Dedicated to Protecting Our National Forests
Through the programs listed below we get the truth out about the importance of dense mature/old forest and the ecological benefits of natural processes, such as fire, for native wildlife and overall biodiversity of our forests, while we fight to end the devastation to our forest ecosystems from commercial logging.
High Intensity Fire
Great For Wildlife
Patches of high intensity fire in mature and old forest create one of the richest forest habitat types (“complex early seral forest”), with abundant standing dead trees (snags), native shrubs, downed logs and naturally regenerating conifers essential to healthy and productive wildlife populations.
Need It To Survive
Blacked Backed Woodpeckers like their mature and old growth forest well done. Each bird eats over 13,500 wood boring beetle larvae per year to survive - this means lots of dead trees (over 100 per acre) covering a large area (approximately 300 acres per pair).
California Spotted Owls
Choose It For Foraging
Spotted owls prefer unburned mature forest or mature forest that burns at lower intensity for nesting and roosting, but use mature forest that burns at high intensity to hunt the small mammals that they need to eat to survive. Without this habitat in their territories, populations decline.
The Pacific Fisher
A Very Rare Carnivore
Once thought to avoid higher intensity fire areas, it has been found to select dense old forest in both its unburned state (for denning and resting) and after it is burned in a higher intensity fire (for hunting small mammals).
that California Spotted Owls have returned to the Stanislaus National Forest in the area where the 2013 Rim Fire burned?
In fact, not only have the Spotted Owls returned (there are 70 owls occupying 39 territories) but they are occupying the area in numbers greater than are normally found in unburned mature and old forest.
This is because unburned habitat, which is suitable for spotted owl nesting and roosting, becomes some of the best and most preferred foraging / hunting habitat for the owls when it burns at high intensity (just ask the owls themselves as they seek it out above all other habitats when it is available).
This is because high-intensity fire creates perfect conditions for the Spotted Owl’s small mammal prey species to thrive and multiply. An easy meal means greater chances of survival for the owls and a better chance that they will successfully reproduce and that their babies will also survive!
Wildlife Species of the Month
This very rare bird depends upon large patches of habitat created when high-intensity fire burns in dense, old conifer forest. This habitat is only suitable for Black-Backeds for about 7-8 years after a fire burns, at which time they must find a newly created high-intensity fire area within 30 miles or so of their current home. The larger the high-intensity fire patch and the larger the trees the longer an area remains suitable. Post-fire logging projects eliminate their habitat and their presence in these areas.
Black-Backed Woodpeckers are specifically designed to fit into the burned landscape. They are highly camouflaged, with their jet black backs protecting them from predators. They have only three toes, instead of four (one of only two bird species in North America with this feature) which gives them added heel mobility and enhanced strike force, making it possible for them to forage and excavate nest cavities in recently killed trees (otherwise known as hard snags). In fact they mate for life, and excavate one or more new nest cavities every year. They are quite simply the homebuilders of the burned forest as their unused or old nest cavities provide nests for other animals such as mountain bluebirds, nuthatches and flying squirrels, to name a few. Because this woodpecker strikes dead trees (snags) which have not yet decayed with such force they evolved with fluid sacks in their skull which fill up before each strike (similar to an air bag in your car), protecting their brain from impact.
Unfortunately there exist no protections for this unique and important animal or its habitat, which is why the John Muir Project and the Center for Biological Diversity have petitioned to have it protected under both the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts.
God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun
shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.
John Muir in “The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West”
The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 81, Issue 483, January 1898