Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska – When railroad magnate Edward Harriman fell ill from stress and overwork at work, his doctors recommended he take a sea voyage. Unable to do anything simple, Harriman filled a ship with mostly American scientists, artists, and writers, and sailed up the coast of Alaska for two months in the summer of 1899.

The expedition, which also included famous conservationists John Muir and George Byrd Grinnell, found two Alaskans where they were going, one to take in and one to rescue. Each is in contrast to the other. The first places to be saved were the great coastal rainforests of the southeast Alaska Panhandle, a magnificent world of mountains, ice fields, tidewater glaciers, rocky fjords, coastal brown bears, bald eagles, and 11,000 kilometers of coastline.

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Eight years later, in 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt took a bold step in this direction by creating the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. Today, the Tongass contains two national monuments and 19 designated wilderness areas. It also has countless unclogging rivers and streams, and some of the last wild Pacific salmon runs in the world.

What Are The Largest Rainforests In The World?

Dominated by Sitka spruce and western hemlock — hardy conifers up to 10 feet in diameter and 800 years old — the Tongass represents the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world. Many of the great trees bear long beards of lichen and moss, and rain falls from them, and here are the calls of crows and the liquid songs of the hermit Wedg Swainson.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

The Trump administration has announced its intention to open more than half of the Tongass region – 9.5 million hectares of forest – to development. First the roads, then most of what follows: lots, dams, dwellings, and so on. To do that, the U.S. Forest Service must exempt Tongass residents from a major conservation initiative, known as the No Road Rule, which in 2001 banned the construction of new roads. On nearly 60 million hectares of intact national forest land in 39 states.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska .

Mist rises from the forest near Ford Terror, a narrow fjord in the Tongass. Wolfgang Kahler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Alaska Birding & Spring Migration

The Forest Service recently held hearings in communities across Southeast Alaska, taking testimony. Most attendees saw it for what it was: a dog and pony show. The six alternatives range from number one, which is to maintain the no-road rule, to number six, which would once again open the Tongass for business.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska .

Trump’s proposed attack on the Tongass Islands is just one of many initiatives the administration has taken to open up much of Alaska’s wilderness to development. The administration has covered up oil drilling in the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a disastrous budget bill. The Pebble Mine Project, a massive gold and copper mine in southwest Alaska, has been deemed dead after the Obama administration ruled it posed too serious a threat to the world’s larger salmon populations — a staggering 62 million fish last year. – In nearby Bristol Bay. But now, the project is on the rise again, as the US Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that it does not oppose the Pebble Mine, leaving the decision to the United States Army Corps of Engineers – an agency with environmental misfortune.

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Shortly after Teddy Roosevelt created the Tongass National Forest, timber workers on Puget Sound in Washington state set their sights on the big trees, just a boat ride north. As he looked at federally protected lands in the United States under threat, John Muir said: “No dollar is safe.”Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Valdivian Temperate Forest: Rainforest At The End Of The World

Initially, logging in the Tongass was on a small scale. But as the decades passed, and more of the roads that looked like tall trees disappeared, the battle intensified. Twenty years ago, during the Clinton presidency, 1.6 million people responded to the “off-road rule” proposed by the US Forest Service. In 600 public hearings and in written comments, more than 95 percent said they supported the rule of no new roads on undisturbed national forests. Our national forests – already fragmented by hundreds of thousands of miles of roads that paved the way for everything from logging to dams to recreation to mining and grazing – needed a break. People have spoken. Standing trees were more valuable than felled ones.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska .

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Logging in the Tongass has received significant support – more than $600 million in the past 20 years.

In 2001, the Forest Service passed the Roadless Law. The Tongass, already victims of widespread deforestation that in some places has led to entire islands, valleys and mountains being cleared of trees, are finally getting the protection they deserve.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Trump Strips Alaska’s Tongass National Forest Of Roadless Rule Protections

My small town of Gustavus, Alaska, accessible only by boat or plane, lies across the icy fjord from Chichagof Island, one of the largest islands in the Tongass. When I first came here 40 years ago, I learned to sea kayak, fish for salmon, and make room for bears. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This land nourishes me and my neighbors, and we defend it. At the hearing in Gustavus, 100% of attendees opposed opening the Tongass to logging and other development projects.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

I remember passing the base of the road as if it were a renaissance, a time of light and hope. I remember hunters (commercial, sporting, and subsistence), deer hunters, berry pickers, indigenous elders and clans, kayak guides, poets, politicians, artists, parents, children, and many others celebrating. We can once again enter our favorite forest—the pristine one, with its clean salmon streams—without worrying about losing a day. Most of the Tong Islands are still intact. Our forests will be here to stay.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

I was lucky enough to join a Harriman expedition in 2001, the same year the Highway Traffic Act was passed. I remember my animated conversation with my shipmates as we descended the Tongass River, step by step, following the bear’s trail, until we fell silent and stopped, suspended in amazement.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska .

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Paul Alapak, a forestry professor at the University of Montana, talked about how the Tongass contains more living plant life per area, and has stored and sequestered more carbon, than almost anywhere on Earth.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

A logger works to cut down western hemlock on Prince of Wales’s Tongass Island in 1958. Corbis via Getty Images

Later, we discussed how the oversized trees of the Tongass would only make sense if you had no environmental awareness, and saw the trees only as wood. Like many people. In the early 1950s, entire mountains and valleys were cut down to feed two pulp mills on 50-year contracts. Some of the trees went into timber for construction. Some of them are in musical instruments. Most became paper, rayon, cellophane, and later “fluff puff” to help make disposable diapers. Countless others were shipped “round” to Asia.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Investigation Blames U.s. Forest Service For Giving Alaska Grant Used For Roadless Rule Fight

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, as market demand for Tongass timber declined, Alaska’s congressional delegation struggled to preserve the industry, propping it up at great cost to American taxpayers: $600 million over the past 20 years. The U.S. Forest Service’s short sale offers every 1,000 feet of lumber for less money than the cost of a Big Mac. Another project generated just 2.5 cents for every dollar the Forest Service spent on road construction and document preparation.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Today, building new roads in the Tongass would cost about $200,000 to $500,000 per mile. It’s crazy. Especially since the timber industry has bottomed out so badly that a recent proposed sale to the Forest Service, in a portion of the forest still open for action, received only one bid.

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Regardless, the attack continues, led by Trump and Alaska’s Republican congressional delegation. They say their goal is to eliminate the “suffocating” road rule.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Wildlife Nation : Alaska Raptors

In February, President Trump told Republican Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy: “Mike, whenever you have a problem, call me.” Dunleavy did so, then sent a letter asking the president to help “save what’s left” of the timber industry. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski added that she expects Trump to push for a complete repeal of the no-way rule.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

And we shouldn’t forget Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who once said that a healthy forest can be healthy in many ways, including creating jobs. He explained that the works cut down large areas of the forest.Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

This is precisely what we don’t need in a world where 7.7 billion people burn so many fossil fuels that we send 2.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every second of every day. Cutting down the Tongass, one of America’s best carbon sequestering forests, would be a crime, not a job. In the past 20 years, more than 800 million hectares of forests worldwide – an area 47 times larger than the Tongass – have been cleared by logging. All of this contributes to the destruction of a stable, habitable planet. If you can’t stop here, in Alaska, where can you be?

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

Temperate Rainforest Vegetation, Southeast Alaska

Along with ocean phytoplankton, ancient forests are the best we have. They are the lungs of the earth. In an advocacy film he produced with Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg,

“There is a magic machine that sucks up coal,” says writer George Monbiot

Is There A Tropical Rainforest In Alaska

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