Trinidad, Humboldt County, CA
For Immediate Release: An osprey forest in Humboldt County is being defended by treesitters who are making demands in an open letter to the company to stop clearcutting and industrial logging as a global climate catastrophe looms.
Karen Porter, Redwood Forest Defense, (949)705-8466
Meredith Dyer, Redwood Forest Defense, (707)382-8005
– Link to additional media in Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1-0Wf3rQmzpOfpd_KRhci6KLDKvRL3Ikn
– Open Letter to Green Diamond Resource Company from Redwood Forest Defense (see below)
A group of forest defenders have started defending another redwood grove a few miles north of Trinidad, CA. Green Diamond Resource Company plans to clearcut the forest under an active Timber Harvest Plan (THP). The 40.5 acres of the THP is almost entirely within the limits of the protection zone of two osprey nests (Pandion haliaetus). This bird of prey is a Species of Special Concern in California and is considered a key component of the ecosystem.
In an open letter addressed to the company, Karen Porter, a forest defender, commented, “Before colonization, old growth redwoods stretched across 2 million acres of coastal California. Now, a tiny fraction of that is protected in national and state parks, and the vast majority of it has been converted into tree plantations. Green Diamond’s management scheme – clearcutting every 45 years – is creating an ecological dystopia. We must allow these forests grow into the next generation of old growth habitat.”
While Green Diamond maintains two third-party sustainable certifications on their California timberlands, forest defenders call the company’s clearcutting unsustainable and say it directly contributes to the degradation of canopy connectivity, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.
Forest defenders have raised a treesit in a redwood tree slated to be cut that is seven feet in diameter and is located on a steep slope above McNeill Creek. This sit has been raised on another day of heatwave in the Arctic Circle. The treesitters say their actions are connected to broader issues surrounding climate change.
“Deforestation is a major driver of climate change worldwide, and because temperate rainforests such as this one are especially powerful carbon sinks, logging within the redwood bioregion has global implications. Green Diamond’s management is devastating for the species that call this ecosystem home – but it also affects other biomes worldwide. We are calling for a moratorium on industrial logging during this climate catastrophe.”
This forest lies just north of an area that has been protected from additional logging by treesitters for the last three months after forest defenders discovered active logging there in March.
The group states, “We call for Green Diamond to cancel these two Timber Harvest Plans, but more broadly, to take responsibility for the generations of harm they have caused – the legacy of colonization they benefit from and their profit-driven destruction of habitat. We also call on CalFire, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop approving and supporting Timber Harvest Plans that destroy habitat for the threatened species they are tasked with protecting. Now is the time to realize the value of these forests and restore them rather then allowing further degradation.”
To: Gary Rynearson, Chief Communications Officer and Forest Policy Director, Green Diamond Resource Company
Forest Stewardship Council – US Board of Directors
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Board of Directors
Stefan Bergmann, Certification Forester, Technical Associate, Scientific Certification Systems, Inc
Dennis Hall, Forestry and Fire Protection Administrator, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Steve Madrone, 5th District Supervisor, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors
From: Redwood Forest Defense
Subject: An Open Letter to Green Diamond Resource Company from Redwood Forest Defense
Monday, June 29, 2020
Dear Mr. Rynearson, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, department leaders in managing the State of California’s forests and wildlife, and international agencies certifying sustainable timber production,
We, a group of community members advocating for the health of the forests in the Humboldt County bio-region of Northern California, write to inform you that Green Diamond Resource Company is irresponsibly managing timberland in Humboldt County without adequately mitigating for climate change and biodiversity loss.
We are protesting Green Diamond’s forestry practices and, in Timber Harvest Plan (THP) 1-19-00215 HUM, have raised and are dwelling in multiple treesits throughout Unit A. In addition to the trees now actively hosting human life, several are connected with aerial traverses. It would be extremely dangerous to fall trees or operate machinery anywhere within the single, large unit in this THP. These actions are in addition to multiple treesits in the adjacent THP 1-18-00157.
Deforestation is a major driver of climate change worldwide, and because temperate rainforests such as this one are especially powerful carbon sinks, logging within the redwood bioregion has global implications. Green Diamond’s management is devastating for the species that call this ecosystem home – but it also affects other biomes worldwide. We are calling for a moratorium on industrial logging during this climate catastrophe.
We call for Green Diamond to cancel these two Timber Harvest Plans, but more broadly, to take responsibility for the generations of harm they have caused – the legacy of colonization they benefit from and their profit-driven destruction of habitat. We also call on CalFire, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop approving and supporting Timber Harvest Plans that destroy habitat for the threatened species they are tasked with protecting. Now is the time to realize the value of these forests and restore them rather then allowing further degradation.
Overall this forest is remarkably decadent, especially compared to surrounding Green Diamond timberlands. Areas within this THP are of particular value and deserving of special protection. This unit displays ecological value not commonly found within second growth and contains what could be the next generation of old growth, if it is allowed to survive and thrive.
– Green Diamond to immediately file for Final Completion or Cancellation (as deemed appropriate) with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) for THPs 1-19-00215 HUM and 1-18-00157 HUM.
– Green Diamond to cease and desist across its holdings, all forestry practices such as clearcutting (even aged management) that compromise habitat connectivity throughout the forest canopy to less than 71% on average.
– Green Diamond to prioritize species habitat by retaining coniferous and hardwood trees, snags and stumps that demonstrate the following characteristics: broken-topped crowns, dead-topped crowns, half crowns, sparse crowns, upturned leaders, leaning holes, forked or multiple bole below breast height, conks on lower bole, conks on upper bole or crown, resinosis, fire scars, fire blackened-bark, fall scars, excavated cavities, mid-bole cavities, basal cavities, root cavities, reiterations (all types including immediate, delayed and traumatic), large lateral limbs, “cathedrals” or baseless sprouts, in addition to retaining any endemic tree and plant species.
– Green Diamond to pay annual reparations ad infinitum to local Indigenous tribes and be willing to offer any land within the Tribes ancestral territories upon their request for re-acquisition.
– Cal Fire, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to cease and desist approving, assisting, and supporting Timber Harvest Plans that include forestry practices such as clearcutting (even aged management) that compromise habitat connectivity throughout the forest canopy to less than 71% on average.
– Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to remove Green Diamond’s sustainable forestry certification which exploits and misinforms the general public.
GREEN DIAMOND FALLS SHORT ON ITS OWN POLICIES AND MANIPULATES THE PUBLIC AND CERTIFYING AGENCIES
Green Diamond is unable to be hold itself to its own policies, which it uses as leverage to instill confidence with the public, state forestry departments, and agencies that certify Green Diamond as sustainable. Within the forest of THP 1-19-00215, especially in areas adjacent to the watercourses in the lower reaches of Unit A, we have surveyed trees displaying up to 7′ in diameter at breast height (DBH), complex crowns, reiterations, deeply furrowed bark, bole hollows, and large lateral limbs. We have found a plethora of large, old trees that meet or exceed Green Diamond’s criteria for Wildlife Trees, as described in Section V of the THP. Many qualifying habitat trees within the clearcut, the Watercourse and Lake Protection Zone (WLPZ) and Geology zone are slated to be cut.
GREEN DIAMOND ENDANGERS ENDEMIC SPECIES AND PERFORMS INADEQUATE BOTANICAL SURVEYS
Today, Green Diamond owns 373,724 acres of land in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, the majority of which is located within 20 miles of the sensitive Pacific coastline. As one of the major landholders within the broadly imperiled temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, the responsibility Green Diamond holds to maintain a healthy forest ecosystem is hard to overstate. THP 1-19-00215 threatens a diverse second growth forest that is host to species that only grow in this specific bioregion. This THP threatens regionally endemic pricklecone pine (Pinus muricata), as well as the more broadly distributed coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and grand fir (Abies grandis).
This forest contains a varied understory dominated by species such as red alder (Alnus rubra), huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), swordfern (Polystichum munitum), and the rare stag horn’s clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum). These species will be severely disrupted by Green Diamond’s clearcut harvesting which will give way for invasive, non-native species like pampas grass (Cortaderia spp.) and French, Scotch and Spanish broom (Genista & Cystisus spp.) to dominate, which are already encroaching in previously disturbed areas. It is important to note that Green Diamond’s Botanical Survey for this THP, which encompasses 40.5 acres, lasted for merely one-hour and occurred in the late fall, a time of year when many rare, threatened and endangered plant species have passed their notable flowering periods.
GREEN DIAMOND DESTROYS NOTABLE WILDLIFE HABITAT AND SELLS THE LUMBER AS SUSTAINABLE
Green Diamond consciously aims to profit from the destruction of endangered species habitat. THP 1-19-00215’s 40.5 acres is almost entirely within the .25 mile protective buffer zone of two Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) activity sites and they intend to clearcut it. Additionally, Green Diamond is complicit in the intentional destruction of the endangered Humboldt marten (Martes americana humboldtensis), of which there are less than 400 remaining. CDFW, who issued the “safe harbor agreement” to Green Diamond to destroy the marten’s habitat is being sued. The complex forest found in this THP, with its many large snags, is prime habitat for the Humboldt marten, and as short rotation clearcut logging continues across the species’ range, this habitat is becoming increasingly rare outside of state and national parks.
GREEN DIAMOND CLEARCUTS FOREST AMIDST THE COLLAPSE OF OUR CLIMATE
We would like to call attention not merely to the conservation value within this particular THP, but also Green Diamond’s failings which are ownership-wide. Green Diamond primarily uses clearcut, or, even aged management, which is incredibly destructive to canopy connectivity and habitat value. With 45 year rotations, Green Diamond is rapidly transforming vast intact forest landscapes into monocultural, low wildlife value tree plantations. We dispute the company’s claim that their management facilitates carbon sequestration. Only by allowing the next generation of old growth to develop will the most carbon be sequestered.
GREEN DIAMOND IS COMPLICIT IN A HARMFUL LEGACY OF COLONIALISM AND EXPLOITATION
Before colonization, old growth redwoods stretched across 2 million acres of coastal California. Now, a tiny fraction of that is protected in national and state parks, and the vast majority of it has been converted into tree plantations. Green Diamond’s management scheme – clearcutting every 45 years – is creating an ecological dystopia. We must allow these forests to grow into the next generation of old growth habitat.
Green Diamond Resource Company’s profits were set in motion by clearcutting the forests within the ancestral lands of Indigenous people in Washington state. In California, Green Diamond continues to profit from the legacy of bloodshed, exploitation, and genocide that followed logging camps and rail lines. In 1948, Simpson Logging (now known as Green Diamond Resource Company), based out of Washington state, expanded and purchased forests in the Northern California area. From its Northern California timberlands, the company harvested redwood trees for lumber and pulp for paper products. With an economic boom and a high demand for timber from settler communities, logging intensified and further decimated wildlife populations and canopy connectivity. By the late 1960s, most of the old-growth forests in so-called Northern California had been clearcut at least once. Now second growth forests are being clearcut, and in some areas, third growth.
GDRCo is complicit in, and profits off of, the legacy of colonization and genocide here on the north coast. We know that industrial logging is a death sentence, for the Northern spotted owl, for the Humboldt marten, and for humankind as we rely on temperate rainforests in a multitude of ways. Forest defenders will continue to resist GDRCo’s extractive timber harvest plans in this area.