton University, NJ , 609-258-7118.
  • Stephen C. Trombulak, Ph.D, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Middlebury College, 802-443-5439.
  • Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D, World Wildlife Fund, Director of Klamath Siskiyou Program 541-482-4878.

See entire text of letter here.

Scientists to Bush: Don't Ignore Science Protect Pristine Roadless Forests

Washington D.C. More than 125 of the world's leading scientists are urging the Bush administration to protect all pristine roadless areas on America's national forests from logging, mining and development.

The scientists include renowned researchers such as Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson and Carl Leopold. The 127 scientists are leaders in their respective fields and come from 30 states.

In an October 19 letter, the scientists address the Bush administration's attempt to dismantle the current federal rule protecting pristine roadless areas on America's national forest lands. Scientific research clearly illustrates the benefits of protecting pristine forests for wildlife habitat and protecting clean water, the letter says.

The letter states:

"We are especially troubled by this administration's track record of ignoring the best available science in policy decisions affecting public lands and its deference to the states on forest management decisions of national importance. There is growing consensus among the scientific community that a strong roadless conservation rule is one of the cornerstones to sustainable public lands management, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem health of the national forests. Therefore, we request that you reinstate the 2001 Roadless Conservation Rule that received very thoughtful input by scientists and the public."

Dr. A. Carl Leopold, Distinguished Scientist Emeritus at Cornell University and son of author Aldo Leopold, evoked his father's land ethic philosophy in discussing why pristine roadless forests need protection.

"My father, Aldo Leopold, one of the twentieth century's leading advocates of protections for native forest areas, wrote that conservation is a state of harmony between men and land," said Dr. Leopold. "Today, as then, we believe that logging and the creation of more new roads directly threatens our national forests, undermines this state of harmony, and violates proven conservation practices."

Noted scientist and author Dr. Stephen C. Trombulak, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, agreed that road development is one of the biggest threats to our national forests.

"Roads are well known to be one of the most damaging ecological effects on the land, and as a result roadless areas are the best protection from road-related impacts," said Dr. Trombulak.

Forest ecologist Dr. Dominick DellaSala, who has studied the Klamath-Siskiyou forest region of Oregon and California, summed up the reason the letter was sent to the Bush administration.

"Collectively, scientists are calling upon the Bush administration to manage roadless areas to the highest ecological standard by protecting them from further degradation," said Dr. DellaSala. "A strong roadless conservation rule is vital to providing the nation with clean drinking water, healthy fish and wildlife populations, recreational opportunities, and options for mitigating the effects of global warming."

The letter was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service as official comments on the draft roadless rule change proposed by the Bush administration. The close of the comment period for the roadless rule is November 15, 2004. Comments on the proposed rule may be mailed to: Content Analysis Team, ATTN: Roadless State Petitions, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 221090, Salt Lake City, UT 84122; faxed to (801) 517-1014; or e-mailed to [email protected].


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