14. LIFE BELOW WATER

Groups petition Forest Service to suspend logging project in northeastern Wisconsin

Groups petition Forest Service to suspend logging project in northeastern Wisconsin
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Groups petition Forest Service to suspend logging project in …  Wisconsin Public Radio

Groups petition Forest Service to suspend logging project in northeastern Wisconsin

More than two dozen groups call for suspension of Wisconsin logging project

More than two dozen groups are asking the U.S. Forest Service to suspend a northeastern Wisconsin project that would log trees they say are crucial for fighting climate change.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center and 28 other organizations petitioned the agency to conduct a supplemental environmental review of the Fourmile project, which would log nearly 12,000 acres in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The groups argue the area is made up of mostly older trees that are crucial for storing carbon and fighting climate change. They contend changes to forest management and climate policies under President Joe Biden’s administration represent significant new circumstances that require further review.

Emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  1. Goal 13: Climate Action
  2. Goal 15: Life on Land

The groups point to executive orders issued by Biden that call for tackling the climate crisis and strengthening the nation’s forests by conserving mature and old-growth trees. They also highlight Biden’s call for tribal consultation and biodiversity since the Fourmile area is home to the state-endangered American marten. The animal is culturally significant to Ojibwe tribes in northern Wisconsin.

Andy Olsen, senior policy advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, said the U.S. Forest Service is increasing climate risks by allowing the harvest of mature and old-growth trees.

“The agency needs to do that to stop making the climate crisis worse,” Olsen said. “They need to put a hold on logging these mature and old-growth forests, and they need to fully consider the consequences of their actions at Fourmile.”

Agency said project will promote forest’s ‘long-term health’

The Forest Service has previously rejected a request by groups to suspend the project. U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore has said logging the area would “promote the long-term health and productivity” in the area, as well as its potential to store carbon. Moore said past research has shown that carbon stocks in the forest are “stable to increasing” despite declining rates of carbon sequestration.

The Forest Service did not respond to Wisconsin Public Radio’s request for comment about the project and the group’s petition. The agency has found the majority of the forest is made up of “mature or nearly mature” trees following efforts to reforest lands after clearcutting during the 1800s.

“We believe the Forest Service people do a very good job of implementing their forest management plans,” Schienebeck said. “And we think they use the best scientific data available to make those decisions, and it has nothing to do with who’s in the White House.”

However, environmental groups argue the project ignored the most recent reports on climate science, relying on a study by a United Nations panel of climate scientists from 2007. In its response to comments on the project, the Forest Service said it disagreed that the agency is required to address the effects of individual projects on climate change. The agency cited an executive order from the Trump administration.

Even so, Schienebeck argued that younger trees can store carbon more rapidly than older trees because they need more energy to grow. A 2016 study found younger trees absorb carbon from the air at a faster rate than older trees.

Former agency leader says it should reverse loss of older trees

Former U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck, who served under the Clinton administration and hails from Wisconsin, said the agency has to balance economic, ecological and cultural uses of the nation’s forests. He added the definition of what trees are considered mature or old-growth varies greatly depending on the species and parts of the country.

“But, here’s the bottom line that we’re dealing with, is we’re continuing to lose old growth nationwide, and we’re continuing to lose old growth and mature forest lands in this state as well,” Dombeck said.

Among species that thrive in old growth forests is the weasel-like American marten, which is a state-endangered mammal.

Emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  1. Goal 15: Life on Land

In its petition, groups say the Fourmile project area intersects with a Marten Protection Area designated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. An environmental assessment by the Forest Service said 19 percent of suitable habitat for the species would be lost within the project area during logging, but groups argue more than 41 percent of suitable habitat would be logged.

Intertribal agency says groups’ claims are worth investigating

Jon Gilbert is director of biological services for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, an intertribal natural resource agency. The commission previously called for a halt to the project until the Biden administration finished its inventory of old-growth forests. That inventory, released earlier this year, found federal lands contain more than 112 million acres of mature and old-growth forests.

Gilbert said he doesn’t believe the agency should stop all timber harvests to protect martens, but he thinks the groups’ claims are worth investigating.

“I agree that there are questions about the effects of timber harvests on American marten, so we should look at that,” Gilbert said. “I also agree that there’s questions about the effects of vegetation management on carbon storage and carbon sequestration rates.”

Gilbert said he thinks there’s a way to adjust timber cuts in the forest to address concerns for marten, or Waabezheshi in Ojibwe, a tribal clan animal. He said that includes leaving more trees on the landscape that will lead to bigger trees, as well as creating more dead and downed woody material that martens prefer in the forest.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning – The project’s impact on carbon storage and climate change mitigation
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.1: Ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services – The impact of logging on the conservation and restoration of forests
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally – The Forest Service’s forest management practices and their impact on forest health and productivity
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species – The impact of logging on the habitat of the state-endangered American marten

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

The issues highlighted in the article are connected to SDG 13: Climate Action and SDG 15: Life on Land.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

Based on the article’s content, the specific targets that can be identified are:

  • Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning
  • Target 15.1: Ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services
  • Target 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

Yes, there are indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:

  • The project’s impact on carbon storage and climate change mitigation can be used as an indicator for Target 13.2.
  • The impact of logging on the conservation and restoration of forests can be used as an indicator for Target 15.1.
  • The Forest Service’s forest management practices and their impact on forest health and productivity can be used as an indicator for Target 15.2.
  • The impact of logging on the habitat of the state-endangered American marten can be used as an indicator for Target 15.5.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning – The project’s impact on carbon storage and climate change mitigation
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.1: Ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services – The impact of logging on the conservation and restoration of forests
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally – The Forest Service’s forest management practices and their impact on forest health and productivity
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species – The impact of logging on the habitat of the state-endangered American marten

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: wpr.org

 

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