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.
Clear-cutting and even-age management are sources of a wide variety of environmental
- Species go extinct
as their habitats are lost.
- Water and air quality
diminishes without the filtering power of the forest ecosystems.
- Changes in the water cycle
including increased flooding and drought cycles are attributed
to the loss of the trees.
- Both sport and commercial
fishermen see dramatic declines in the health of those fisheries
and their spawning grounds.
- Carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere with the cutting of
the forests contributing to global climate change.
- Without trees to hold the
soil, erosion takes nutrients from the soil--making it difficult
to reestablish any kind of plant life.
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.
- Technologically advanced
machinery replaces the labor of skilled workers.
- Overseas exports of unprocessed
timber products have cost thousands of workers their jobs.
- Timber booms have exhausted
the forests. In the busts that follow, companies move on to other forested
regions, leaving the workers, their communities, and the environment literally
in the dust.
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 Save America's Forests
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.
- 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.
- Ban clearcutting and require
selection management on all federal lands nationwide where logging is
Act to Save America's Forests
(106th Congress HR 2512, S 1368)
- 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
- 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
- Implement integrated bioregional
proposals to recreate ecosystems, ecological corridors, and evolutionary
- The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act of 2001(107th
Congress H.R. 488)
- 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)
- 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
- Ban the export of unprocessed timber
from the U.S., and reform tax laws to encourage maximum employment in
value-added wood products manufacturing.
- 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)
- 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
- End money-losing timber sales.
- The National Forest Timber Cost Recovery Act of 1992 (102nd Congress
H.R. 2501, S. 1334)
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Help balance the federal budget
and create disincentives by:
-taxing the outputs of virgin paper mills and adding duties to imported
-taxing wasteful onetime use of wood pallets and other lumber construction
- Place a moratorium on construction
of new waste incinerators. TOP
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Save America's Forests
4 Library Court, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
Ph: (202) 544-9219