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Environmentalists Strike a Blow Against Timber Interests

August 3, 2010

For Immediate Release — August 24, 2010

Environmentalists Strike a Blow Against Timber Interests

Blowing Rock, NC – -

After a year of Earth First! campaigning to end the proposed timber sale in the Globe Forest, part of the Pisgah National Forest, the Forest Service has announced that they plan to remove the 40 acre old-growth section of the Globe Forest Timber sale, forcing them to change the project to a stewardship sale. This old-growth section comprises the largest stand of timber within the sale and one of the most valuable; and though the entire sale has not been canceled, it is a significant loss for timber interests.

For a number of years, the Forest Service planned to sell the trees within this endangered habitat to timber companies. Old growth is extremely rare in the United States and comprises less than 5% of all of the forests in North Carolina. It has been proven to be an important ecosystem that fosters diverse types of plants and fungus’ in complex, symbiotic interactions which only develop after hundreds of years. An array of threatened species such as migratory songbirds and woodpeckers also rely on these areas to nest and brood their young.

While we believe the Forest Service should end all commercial logging of our national forests, the protection of this area is a success and does set a precedent: old-growth is off limits for timber companies, especially in the Southeastern United States. Earth First! will continue to defend any old-growth forest that is threatened.

Croatan Earth First! has decided to shift our focus to various infrastructural projects in North Carolina, which severely threaten our landbase, and which we have more leverage over; but we will continue to keep our eyes on the Forest Service. If you live nearby, and would like to be involved or have ideas for projects that are important to you, contact croatanearthfirst@gmail.com or go to our website at www.croatanearthfirst.wordpress.com

Earth First! Locks Down To Forest Service Property To Protest Logging

July 12, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  July 12, 2010 —

n

Croatan Earth First! activist with his neck U-locked to Asheville Forest Supervisor’s office

front door.   Thank you Kryptonite!

On Monday July 12th, Earth First! held a large protest outside

of the Forest Service office on Zillicoa St. in Asheville to protest the
commercial logging of national forests and their continued plan to cut the
Globe Forest in Blowing Rock, NC. As negotiations continue on this timber
sale to remove an old-growth stand from the project, Earth First! wishes
to call attention to the continued exploitation of our disappearing
forests by timber companies. Recent studies show the United States now leads all
developed countries in deforesting its land the fastest, and this trend is
most prevalent in the Southeast. The Globe Forest provides important
habitat and nesting sites for woodpeckers and migratory songbirds whose
numbers are declining due to forest fragmentation. The Forest Service
continues to cut stands of trees that are directly connected to old-growth
forest communities, causing destructive edge effects, and they have
refused to provide a buffer because it is not required in their “Forest
Plan.” Treating and cutting these stands will cause erosion, soil
destruction, and will pollute the nearby streams with herbicides. Until
all of Thunderhole Creek is protected, Earth First! will campaign to stop
the cut.

Earth First! Demands That the Forest Service in North Carolina:

-stop attempting to cut old-growth habitats or any stands connected to these rare areas.
-put an end to all commercial logging our national forests
-immediately revise the Forest Plan to include rehabilitating previous clear-cuts into early successional habitat instead cutting healthy, mature forest expanses.

-an end to all road building in our national forests

“Any cuts within the Globe will affect vital old-growth ecosystems and our stance is end all commercial logging of our national forests,” says Joseph Ferguson, a Croatan Earth First! activist.

“Historically, the Forest Service has catered to timber companies, but we believe the public  no longer supports logging in our National Forests.”

Regional Rondy July 9-12 – Register today!

June 12, 2010

Please register by e-mailing ncforestdefense@riseup.net

For directions click here

Why the Forest Service logs our National Forests

June 3, 2010

This is a re-posting of a great article done in 2006 concerning the Forest Service and the Globe Timber Sale. As of last year the Grandfather District Ranger is no longer Joy Malone, but John Crockett.

Response to Joy Malones Guest Editorial
High Country News, Boone, North Carolina
December 21, 2006

Christopher Joyell, Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project Campaign Coordinator

“While reading District Ranger Joy Malone’s Guest Editorial last week (Dec. 14), I was reminded of another work of fiction-George Orwell’s novel, 1984. In his classic novel, Orwell introduced us to the concept of “newspeak,” where up is down, black is white, and 2+2=5.

The aim of the fictional language was to control thought and squelch debate simply by removing words from our vocabulary. Taking a page from Orwell, the Forest Service claims that logging projects like the Globe are no longer conducted to generate timber; they are carried out to create wildlife habitat, namely logged-over habitat for a select suite of game species. It just so happens that the project is also funded by the sale of our trees to the timber industry.

For almost a century, the agency made no secret of one of its chief priorities-to provide lumber to the timber industry. It would be foolish to try to conceal this goal, especially when the man who currently heads up the Forest Service, Mark Ray, previously collected a paycheck as a timber industry lobbyist. Regardless of your opinion about logging on public lands, at least the agency was honest about its intent.

But now that has changed, probably because the Forest Service realizes that people value clean water, clean air and recreation above timber production on our
public lands. The Forest Service continues to cut our forests, only now they are marketing it as wildlife habitat creation.

Our public lands have suffered from over a century of agency mismanagement. Clear cuts and unrestrained road building have altered our forests to such an extent that the Forest Service sees no other option but to continue its heavy-handed management practices. Yet, by destroying mature forests we have diminished the potential for the creation of the natural openings that form when trees die and fall, thereby creating “early successional habitat.”

No one will deny the inherent benefits of a mixed age forest with diverse structure and composition. The Forest Service can create the desired “early successional habitat” simply by reentering the 20-year old clear cuts that are overgrown, filled with invasives, and provide nominal habitat benefits, and thin them, burn them, or mow them. But they instead elect to go into mature forests to create these openings. Why?

The answer to this question gets to the root of why the Forest Service logs our National Forests. The answer is timber, plain and simple. If you look past their cleverly disguised wildlife arguments or spend time reviewing their proposals, it is clear that their motivation is the timber industry’s motivation.

Of course, Ranger Malone indulges in some half-truths in her guest editorial. For example, she wrote that the agency is “adding 311 acres .of old growth habitat,” without disclosing that much of that “habitat” doesn’t actually contain old growth trees.

Those areas are designated as “future” old growth, but many of those acres have been logged recently. One area, for example, was logged only 12 years ago, meaning that it will be “old growth” only after we and our children are dead and gone (unless, of course, the Forest Service chooses to log it before then). Yet the agency shows no hesitancy in cutting down existing old growth, trees that stood before our nation’s founding. Some would call this, at best, misleading.

But these are minor deviations from the truth when held against the stated purpose of this project. The fact remains that the timber industry will profit from the removal of our trees in the Globe Forest. And they will profit off our backs, because it is taxpayers like you and me who foot the bill for these logging projects.

Maybe deer, turkey, and grouse will benefit from this project in the short-term. Then again, maybe not. The Forest Service has no idea, because it doesn’t monitor for wildlife on post-logged sites. It’s in the timber business, not the wildlife business, after all. But in this age of “newspeak,” up is down, black is white, and logging is good for wildlife.

It’s time the Forest Service stops building roads and starts building trust. The Globe Forest provides ancient views, clean air, clean water, solitude, and a sense of place that should never be destroyed because it is these things that make our nation great. The promise of a bright future for our children is far more important than the promise of an easy buck.”

Since the re-posting of this article Chris Joyell would like it to be publicly known that he is in no way associated with Earth First! or this website.

Latest Demonstration in Asheville Draws Participants From Across the State

May 21, 2010

Welcome To The Deforest Service

Activists with Earth First! held a camp-out over the weekend in the Globe Forest of Blowing Rock, North Carolina and a protest outside the Forest Service Supervisor’s office in Asheville on Monday May 10th to protest the cut of the Globe Forest.  Protesters traveled from Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Boone and locals from Asheville also attended.   The plan to cut this area of mature hardwoods and old-growth forest was proposed to create more early successional habitat, but Earth First! wants to remind them that early successional habitat is in decline because of sprawl and development-that are breaking up what once were vast forests- not because of the existence of mature and old growth forests.  These older habitats are vital to birds such as woodpeckers who nest in dead trees, bears who forage for acorns and nuts in the autumn, as well as important breeding sites for migratory songbirds.

We suggest  that the Forest Service instead restore and rehabilitate areas they have mismanaged and clear-cut in the past, and make those tracts of land into early successional habitat, instead of destroying a beautiful and rare area. The Forest Service owns less than 10% of the forests  in North Carolina (the rest is owned privately).  We say the National Forests are public land, it is ours, and we should decide what is done with it.  The state of North Carolina and the Forest Service should be spending more time making those who own the majority of our forests (that would be logging companies) rehabilitate their lands to create more early successional habitat-the lands that they have repeatedly disrespected, clear-cut and replaced with monocropped, tree farms devoid of ecological diversity.

The Globe Forest is scheduled to be sold this summer.  In response, activists are organizing a direct action campaign to prevent the sale and are planning an action camp in July to ramp up their forest defense campaign.  Activists across the country are expected to travel to Blowing Rock and Asheville this summer to take action to protect the forest.  Protesters had a clear message at the last demonstration:  We will not let you sell this land without a fight, and if you do sell it, we promise you and the timber companies will do so at a financial loss.  We will not stand aside as we watch the last of our old growth forests fall.

Cerulean Warblers Declining & Globe Forest 4th in Top 10 Most Endangered Areas in the South

May 2, 2010

Spotlight on a species in Danger:  the Cerulean Warbler

The Forest Service continues to make unconvincing arguments for the Globe Timber sale such as increasing habitat for the Cerulean Warbler. Not only is Western North Carolina not the central breeding range of this species, but the truth is that this bird and many other songbird species also need long expanses of uninterrupted forest containing mature, deciduous trees including oaks (which are exactly what is contained in the Globe Forest) in order to breed and raise their young.  Below is some information about this threatened songbird from Defenders of Wildlife:

” The cerulean warbler, once a common sight in the forests of the eastern United States, is vanishing at an alarming rate. Over the past four decades, the cerulean’s numbers have declined by seventy percent. Between 1966 and 1999, it declined an average of 4% per year throughout its eastern breeding range. Within the species core range (Midwest and Southeast) the total population decline is closer to eighty percent. This dramatic drop is due, in large part, to habitat fragmentation and destruction of its breeding range in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, southern Missouri and Wisconsin, eastern Kentucky, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia. Within its breeding range, this blue and white warbler requires large tracts of mature deciduous forest, including open woods with tall trees and relatively little undergrowth, often found near bottomlands and rivers. Commercial logging, agriculture and development within the species’ range are leading to the loss of mature deciduous forests, especially along stream valleys. The resulting fragmentation and isolation of forests and loss of key tree species, such as oaks and sycamores, is a leading cause of dramatic population reduction. In addition, mountaintop mining in key habitat areas has been identified as one of the most serious threats to the species. Mining practices have been found to be particularly devastating to cerulean populations, as the species’ preferred habitat types – namely steep slopes and mountain ridges – are destroyed.  This problem continues to intensify. It is estimated that currently proposed and permitted mines may directly eliminate one fifth of the cerulean’s remaining population.”
Yes, we must protect habitat for the Cerulean Warbler, but cutting the Globe Forest will not benefit this bird.  We need to protect the  mature and old growth forests that remain, and we need to restore the lands that have been previously clear-cut and mismanaged by the forest service across the country.  Those locations provide a perfect opportunity to create early successional habitat for songbird species that need it.  We must put a stop to the irresponsible practices of timber companies that clear-cut forests and replace them with moncocropped tree farms.  And if you really want to save the Cerulean Warbler, then ban Mountaintop Removal Mining in West Virginia!  Those mining projects are destroying the last habitats that exist in their range and are obliterating their homes and chances at survival.
Southern Environmental Law Center Names Globe Forest in Top 10 Most Endangered Places in The South:

WASHINGTON, DC, January 6, 2009 (ENS) – The largest environmental advocacy organization working to protect the Southeast, Monday announced a list of 10 special places in the region that face immediate, potentially irreparable threats in 2009.The Southern Environmental Law Center said the 10 most endangered places were chosen from among hundreds that are impacted by the center’s law and policy work in the six states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

SELC’s deputy director Jeff Gleason says the region is the fastest growing region in the United States. “In many respects, the South is also a testing ground for the nation’s most pressing environmental issues, including energy, global warming, drought, land conservation, and biological diversity,” he said.

Top Ten Endangered Areas in the South for 2009:

  1. Clinch and Powell Rivers (Virginia) Issue: Construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County will accelerate mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, and further increase mercury levels in the Clinch and Powell rivers.
  2. Interstate 81 Corridor (Virginia) Issue: Virginia officials are reexamining a plan to widen all 325 miles of I-81 to perhaps eight lanes to support long-haul truck traffic – a plan that would cost billions of dollars and cause tremendous harm to communities and historic, scenic, and environmental resources.
  3. Marine Waters (Virginia) Issue: Virginia is the first state in our region to begin the process of opening up its marine waters to offshore drilling for oil and gas. The benefit of this short-term supply of energy is dramatically outweighed by the harm to the environment and communities.
  4. Globe Forest (North Carolina) Issue: Destruction of rare, old-growth forest in the Southern Appalachians.
  5. Pamlico River (North Carolina) Issue: The single largest destruction of wetlands in North Carolina’s history will occur if a phosphate mining company gets permission to expand its operations on the river’s banks.
  6. Great Pee Dee River (South Carolina) Issue: Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, is proposing to build more coal-fired power plants with outdated technology that would dump an additional 300 pounds of mercury into an already mercury-overloaded river.
  7. Johns Island (South Carolina) Issue: A $420 million highway proposal threatens to bring large-scale development to this historic community, transforming the island into a sea of condos, mega-stores, and traffic.
  8. Salt Marshes (Georgia) Issue: Large-scale development on biologically rich islands and tidal waters.
  9. Weeks Bay (Alabama) Issue: Unchecked development and weak regulation threatens an area so unique it is one of only three in Alabama to receive the designation of Outstanding Natural Resource Water.
  10. Cherokee National Forest (Northeast Tennessee) Issue: The U.S. Forest Service is moving forward with its plans to log several areas of this remarkable landscape, endangering trout, unbroken wildlife habitat and rare species.”

U.S. Losing Trees Fast – Especially in the Southeast

May 2, 2010

The U.S. Forest Service and industry representatives are pushing the Globe Timber sale under the guise of creating new habitat. While they are planning to cut the small percentage of healthy, mature and old-growth forest we have left, studies are being conducted that show the United States is being led for the world in deforesting their land the quickest.  Not only that, but the greatest amount of forest lost was in the Southeast.  Are you willing to stand by while industry representatives and timber companies continue to plunder the forests?  If you’re upset about this, speak up and get involved.  Come to our next protest on May 10th in Asheville.  For news on deforestation in the U.S. read the article below:

U.S. losing trees faster than other heavily forested nations

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Out of seven of the most heavily forested nations on Earth, the United States experienced a greater percentage of forest loss from 2000
to  2005 than did any of the other countries, a study said Monday.

The United States lost more than 46,000 square miles of forest in those years, a size roughly equivalent to the state of Pennsylvania.  That’s  about 6% of the nation’s forested land.

“That’s the most of the seven countries that have over 1 million square kilometers of forest,” says study lead author Matthew Hansen of South Dakota State University.  Worldwide, researchers determined that the globe lost forest cover of nearly 400,000 square miles — roughly 3% of the world’s forested

areas — during the first half of the last decade. The other countries in the study were Canada,Russia, China,  Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the forest loss was the result of both human and natural causes.

“We do not quantify what the causes are, and we do not quantify how much forest gain there was from 2000 to 2005,” Hansen says. “But clearly, industrial harvesting/clearing is very important.”  Man-made causes of forest loss include logging and wildfires caused by people.   Natural causes would include natural wildfires and storm damage.  The one part of the contiguous USA that experienced the most forest loss was the Southeast, a large chunk of which lost more than 10% of its forest cover from 2000 to 2005, the year for which the most recent data were available.

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