This study conducted by Stillwater Sciences for The Wilderness Society examines the effects of timber harvests on coho salmon populations in a heavily logged watershed on Alaska's Prince of Wales Island, and the results are alarming: Logging and related road construction and erosion near Staney Creek likely have caused a 60-percent reduction in annual returns of coho salmon to the Staney Creek watershed.
Given the ever-expanding clearcuts throughout the Tongass, logging is likely jeopardizing salmon populations throughout Southeast Alaska. Fortunately, there is a solution for maintaining healthy salmon populations in the Tongass -- conserving remaining old-growth forest and restoring damaged watersheds.
“Old-growth logging on the Tongass has come with significant cumulative impacts to critical ecosystem services such as fish and wildlife habitat, carbon storage and beautiful vistas,” said Evan Hjerpe, a Wilderness Society economist examining Tongass forest management. “This study highlights the need to shift management funds away from old-growth logging toward the protection of intact watersheds and the restoration of degraded watersheds.”