Mortgaging the future of Southeast Alaska and the Tongass National Forest

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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.”

PDF icon Staney-Creek-Coho.pdf3.8 MB