Tongass Moving Back Towards Protection

President Biden is taking steps to preseve North America's largest rainsforest.

US President Joe Biden is taking steps to protent the Tongass National Forest, which covers most of the Southeast of Alaska.

The forest has been central to many political battles in recent decades, as conservationists have attempted to block logging and new road building in the area.

As well as providing a habitat for native species, such as bears and wolves, The Tongass is also the traditional homeland of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes.

It is feared that a logging practice, called ‘old growth logging’ could disrupt the ecosytems if allowed to go ahead. Old trees are vital for carbon storage, and the health of the forest could first be compromised by the building of roads through the area to access timber. Not only do roads present a threat to wildlife by cutting through their natural corridors, but they disrupt the natural soils and water retention of the forest, drying edges out and making the area more susceptible to drought and heat induced fires.

Under President Trump, the Tongass was opened up to new logging, mining and road construction, however Biden has now reinstated protection for roadless areas of the Tongass, and has pledged to end large-scale old-growth timber sales and instead focus on restoration of the forest.

Posted by Claire Edwards 16 August 2021

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