Center for Biological Diversity
Protecting endangered species and wild
places of western North America
December 20, 2000
ENVIRONMENTALISTS APPEAL SALVAGE TIMBER SALE ON GILA NATIONAL FOREST
The Center for Biological
Diversity (CBD) today appealed to the Forest Service's Southwest Regional
Office to withdraw the proposed Corner Mountain fire salvage timber sale
on the Gila National Forest in the Mogollon Mountains northeast of Glenwood.
The salvage sale, approved by Gila Forest Supervisor Marcia Andre on November
6, calls for clearcutting 2 million board feet of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir
on 340 acres. A large portion of this volume will be comprised of large
trees7,000 trees over 16 inches will be cut with 2,500 of these
being larger than 24 inches. The Corner Mountain area contains huge old
growth trees, borders an inventoried roadless area, and harbors at least
half a dozen Mexican spotted owl nest sites. The Forest Service has 45
days to respond to the appeal. If the appeal is denied, CBD will sue in
Fire "salvage" timber sales, especially clearcuts such as Corner Mountain, are a highly damaging form of logging. Often compared to "mugging a burn victim," salvage logging has been shown in scientific studies to compact fragile soils, leading to increased levels of erosion and sedimentation in streams and rivers. Because of these concerns, some scientists have called for a prohibition on mechanized logging and road building within fire areas. "The Forest Service has steadfastly ignored ample scientific literature demonstrating the harmful effects of salvage logging to forest soils and wildlife. Corner Mountain should clearly be left to recover on its own," stated Todd Schulke, restoration coordinator with CBD.
Today's appeal is the second filed by CBD against the project. The first was upheld in June because the Forest Service failed to consider logging's impact on wildlife species, including elk, mule deer, Mexican vole, Merriam's turkey, and hairy woodpeckers. According to the Forest Service's own predictions, many of the trees to be logged may no longer be merchantable due to insects and decay. Nonetheless, the agency continues to promote the sale. "The Forest Service has no reason for issuing this decision other than pure bureaucratic stubbornness. We have actively opposed the Corner Mountain project since inception, and will take our case to federal court if necessary," concluded Segee.