The 33 giant sequoia groves in the Southern Sierra Nevada are among California’s greatest treasures. We all want to protect these ancient forests for future generations. Yet the current national monument intended to protect the groves may actually be putting them in danger. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.
The forests surrounding the Giant Sequoias are dying. Dense and overstocked conditions have significantly increased the risk of catastrophic wildfire and insect infestations in the area. Over the past two years, over 20 percent of the Giant Sequoia National Monument has burned, including over 62,000 acres in the 2015 Rough Fire.
These conditions are due to the lack of thinning and restoration activities on unhealthy forests inside the monument and on the Sequoia National Forest. It’s only a matter of time before the Southern Sierra’s tree mortality epidemic affects the giant sequoia groves themselves.
While the 33 giant sequoia groves and associated buffer areas encompass 90,000 acres, the Giant Sequoia National Monument established by President Bill Clinton is three times larger in size, at 327,000 acres.
Unfortunately, Clinton’s Proclamation that governs management of the monument significantly restricts the ability of federal land managers to remove dead and dying trees inside the monument, and to improve the health and natural resiliency of forests surrounding the sequoia groves.
The Department of the Interior has included the Giant Sequoia National Monument as part of its review of national monuments created under the federal Antiquities Act. The department is now accepting public comments as it considers changes to a number of national monuments throughout the country. This process offers an opportunity to share your opinion on the best way to protect the giant sequoia groves. Click here to send a comment.
Please Associated California Loggers and California forestry groups in seeking important changes to the national monument, which include:
–Reducing the size of the monument to allow the U.S. Forest Service to better protect the sequoia groves, public safety, and other unique resources from the growing threats facing forests in the Southern Sierras, including catastrophic wildfire and massive tree mortality due to overstocking, climate change, and insect infestations;
-Amending language in the Proclamation prohibiting the removal of hazard trees that threaten public safety and access.
If you support this effort, please take two minutes and click here to send a message to the Department of the Interior. Join us in telling the federal government that the best way to protect the giant sequoias is to actively manage the forests surrounding these ancient giants.