the guise of forest fire prevention, the Bush
Administration's Forest Service has proposed
logging in California's Sequoia National Monument,
home to some of the world's tallest and oldest
trees, reaching ages of 3,200 years or more.
Also at risk are the Pacific fisher, the California
spotted owl, and many other threatened species
dependent on ancient forest habitat.
by President Clinton in 2000, the Monument
designation was the culmination of years of
work by environmentalists. But in its draft
environmental impact statement (EIS) for management
of the Monument, the Forest Service chose
the most environmentally destructive of six
alternative management plans, the one calling
for the most intensive logging.
the Forest Service's "preferred alternative,"
80,000 acres would be opened for logging,
including trees up to 30 inches in diameter,
a size not permitted in most National Forests
throughout the Sierra Nevada. The Forest
Service's proposal calls for 180 clearcuts,
producing 10 million board feet a year.
Forest Service plan is based on the idea that
if the ancient Sequoias aren't logged, they
will be vulnerable to catastrophic fires (despite
the fact that they have somehow managed to
survive for thousands of years on their own).
But the real motivation may lie in a sentence
buried deep in the EIS, which says logging
in the Monument "might make the difference
between continued operation and closure of
the one mill available to serve the Monument."
fire prevention is actually the Forest Service's
agenda, experts cite better ways to accomplish
this, such as thinning the forest near homes
and businesses, and increasing the number
of prescribed burns.
in the Monument will actually increase the
likelihood of severe fires, since removal
of the large trees reduces the cooling shade
of the forest canopy, and because highly flammable
brush accumulates in open areas where logged
trees once stood.
a final insult, the Forest Service plan will
actually be subsidized by taxpayers, to the
tune of $34 million. Much of that will go
toward road building, even though there are
already 900 miles of roads in the Monument.
And nearly $14 million of taxpayer money will
be spent for "mechanical thinning of
conifer" -- otherwise known as logging.
 Presidential Proclamation establishing
Sequoia National Monument, April 15, 2000.
 "Forest Service Bushwhacks Giant
Sequoia National Monument," Sierra
Service Proposes to Log Sequoia National Monument,"
The Wilderness Society.  Ibid.  Action
Alert, Sequoia ForestKeeper.  Ibid.
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