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Nantahala National Forest At Risk

Fast regulatory action is needed to protect at-risk federally managed forests on public lands around the country, including a threatened old-growth stand in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest.

That’s the conclusion of a special report (PDF) from a coalition of national environmental groups, titled “Worth More Standing.” The report outlines what it calls “the 10 worst logging projects in federal forests across the country,” which includes the one in the Nantahala. 

The logging approval at issue there is the 800-acre Buck Project, which would include clear-cutting 150 acres of trees more than 100 years old.

In its report, the Climate Forests Coalition details federal logging proposals targeting nearly a quarter of a million acres of old-growth and mature forests overseen by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The report outlines “a pervasive pattern of federal forest mismanagement that routinely sidesteps science to turn carbon-storing giants into lumber,” and calls on the Biden Administration to pass a permanent rule to protect these big old trees.

Those groups’ call for additional regulatory action supports a letter from an even broader coalition calling for such an action (PDF), sent to the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture last week. The requested rulemaking would be a natural follow-up to an executive order President Biden issued in April, directing a national inventory of all remaining federal old-growth forest stands. 

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