Timber Program Continues to Decline Thanks to Forest Activists

Steve Holmer, Campaign Coordinator for American Lands. 12/12/00

Thanks to the efforts of forest activists like you, the federal timber sale program continues to decline. The volume cut on the National Forests in Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 fell 13% to 2.5 billion board feet. In the future we can expect that the cut will continue to fall because the volume sold in FY 2000 dropped 21% to 1.7 billion board feet. As the numbers below indicate, the timber program is moving back East. Regions 8 & 9 now lead the nation in both timber cut and sold.


Timber Cut

Region FY 2000 FY 1999 Reduction %

1 257.6 256.5 -1.1 0%

2 134.1 141.3 7.2 5%

3 65.3 83.6 18.3 22%

4 123.9 141.8 17.9 13%

5 388.9 451.3 62.4 14%

6 409.2 569.4 160.2 28%

8 468.3 594.8 126.5 21%

9 547.8 553.8 6.0 1%

10 147.2 146.2 -0.9 1% Increase

TOTAL 2542.5 2938.6 396.1 13% Decrease


Timber Sold

Region FY 2000 FY 1999 Reduction %

1 189 203.7 14.7 7%

2 99.6 152 52.4 34%

3 68.7 72 3.3 5%

4 54.1 82.5 28.4 34%

5 214.5 383.7 169.2 44%

6 242.4 434.3 191.9 44%

8 381.8 406.6 24.8 6%

9 319 403.6 84.6 21%

10 170.6 61.9 -108.7 176% Increase

TOTAL 1739.4 2200.4 461 21% Decrease


Illegal Timber Sales Halted

Court injunctions halting logging in the Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and Sierra Nevada are expected to continue this downward trend and activists are effectively challenging harmful logging projects in every region of the nation. Regretfully, the Forest Service and BLM continue to offer sales that fail to meet standards in their own Forest Plans. Usually rare and endangered species are the victims of these illegal decisions.

Last week 178 timber sales were stopped in the Pacific Northwest because the Forest Service violated the Northwest Forest Plan by approving logging that could harm endangered salmon species. "There is a discrete and immediate harm posed to listed species by logging and timber activities...that fail to properly assess the potential environmental harm associated with such forestry," said Judge Rothstein. "Before today, two previous court decisions found that the federal government was violating its own forest plan rules and harming salmon," said Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations, Oregon Natural Resources Council and Umpqua Watersheds Inc., plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "Instead of listening to those rulings and modifying their timber sales to protect salmon, the government has forged ahead with more illegal timber sales."

The Forest Service has also temporarily halted logging on 11 million acres of National Forests in the Sierra Nevada for three months in response to a suit filed by the John Muir Project. Plaintiffs say no more logging should occur until the Sierra Nevada framework has been approved to protect the California spotted owl and other endangered old growth dependent species.

In the Southeast, a federal judge has halted 34 timber sales in seven National Forests as a result of a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund and the Sierra Club. The court ruling agreed that logging would cause severe harm to numerous forest species. The Forest Service failed to maintain adequate data about rare wildlife species in the 13-state southern region. "We are pleased that these sensitive areas of our National Forests - and the animals that live in them - are now going to be off-limits to clearcutting and destructive logging," said Rene Voss of the Sierra Club.

Activists around the nation continue to monitor and successfully challenge harmful sales. The Idaho Panhandle National Forest recently upheld an appeal by Friends of the Clearwater, The Lands Council,

Alliance for the Wild Rockies and The Ecology Center. The proposed Point Siam timber sale failed to comply with the Forest Plan soil standards and the environmental assessment did not adequately address cumulative impacts.

The Northside timber sale on the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina was also recently halted due to an appeal by Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, Western North Carolina Alliance, Appalachian Voices and Wild South. This sale failed to adequately survey, inventory and monitor for the Velvet Covert snail, a rare species.

Thanks for all your efforts!


Steve Holmer

Campaign Coordinator

American Lands

726 7th Street SE

Washington, D.C. 20003