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July 15, 2002

Dear Mr. Rowney:

Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap is an international campaign with tens of thousands of supporters and an activist network of over 1500 groups and individuals worldwide (500 in California). Our primary goal is to see the once magnificent coast redwood forest ecosystem—130 million years in the making, the densest biomass on Earth—restored to old-growth characteristics and protected from the rapacious overlogging it has endured since Euro-Americans stole it from the natives. Further, since Jackson State Forest is the only significant public holding on Mendocino's redwood coast, we want this forest preserved exclusively for wildlife and responsible recreational uses for all time.

Consequently, I and my constituency strongly oppose the Draft Management Plan for Jackson State Forest. To continue clearcutting, large-scale commercial logging, high-grading, herbicide use, and cutting in stream zones in Jackson State Forest, given the overall vastly depleted state of coast redwood forestland, with endangered species on the brink of extinction in every watershed and a dubious future in private hands, displays a frightening, short-sided ignorance, all the more alarming because it comes from an agency who should be aware of this grave situation, and doing everything within its power to correct it.

This travesty is magnified exponentially when one considers it in the context of global deforestation, the resulting world water crisis, and the global warming disaster. Following are some statistics I hope you will digest:

§ Deforestation. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, 80% of the worlds forests have been completely destroyed or so damaged they can no longer be logged sustainably, and most of this has been done in the last 30 years. According to the UN Development Program, only a nuclear war could equal the global effects of this destruction.

§ Deforestation and the world water crisis. According to the Council of Canadians study, "Blue Gold," deforestation is a leading cause of the drying of the earth’s surface, desertification, and the resulting world water crisis we are now facing, with 1 billion people without access to clean water, and world demand for fresh water expected to exceed supplies by 56% in 2020. According to the UN World Food Program, the drought and famine currently raging through Central America is due to one thing: deforestation.

§ Deforestation and global warming. According to Global Awareness in Action of Canada, deforestation adds between 1 and 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year, contributing significantly to global warming and all of its deleterious effects (by comparison, 5.4 billion tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels). According to scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, the major steps needed to halt global warming would include a 50% reduction in consumption of fossil fuels, the halting of deforestation, and a massive program of reforestation. Scientists also strongly link deforestation to other "natural" disasters, such drought, flooding, severe storms, and hurricanes.

§ Deforestation and species extirpation. The forest ecosystems are the most biologically diverse of all the types of ecosystem our planet supports. In 1981, there were 230 endangered species listed world wide. By 1989 that number increased to 35,000. According to the National Science Foundation, one quarter or more of the earth’s species will become extinct by 2050 unless measures are taken to preserve them.

Clearly, as a planet we must adopt a rigorous course of protection and restoration of our forests and watersheds if we are to survive, let alone preserve the incredible biodiversity our planet was once capable of supporting. To do so, we must protect and restore forests and watersheds at the regional level. You have that choice now. You can either contribute to the moribund course that we are on, or you can bend to the will of the people: End commercial logging in Jackson State Forest and restore it to ancient characteristics, to be enjoyed as a recreational park and wildlife preserve by us and future generations.

Finally, the draft EIR is inadequate—like industry, you fail to supply the data necessary to allow the public to fully assess your management plan; you also fail to consider the alternative uses of wildlife preserve and recreational park that a significant faction of the public clearly prefers.


Mary Bull

Coordinator, Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign