Hack and squirt: This sensational-sounding term describes the practice of poisoning trees and leaving them standing to rot on the landscape.
  And astoundingly, it's not coming soon—it's already happening. In a forest near you. Right here in California, on the North Coast.

Hack and Squirt forest

The term "hack and squirt" refers to a process of chopping through a tree's bark and applying toxic liquid to the wound. The herbicide seeps into the tree and kills it in a short while. Hack the tree and squirt on the poison.
  The widespread use of broad-spectrum herbicides to kill trees on thousands of acres raises weighty concerns about threats to water quality and soil biota, and the simplification of forest ecosystems.
  The chief poison used, Imazapyr, is banned in Europe, where it is deemed "harmful to aquatic organisms... may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment."

Check out a basic primer on what Mendocino Redwood Co. is doing and why here.

Forests Forever, alongside concerned citizen allies in Mendocino County, currently is playing a leading role in challenging landscape-scale hack-and-squirt forestry that has already poisoned whole watersheds full of oaks on the North Coast. Mendocino Redwood Co. (MRC) alone has killed and left standing some five million trees since 2012!
  The reason MRC is poisoning trees is that oaks and other hardwoods—the target trees—can compete for water, sunlight, and nutrients with more-lucrative redwoods. It would cost extra to remove the dead trees so MRC leaves them where they stand.
  But according to retired CalFIRE Air Attack Capt. Kirk Van Patten, hack-and-squirt "clearly has created a serious wildland fire threat for the firefighters and citizens of Mendocino County."

Take a look at the firefighters' press release about the ballot measure here.

As you read this Forests Forever has just successfully completed its signature-gathering effort to place an initiative before the voters of Mendocino County in June 2016. This ballot measure would effectively ban large-scale hack-and-squirt forestry in the county.
  We collected over 1000 of the 2500 signatures needed, setting the stage for voters to weigh in on the measure on June 7.

Read the ballot measure language here.

We organized a successful event in July, in which Forests Forever took local reporters, prominent citizens, firefighters, and Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) into the air in small planes and flew over MRC's extensive poisoned forest landscape.

Here's a video we took on the flyover.

Beyond the signature gathering we have played a vital role in recruiting local citizens to gather signatures too. And we're undertaking direct-contact voter education about the issue— letting hundreds of folks know about hack-and-squirt who had no knowledge of it before, while sending a signal to our opponents that we are strong, articulate and organized! We intend to continue to educate Mendocino voters and help get them out to vote on June 7!

See what PR spending MRC is doing to convince the public that hack-and-squirt is fine.

Here is a radio interview about the issue.

The Forest Stewardship Council outraged citizens and tarnished its credibility by recently recertifying MRC's practices as "green."

Click here to return to our Year-in-Review 2015 e-Alert.


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places