Action Alert: Ask the Natural Resources Agency to Conserve Jackson Demonstration State Forest

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Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

Good news from our campaign in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF)! For the past several weeks, local activists have been tree-sitting in the “Mamma Tree” a 200 year old redwood measuring 77” diameter at breast height (dbh) in order to prevent CAL FIRE from cutting it down. The tree was marked as part of the “Caspar 500” THP which CAL FIRE argues is necessary in order to perform research and promote a healthy forest. EPIC and many other groups called out CAL FIRE for the hypocrisy of arguing that cutting down some of the largest trees in the forest would improve its health.

Caught in their lie, CAL FIRE has begrudgingly unmarked the Mamma Tree as well as some of its older neighbors. The grove, which is easily accessible from a popular trail, will survive this round of CAL FIRE timber harvesting. But make no mistake, the fight continues. The fact that these large, old trees were ever marked at all exemplifies CAL FIRE’s ongoing mismanagement in JDSF. With the looming climate crisis and biodiversity crisis, California cannot afford to continue chopping down its future.

EPIC is continuing our work to change the management of JDSF for the better. For instance, we are going above CAL FIRE’s head to argue to the Natural Resources Agency that California should conserve JDSF as part of Governor Newsom’s recently announced goal of conserving 30% of California lands by 2030. EPIC believes that if Governor Newsom is serious about this goal, he must conserve JDSF.

JDSF is an attractive option for conservation for several reasons. First, JDSF is already state owned land, which means no acquisition is required to move almost 50,000 acres into the “conserved” column . Moreover, JDSF is already beloved by local residents and tourists alike as a place for outdoor recreation. In addition, because the dominant species on JDSF is coastal redwood, preserving this forest will have uniquely beneficial carbon sequestration impacts. Coast redwood trees sequester carbon quicker and for a longer period of time than almost any other species on earth. On top of that, because JDSF is home to the endangered northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, the biodiversity benefits of a forest reserve would be quite large. Finally, JDSF houses culturally significant sites and biological resources for the Northern Pomo and Coast Yuki peoples that are threatened by ongoing timber harvesting. Preserving JDSF would also help preserve their cultural heritage.

The Natural Resources Agency is accepting comments on the following question as they prepare their report on which lands should be conserved:

“What land and coastal habitats, including urban and community green spaces, should California classify as having significant opportunity to contribute to our goals of achieving carbon neutrality and building climate resilience? Do some landscapes inherently have greater potential than others? Of these landscapes, which have the longest-term sequestration benefits?”

Send a personalized email to the Natural Resources Agency at [email protected] with the subject line “Expanding Climate Action Through Nature-Based Solutions” let them know that you believe JDSF should be classified as one of the best lands in the State for contributing to our carbon sequestration goals.

Comments are open until June 15th. Use your own words to explain to the Natural Resources Agency why they should be calling for the conservation of JDSF.