Poor Windy Project, Pink Panther Sale 29-14. Photo credit: Joseph Vaile, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center
Why this forest is special
The forests in the Poor Windy project, in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide, are a critically important region for wildlife. These Bureau of Land Management forests form a habitat bridge between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest. They’re surrounded by industrial clearcuts and provide the only habitat in the area for several mature and old-growth forest-dependent species. These public forests offer many opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing and nature viewing and are critical for water quality.
The Poor Windy Project
The project will log more than 15,000 acres, including 4,573 acres of mature and old-growth trees that are essential nesting, roosting and foraging habitat for the threatened northern spotted owl and many other species. Old forests in the Poor Windy project will be replaced by ecologically and carbon impoverished tree plantations, grown as a timber crop.
Carbon storage and biodiversity
Western Oregon’s mature and old-growth forests are distinguished by multilayered, overhead tree canopies where towering old trees grow alongside large standing dead trees, called snags, and large downed trees that lie on the forest floor. These complex forests are some of the most carbon rich in the world and protecting them is key to lessening the harms from climate change. The forests slated to be cut at Poor Windy are home to Pacific fishers, black bears, red tree voles, northern spotted owls, and myriad other forest-dwelling species. Protection of these old forests is the only way to maintain healthy streams and rivers, where the iconic Pacific salmon spawn.
Why these trees should remain standing
The BLM claims logging these mature and old-growth trees is needed to “contribute to timber volume.” These mature and old-growth forests are some of the last in the area, surrounded by private industrial plantations. Tree plantations, which are clear cut every 40 to 60 years, hold a fraction of the carbon compared to the BLM’s old forests and are at increased risk of fire. Stripping away trees and bulldozing steep hillsides to create logging roads will cause significant erosion and dump sediments into streams. The streams and the fish that depend on them are already compromised by severe sedimentation from more than 320 miles of logging roads. Additionally, studies show significant long-term decreased summer stream flows in areas converted from mature and old-growth Douglas fir forests to plantations.
The future of mature and old-growth trees in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide
The Western Oregon BLM office often puts logging above wildlife, watersheds, recreation and other forest values. Nearly 1 million acres of mature and old-growth trees are at grave risk of being logged unless the agency stops targeting these trees for industrial logging.
The BLM has approved this project. Logging of these mature and old-growth forests is happening now. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's biological opinion covering this area is being challenged in court, but the old trees in this region likely won’t survive.
How you can help
Sign our targeted letter to Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Haaland to call for durable protections for mature and old-growth forests on federal lands.
Submit Letters to the Editor about this project to your local newspaper.
Send emails and make phone calls to the Oregon Bureau of Land Management office to oppose the Poor Windy logging project.
Local contact: Joseph Vaile, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, email@example.com