This past Earth Day, President Biden issued an executive order calling on the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to conserve mature and old-growth forests as a climate solution. This was a momentous step toward meaningful protections, but now it’s up to us to ensure that this turns into real and lasting changes in how federal agencies manage — and protect — older forests and mature trees.
In response to the executive order, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior have opened an official 30-day public comment period to solicit feedback on how to define, identify, and complete an inventory of old-growth and mature forests on federal lands. The federal agencies are specifically requesting input on the following questions:
- What criteria are needed for a universal definition framework that motivates mature and old-growth forest conservation and can be used for planning and adaptive management?
- What are the overarching old-growth and mature forest characteristics that belong in a definition framework?
- How can a definition reflect changes based on disturbance and variation in forest type/composition, climate, site productivity, and geographic region?
- How can a definition be durable but also accommodate and reflect changes in climate and forest composition?
- What, if any, forest characteristics should a definition exclude?
Your comment can help achieve lasting protections for the public forests that are most important in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises. Your voice matters in this process, as each comment submitted shows support for following President Biden’s leadership to protect our remaining mature and old-growth forests and trees. We know from past experience that public involvement and participation are very effective at informing public policy decisions like this one.
If you want to submit a personalized comment through SEACC, please visit our Tongass Action Page.
For more information and to submit your comment, please see the following resources:
- Request for Information: Federal Old-Growth and Mature Forests
- Old Growth Forests: Talking about old-growth, mature forests
Gunalchéesh — thank you — for all you do to protect our forests and climate!