Subject: FW: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #22

Subject: SW BIODIVERSITY ALERT #22

* ************* Southwest Biodiversity Alert #22 *****************
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*            southwest center for biological diversity           *
*                      ksuckling@sw-center.org                   *
*             http://www.envirolink.org/orgs/sw-center           *
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1.  REPORT DISPUTES FIRE/FOREST HEALTH MYTHS
2.  GOSHAWK ESA PETITION DENIED AGAIN
3.  SENATE PLANS SW FOREST HEALTH HEARING FOR JULY

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REPORT DISPUTES FIRE/FOREST HEALTH MYTHS

On behalf of the Southwest Forest Alliance, the Southwest Center has
released a report entitled "Fire and Forest Ecosystem Health in the
American Southwest: A Brief Primer."  Focussing primarily on
ponderosa pine forests, the report disputes many fire & forest
health myths:

- Pre-European ponderosa pine forests were not all open "savannahs"
of 8-10 trees per acre as the Forest Service is fond of saying.
While such forests existed, they represented the lower elevation and
quality sites.  There are many early European descriptions of
heavily canopied ponderosa forests. Subjective descriptions by early
explorers used to eastern hardwood forests, furthermore, must be put
in historical context: tree counts and photographs of areas
described as "open and parklike" show them to often exceed 100 trees
per.

- While many modern ponderosa pine forests are dominated by
excessive numbers of small trees, the Forest Service and timber
industry conveniently ignore that there are also far, far fewer
mature and old growth trees today than in the past.

-  Also conveniently forgotten is the well documented contribution
of overgrazing to creating today's dense stands of small pine trees.

-  Political calls for increased logging to reduce the threat of
wildfire, ignore the well demonstrate fact the logging is a major
contributor to unnaturally high fuel loads.  Some of the Southwest's
largest fires, and several fires from this summer, started in timber
sales and were fueled by heavy accumulations of logging slash.

To obtain a copy of the report contact ksuckling@sw-center.org. 
Include mailing address.


GOSHAWK ESA PETITION DENIED AGAIN

Exactly three months after a federal judge overturned the Fish and
Wildlife Service's negative 90-day finding on a petition to list the
Northern Goshawk as an endangered species in the western United
States, the Service has again denied the imperiled species official
protection under the ESA.  Using the same faulty reasoning of the
first denial, the Service argued that regardless of whether the
species is declining in the West, it can not be protected for
taxonomic reasons: a population of species, the agency claims, can
not contain more than one subspecies (there are 3 goshawk subspecies
in the West).  The Service came to this conclusion even though its
own regulations permit the listing of populations which contain more
than one subspecies.

The Southwest Center and a coalition of plaintiffs from every
western state plan to challenge the illegal ruling.


SENATE PLANS SW FOREST HEALTH HEARING FOR JULY

Arizona senators Kyl and McCain have tentatively scheduled senate
hearing on Southwest forest health for July 30th in Washington, D.C. 
Kyl held a hearing on the topic last August in Flagstaff, AZ which
was stacked with industry and county government representatives. The
D.C. hearing are supposed to be more focused on scientific
perspectives.