Last Chance to Tell the Forest Service: Preserve Remaining Snag Forest Habitat in the Rim Fire Area! Please Take Action by July 27, 2016.

Wildflowers in Rim Fire Snag Forest: Stanislaus National Forest, June 2016.  Photo Credit: Chad Hanson.

The Stanislaus National Forest is in the process of finalizing their Rim fire “Reforestation” decision which will determine whether they will maintain the unlogged high intensity burned areas which still exist in the National Forest portion of the Rim Fire or whether they will clearcut these areas to fuel the local biomass industry.  They are under immense pressure from commercial interests and need to hear from you that the “snag forest habitat” created when mature forest burns at high intensity is extremely important for native biodiversity and should be preserved, not logged.  These areas are currently home to rare and imperiled species such as Black-backed Woodpeckers (pictured below) and California Spotted Owls, as well as White-headed and Hairy Woodpeckers, Western Bluebirds, Mountain Bluebirds, Wrens, Warblers and Flycatchers, to name a few.  All of whom will be evicted if additional logging is approved.

Black-backed Woodpecker: Stanislaus National Forest:  Photo Credit: Craig Swolgaard.

But why are these areas so rich in avian diversity?  Because the standing dead trees provide food for native wood boring beetles, and these beetles in turn provide food for woodpeckers who create nest cavities each year. In subsequent years these nest cavities are then reused by secondary cavity nesters, such as bluebirds and wrens.  In the meantime, soils recently fertilized by the fire start regenerating not just pine, fir, cedar and oak seedlings, but also wildflowers, grasses and shrubs.  This lush undergrowth provides habitat for myriad flying insects as well as nesting areas for shrub and ground nesting birds.  All of the flying insects then provide an abundance of food for the birds which catch and eat insects while in flight (like Olive sided flycatchers and Mountain bluebirds).  Combined, these natural processes which follow high intensity fire in mature forest create an ecosystem which greatly benefits bird populations, by making it easier for them to nest, feed and ultimately reproduce.

Grasses, shrubs, wildflowers and regenerating pine trees in a high intensity burn area creates some of the best habitat for native bird species: Rim Fire, Stanislaus National Forest, June 2016.  Photo Credit: Chad Hanson.

Please Take Action to help us Protect these Areas Today: Email Barnie Gyant, U.S. Forest Service Deputy Regional Forester (bgyant@fs.fed.us) and Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester (rmoore@fs.fed.us), and tell them that the remaining snag forest habitat within the Rim fire should be valued and preserved as wildlife habitat and that you oppose any further logging of these areas.  Selling off the future of our native bird species to the government-subsidized and greenhouse-gas-billowing biomass industry is not a way to protect our forests, the environment or hedge against the negative effects of climate change.

Please also write letters to the editor to the Sonora Union Democrat (letters@uniondemocrat.com) and Fresno Bee (http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/submit-letter/) newspapers opposing the Forest Service’s Rim Fire Reforestation and Biomass Logging Plans (please include your full name and contact information).

If you want more information, including JMP Comments on the Rim Fire Projects CLICK HERE or Contact us at info@johnmuirproject.org.

 

Thank you for being a protector of snag forest habitat and all of its inhabitants.

 

Rachel Fazio

Associate Director 

John Muir Project

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