Lupine from Redwood Forest Defense
For six months we have lived aloft in a grove of redwoods slated to be clearcut by Green Diamond Resource Company. After a few months of quietude in the canopy, Green Diamond began logging in July in the units we are defending, avoiding the trees we live in but clearcutting close to 100 acres surrounding Strawberry Rock. For three weeks we watched and mourned from the treetops as heavy machinery constructed roads and loaded logs below us, twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Now, despite having completed work, Green Diamond refuses to file completion on their Timber Harvest Plan, which means these trees are still under threat. Until they do, we are remaining aloft in our two tree villages.
Recently, one treesitter witnessed a rare Pacific fisher moving through the canopy in the area we are defending. The fisher is a nocturnal, carnivorous mammal the size of a housecat, dependent on old growth forests and quietly headed for extinction because their habitat is being decimated by industrial logging. Fishers are closely related to the Humboldt marten, who just recently were granted listed status under the Endangered Species Act after decades of work by the Environmental Protection Information Center and other orgs. EPIC has been campaigning for protections for the fisher, too, but in May the Trump administration denied listing of the Northern California/Southern Oregon Pacific fisher population to which the one we saw belongs.
We are gravely concerned with the rapid population declines suffered by creatures such as the marten, fisher and Northern spotted owl, which are the deadly consequences of habitat fragmentation. At the time of colonization there were two million acres of intact redwood forest on the north coast, which Indigenous people had been stewarding since time immemorial. Settler land mismanagement has reduced the old growth redwoods to 5%. But all over so-called Humboldt County are second growth redwood forests that could mature into the next generation of old growth – if we let them. Instead, what is happening is these groves are being logged by billionaire-owned corporations and converted into tree plantations.
If Green Diamond continues unchecked, the entire 400,000 acres they “own” in Humboldt and Del Norte counties will be logged and replanted in rapid rotations, never growing beyond 45 years, creating vast monocultures of the most profitable tree species. This is not only a nightmare for biodiversity and habitat value, but it is also an incredibly dangerous forest management strategy from the perspective of firefighters and fire ecologists. Young, dense tree plantations are highly flammable. As the west coast is engulfed in smoke from yet another year of unprecedented fires, let’s not forget what caused these fires – not a cigarette butt or a gender reveal party but a century of extractive, profit driven timber harvest and the suppression of traditional Indigenous fire management strategies and natural wildfires.
Our health is inextricably linked to the health of these forests. We know that intact forests are not only home to rare and endangered species, but are also protecting us from the effects of climate change, with their ability to sequester carbon, keep our air breathable, and resist catastrophic fires.
This isn’t merely about saving the Pacific fisher or an individual redwood tree. This is about ending this capitalist death culture that is killing all of us.
Please reach out to us to get involved in our efforts in Tsurai or to build a coalition with other climate defense projects!