Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced a commitment to conserving the remaining old growth temperate rain forests on the Tongass National Forest. He stated that this will be accomplished by transitioning timber harvest out of old growth harvest towards using 2nd growth forest resources. This announcement comes on the heels of announcements by President Obama regarding the need to take action on climate change and to conserve, restore, and protect forest resources as a carbon bank to mitigate climate change. The Sitka Conservation Society applauds this announcement and feels that the time is past due for conserving what remains of our globally rare temperate rainforest old growth ecosystems.
With support from the National Forest Foundation’s Community Capacity and Land Stewardship Program, SCS has initiated projects with local partners that build community assets using locally milled timber products. These projects promote sustainable harvesting of second growth timber and micro timber sales that support small, local mills. SCS designs projects that provide vocational opportunities for the processing, exploration and use of these local timber products. One such project partnered with the local high school construction course to build a bike shelter. The shelter serves as a demonstration project that will be set up in a highly visible location, educating Sitkans and visitors on the story of the Tongass and second growth timber.