President Biden Permanently Protects Tongass National Forest

9 Eco-Entrepeneurs And Their Plans to Help Reforestation. Source: T20
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Biden Protects Tongass National Forest

The USA has taken a giant step toward preserving biodiversity. President Joe Biden has officially protected 9 million acres of land in the Tongass National Forest, making it the largest conservation effort in US history. The move will protect one of North America’s most ecologically diverse and important forests from the effects of logging, road construction, and other forms of development.

Biden Protects Tongass National Forest. Image of a pristine old growth forest.
President Biden protects the Tongass national forest forever. Image T20

Created by Roosevelt

The Tongass National Forest was first created as the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve under proclamation 491 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman; as such, he could see the future value of a place like this – if it were kept intact. The proclamation was intended to preserve the intact forest regardless of whatever business pressures or timber values occurred.

In 1907 another proclamation created the Tongass National Forest, and in 1908 they were combined. In 1909 President Roosevelt added even more land and islands to the park, eventually ending up at almost 17 million acres – the largest forest in America.  

Improved by Clinton

The “roadless rule” is a policy that was enacted during the Clinton administration, which forbids the construction of roads in undeveloped areas of national forests. The Tongass National Forest in Alaska is one of the largest national forests in the United States and contains some of the most pristine undeveloped lands in the country. Clinton’s Roadless Rule policy was designed to protect these areas from the destructive effects of logging and other development. President Biden has announced that he will be taking steps to protect this forest by expanding the roadless rule to cover almost 10 million acres of land. This will help to ensure that this beautiful and unique ecosystem is preserved for future generations.

Trump’s rollback

During Trump’s time in office, he attempted to open the area up to resource extraction, but in the first days of President Biden’s administration, he took steps to protect nearly one million acres of forest in Tongass National Forest. Trump’s rollback of environmental protections had put this pristine ecosystem at risk, but Biden’s executive order restores them. This is a huge victory for the environment and sets a strong precedent for future administrations.

Carbon Sequestration

The Tongass is extremely important, the trees in the Tongass National Forest are some of the oldest and largest in the world, and they are extremely efficient at storing carbon. It is estimated that the Tongass forest accounts for 40% of the carbon sequestered in the United States and as such it is extremely important to the rest of the world as well. The area, rich with wildlife and native plants, is also extremely important to biodiversity and will help the US reach its biodiversity goals of 30% by 2030.

“As our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass National Forest is key to conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Restoring roadless protections listens to the voices of Tribal Nations and the people of Southeast Alaska while recognizing the importance of fishing and tourism to the region’s economy.”

President Biden also provided funding for sustainable forestry projects in the Tongass National Forest. These projects will create jobs while also helping to protect and restore the forest. While some might argue that no forestry be allowed at all, by taking these steps to help local loggers, President Biden is ensuring that the Tongass National Forest will be preserved for future generations. It will continue to play a vital role in mitigating climate change.

This is a significant victory for environmental groups who have been fighting to protect the Tongass for decades.

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