Press statement: Biden administration issues executive order to protect old-growth forests
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Biden administration has issued an Earth Day Executive Order directing federal agencies to conduct an inventory of mature and old-growth forests so that policies can be developed to protect them.
In response, the following statement is from Sam Evans, senior attorney and leader of SELC’s National Forests and Parks Program.
“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that the agencies who manage our federal public lands do not yet have a policy for protecting and restoring old growth forests or for ensuring that our forests are storing carbon to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises. We applaud the administration for taking an important step today toward recognizing and protecting old growth and mature forests as climate assets. Forests are the original carbon capture technology–protecting old forests that have been sequestering and storing carbon for decades or centuries is a critical step to fight the climate crisis and reestablish U.S. leadership on climate issues.”
“Federally owned forests, especially in the Southeast, have high potential to store more carbon while restoring majestic old growth, protecting biodiversity, and boosting local economies that rely on forest visitation. Taking stock of existing old growth and mature forests is an essential first step, but it’s already obvious that we must end logging in our oldest, most carbon-dense, and most resilient publicly owned forests. We look forward to working with the administration to quickly develop policies to protect and restore old-growth forests on federal lands.”