The Problems
The Solutions

The Problems

There is a crisis of worldwide deforestation and ecosystem destruction. The U.S. must set an example of conservation by not clearcutting and wasting our own country's forest resources. However, current federal policies and subsidies favor the extraction and waste of virgin materials over the development and use of recycled and alternative fiber materials. This has caused problems at several levels of society.

Our nation is engaged in the rapid liquidation of our natural forest treasures: huge ancient trees (Redwood, Douglas fir, Oak, Hemlock) and all the plants and animals living in our forests. Two square miles of public, virgin forests are clearcut every week in the Pacific Northwest alone.

Environmental Destruction: Clear-cutting and even-age management are sources of a wide variety of environmental problems.

It is estimated that as much as 66% of the woody biomass is wasted in logging operations on our National Forests. For example, two-thirds of the native ecosystems in Florida’s National Forests have been lost, converted into monoculture tree plantations. In the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois, the U.S. Forest Service is cutting down the last areas of contiguous native forest, critical habitat for declining populations of migratory songbirds. TOP

Loss of Jobs: The timber industry disregards the welfare of its workers by overcutting and depleting the forests, degrading both the local and global environment, and undermining the economic security of forest-dependent communities.

Subsidies to the Timber Industry are driving this destruction. Most of the Forest Service’s $2 billion annual budget is spent to clearcut our National Forests. Forest Service figures show that over 80% of their timber sales lose money for the nation’s taxpayers. The destruction is not limited to the forests of the Pacific Northwest; the incentives created and maintained by the Northwest congressional delegation have wreaked havoc on public forests across the country.

Economic Conflict: These subsidies to large timber companies put the federal government in direct competition with small mill owners and nonindustrial woodlot owners. They also prevent the implementation of positive programs to reduce waste and save our resources.

Destruction at the Paper Mill: Manufacturing paper from wood requires much more energy and chemicals than the processing of recycled or alternative fiber paper. Wood pulp paper mills produce toxic discharges, including cancer-causing dioxins, which pollute our rivers, poison fisheries, and make their way into human drinking water supplies. Making paper from alternative fibers like kenaf causes less pollution and helps to boost farm economies.

Municipal Waste Problems: Over 40% of our nation’s solid waste stream consists of paper and wood products. This huge volume of waste has been used as economic justification for incinerators, which pump toxic wastes into the air and our backyards, creating a toxic waste disposal nightmare and poisoning local communities. By recycling most paper and wood products waste, we will not only save trees, but we will reduce the need to build hundreds of new incinerators and landfills. Subsidies for logging and for using virgin pulp encourage waste, and they are at the root of our current waste problems. TOP


The Solutions

The Save America's Forests Platform

In order to protect our forest ecosystems, we must create comprehensive solutions that address the problems at all stages of the forest products cycle—from destruction of the living forests to pollution at paper mills and garbage dumps. Save America’s Forests proposes the following Comprehensive Platform as a guide for writing laws in the U.S. Congress to save and restore our natural forest ecosystems, and lead to a nonpolluting, sustainable timber and paper economy.

  1. Complete protection for ancient and virgin forest ecosystems, nationwide.
    - The Act to Save America's Forests (106th Congress HR 2512, S 1368) includes a list of over 100 designated forest areas where logging would be completely prohibited, including many virgin and Ancient Forests in 27 states.

  2. Ban clearcutting and require selection management on all federal lands nationwide where logging is permitted.
    - The Act to Save America's Forests (106th Congress HR 2512, S 1368)

  3. Complete protection for fragile, recovering native forests, nationwide.
    -preserve our last fragments of biodiversity
    -help abate the greenhouse effect
    -protect watersheds, fisheries, soil, and air

  4. Convert monoculture tree plantations on federal lands to native biodiversity in order to provide ecological links to existing ancient and native forests to reestablish large natural forest ecosystems.

  5. Implement integrated bioregional proposals to recreate ecosystems, ecological corridors, and evolutionary preserves.
    - The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act of 2001(107th Congress H.R. 488)

  6. Add to existing fragmented forest ecosystems financed from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and other sources. Priority for acquisition should go to the remaining Redwood forests and for the New England "Northern Kingdom" region.
    - The Headwaters Forest Act (103rd Congress H.R. 2866)

  7. Restrict the international trade in primary forest timber, and help the remaining indigenous forest peoples of the world sustain themselves and revitalize their cultures. TOP

  8. Ban the export of unprocessed timber from the U.S., and reform tax laws to encourage maximum employment in value-added wood products manufacturing.

  9. Create a Community Economic Transition program to sustain workers and communities, which are now dependent on federally subsidized logging. Create a federal trust for stable payments to counties and schools. Create natural forest non-timber based economies based on alternate forest products such as herbs, boughs, pine cones, mushrooms, and other perpetual forest products.
    - Save America's Forests "Save America's Jobs" Amendment to H.R. 4899 (102nd Congress - Abercrombie)

  10. Shift federal funding priorities from road building and timber management to forest ecosystem restoration such as native fish habitat improvement, logging road closures, and re-vegetation of damaged logged areas. This will help maintain jobs in forest dependent communities.

  11. End money-losing timber sales.
    - The National Forest Timber Cost Recovery Act of 1992 (102nd Congress H.R. 2501, S. 1334)

  12. Improve tax code for nonindustrial private forests to
    -eliminate incentives for liquidation of standing timber
    -encourage selection management for lands that are managed for timber production. TOP

  13. Mandate that the U.S. Government procures 100% post-consumer recycled or alternative fiber paper (such as Kenaf) for use in all agencies and offices.

  14. Set targets for recycled content in newspapers and for community paper recycling. Offer federal incentives to meet these goals, such as
    -tax breaks to newspapers who use recycled paper
    -funding for community park restoration or urban tree-planting

  15. Create economic incentives for alternative fiber (such as Kenaf) use and wood and paper recycling, and disincentives to virgin pulp and virgin wood use. Create incentives for:
    -new recycling mills and alternative fiber mills
    -mill conversion from virgin to recycled pulp and alternative fiber processing

  16. Help balance the federal budget and create disincentives by:
    -taxing the outputs of virgin paper mills and adding duties to imported virgin paper.
    -taxing wasteful onetime use of wood pallets and other lumber construction materials

  17. Place a moratorium on construction of new waste incinerators. TOP


Save America's Forests
4 Library Court, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
Ph: (202) 544-9219

Information Sheet and Platform