Thursday, June 15, 2006

Maxxam/Pacific Lumber Old Growth Logging Update

After a century of logging, Marbled Murrelets are rapidly going extinct. Their habitat has been reduced to small, scattered islands of ancient trees. Human activity in State and National Parks has attracted predators that eat Murrelet eggs and young. Nearly all pristine Old Growth Redwood stands legally available to Maxxam/Pacific Lumber have been cut. The remaining few large pristine Redwood groves in PL holdings were made off limits for 50 years in a weak attempt to protect what little remains of Marbled Murrelet habitat. The company now sets their sights on “Residual” Old Growth Redwood stands, the largest of which is now on the chopping block.

In addition to the Redwoods, PL proposes to log in pristine and residual Old-Growth Douglas Fir groves in Bear River. One of the proposed clearcuts covers over 20 acres of Old Growth.

Marbled Murrelet Researcher Rick Golightly recently wrote the following.

“The focus of recovery of Marbled Murrelets has been the protection, and in some
cases acquisition, of forests dominated by old growth trees. It has been assumed that RNSP (Redwood National & State Park) should be capable of providing a reserve of good habitat for Marbled Murrelets (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1997).

Although RNSP contains substantial quantities of habitat
appropriate for murrelets (US Fish and Wildlife Service 1997), their reproductive success
within these areas was very poor in 2001 – 2003, including within some of the largest
contiguous blocks of old growth forest.”

Predators can be attracted to human presence and human-related noise
(Miller et al. 1998) and human provisioning of artificial food resources (e.g., creating
accessible garbage; Marzluff et al. 1994).

Predation leading to nest failure appears to be a predominant factor in the poor reproduction, therefore anthropogenic presence and activity can be deleterious if it causes predation risk.

Parks should not be considered intrinsically good habitat without the evaluation of habitat quality and specifically predation risk.”


-Ancient Redwoods Threatened by Pacific Lumber-

Nanning Creek and The “Bonanza ”Timber Harvest Plan

Logging of this beautiful ancient grove began in November 2005 and stopped on March 24th - the beginning of the annual Marbled Murrelet nesting protection. These endangered sea birds are rapidly going extinct in California and Nanning Creek Grove was one of their last, best refuges. When the logging started, tree-sitters occupied several huge trees while other people repeatedly blocked the gate to slow logging and bring attention to the plight of the forest.
There are reports that other trees marked for cut are still standing and it is doubtful that PL is done logging there.

Logging is prohibited in the “Bonanza” THP right now but nesting protection ends Sept. 15th. Most of the grove was “selectively ”cut including many critical giant trees that the Murrelets require to raise their young. After the logging stopped, some tree-sitters remained, causing concern by fellow tree-sitters and other forest activists that the sitters would disrupt Murrelet breeding in what remains of the giant trees. Some tree-sitters contend that the birds will come back when the tree-sits are gone, a claim contradicted by recent studies (excerpts at top).

Elk River “Second Serving THP” #1-05-079

This proposed logging plan is located in the “Elkheart Complex” (aka Boulder Creek Grove). According to wildlife agency documents, it is the best unprotected Marbled Murrelet habitat remaining in PL holdings. "Second Serving" proposes to log 196 acres including 78.6 acres of "Class E" Murrelet nesting habitat (the best of the best) in Boulder Creek Grove. This plan has not yet been approved.

Rejected Old Growth Logging Plan Resurrected: “Pitchfork” #1-06-098

This logging plan threatens 292 acres in Bear Creek near Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This includes relatively largeof Class B Marbled Murrelet stands . Class B stands have not been surveyed to protocol.
This plan may rival “Second Serving” in magnitude and removal of Old Growth Redwoods.
The plan has already faced opposition. PL re-submitted the plan after approval was blocked by Dept. of Water Quality staff the first time around.

Monument Ridge:“Puma THP” #1-06-094

This 134-acre clearcut logging plan is located near Mt. Pierce on the Eel River side of Monument Ridge. It includes roughly 30 or 40 acres of Old Growth Redwood and Douglas Fir in the headwaters of Kiler and Dinner Creeks. The watersheds in this area have been clearcut extensively in the past 10 years and are yet another example of what bad forestry looks like. You can see the THP area and these impacted watersheds from highway 101 on the right as you pass Scotia going south. This plan has not yet been approved.

-Old Growth Douglas Fir and Hardwoods Threatened by Pacific Lumber-

Bear River: Threatened Primeval Douglas Fir Forest

Four PL logging plans target Old Growth Douglas Fir forest in Bear River. Two of these plans, “PC Road” and “Brush Up” have been approved. The other two plans, “Mas Patron” 06-036 and “Rock/Chadbourne” 06-037 have not yet been approved.
Although high quality, or “clear”, Old Growth Douglas Fir lumber fetches a much lower price than Old Growth Redwood, these large, ancient groves will be clearcut as Maxxam continues to liquidate PLs assets.
The term “clear” refers to the lack of knots in the finished lumber. Some giant trees don’t have any branches on the first 80 or 90 feet of the trunk. When these sections are milled they fetch a higher price than wood from a tree farm.

you can send comment letters on individual logging plans to California Department of Forestry at;


California Department of Forestry
attn. forest practice
135 Ridgeway Ave.
Santa Rosa, Ca. 9540


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