The fight to save Jackson State Forest

California is a recognized world leader in embracing climate science and promoting innovative solutions to combat global warming.

What's more, CalFIRE isn't just any agency awkwardly dipping its toe into climate-science waters. It is the primary agency responsible for enforcing the state's forest-protection and -management laws.

This outrageous statement on climate suggested there is some doubt remaining as to the most-fundamental climate facts set forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: 1) that global warming is human-caused and 2) that it results from human activities such as fossil-fuel burning and deforestation.

Not since the sprawling controversy over Headwaters Forest on the North Coast in the '90s has the nation witnessed a more-galvanizing struggle.

One key difference between the two controversies: Headwaters' ancient redwoods stood on privately owned land, while Jackson's 49,000 acres of redwoods are 100 percent owned by California taxpayers.

For nearly a year Forests Forever and key allies have kept CalFIRE on the defensive at Jackson. We have challenged logging plans at Little North Fork and Mitchell Creek, as well as garnering citizen messages opposing them. Frontline activists have kept up the pressure with protests and tree-sits at Jackson, while others have produced media articles and other forms of organizing.

As a result, CalFIRE has repeatedly delayed its timber harvest start dates, apparently fearing litigation by citizens groups such as Forests Forever. The time has come to turn up the heat on all the state officials responsible for managing Jackson Forest's redwoods—the most carbon-absorptive forest type in the world.

Forests Forever began its campaign for Jackson Forest in 2001, alongside allies and friends in small towns along the Mendocino Coast. We were a successful co-plaintiff in a lawsuit that extended a logging moratorium at Jackson for a total of eight years.

In large part due to that moratorium Jackson currently boasts an estimated 55,000 board feet per acre of standing commercial-grade conifer—more than three times the estimated volume of timber on neighboring redwood lands under private ownership.

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

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places