This summer's Rim Fire in California's central Sierra Nevada Mountains burned about 250,000 acres in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. But while such intense burns can seem catastrophic in the short term, wildfires are ultimately an essential part of this ecosystem.
After a fire a forest may look like a barren landscape, but those burned trees and logs -- not to mention the remaining live trees, as well as the seeds, spores and fungi hidden in the soil -- are essential to the land's recovery. Many wildlife species have evolved to depend on burned forest as habitat, and when burned forests are allowed to remain intact after a fire they help to maintain biological diversity.
Unfortunately the U.S. Forest Service recently issued a proposal to log over 30,000 acres of burned forest in the Rim Fire area. This logging would destroy the very essence of post-fire wildlife habitat by removing standing dead trees and preventing the natural development of the wildflowers, bushes and trees that grow after these fires. Wildlife such as black-backed woodpeckers, olive-sided flycatchers, mule deer, mountain bluebirds, hairy woodpeckers, pallid bats and fox sparrows all call these burned areas home.
The Forest Service's proposal also directly contradicts decades of scientific research showing both the immense ecological importance of post-fire landscapes and the significant harm that can occur when such areas are logged.
Please take action now to urge the Forest Service to withdraw its Rim Fire proposal and refrain from logging these areas of critical post-fire habitat.
January 3, 2014 Action Alert ID# 127
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