Under the guise of restoring forests located in the four corners area of the American Southwest to their natural historic condition, the US Forest Service has proposed a massive logging project on over 400,000 acres of National Forest lands in northern Arizona as part of the so-called “Four Forests Restoration Initiative” (a.k.a., “4FRI”).
In addition to being based upon unsupported and outdated assumptions about historic fire regimes, historic forest conditions and fire ecology, the massive “4FRI” logging project poses a particular conservation risk to the Federally listed Mexican spotted owl by targeting owl habitat for logging (including nest core areas), ostensibly to “save” the owl from mixed-intensity fire.
Mexican Spotted Owl Copyright 2006 Monica Bond
The Forest Service has no evidence that fire is a threat to spotted owls
and has ignored current scientific research showing that:
Optimal Mexican spotted owl nesting/roosting habitat is much denser than the unnatural conditions the Forest Service intends to create on most of the 400,000 acres through logging.
Mexican spotted owls have left their unburned old forest nest core in order to winter in mixed-intensity fire areas, where the food they eat (i.e., the small mammal prey base) is 2 to 6 times more abundant than in unburned old forest.