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Friday, July 3, 2009

Oregon: Logging Rule Is Overturned

Oregon: Logging Rule Is Overturned
Published: June 30, 2009
A federal judge struck down the Bush administration’s change to a rule intended to protect the northern spotted owl from logging in national forests. The judge, Claudia Wilken of Federal District Court in Oakland, Calif., ruled that the Forest Service had failed to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of changing the rule to make it easier to cut down forest habitat of species like the spotted owl and salmon on 193 million acres of national forests. At stake was a provision of the National Forest Management Act that required maintaining viable populations of species that indicate the health of an ecosystem, like spotted owl. The Bush administration changed the rule last year so it required a framework of protection, rather than maintaining viable populations of wildlife.


According to the website:


"Spotted Owls are medium-sized owls with brown eyes and no ear-tufts. They are gray-brown in color, with light spotting on their backs and breasts. They are slightly smaller than the closely-related and similar-appearing Barred Owl.

These owls are found in to low and mid-elevation mature forests with dense canopy. They prefer forests of Douglas Fir with complex vegetation at multiple levels and are often found near streams or other water sources. Because Spotted Owls typically do not cross brushy or clearcut areas, they prefer large expanses of undisturbed mature forest. A single pair of Spotted Owls requires 2,000-5,000 acres of contiguous forest!

The conservation of Spotted Owls and their old-growth habitat is an issue that has sparked fierce debate between environmentalists and the timber industry. In the Pacific Northwest, more than half of former old-growth habitat has already been lost. Most Spotted Owl habitat in Washington is unprotected, and the timber has high economic value. Attempts were made to federally list Spotted Owls, based on their low numbers, historic and projected habitat loss, declining survival rates, and the failure of existing protective measures. After two failed attempts, the Seattle Audubon Society sued to force federal listing. The northern subspecies of Spotted Owl ('Northern Spotted Owl') is now listed as threatened by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and as endangered by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is included on the Washington Gap Analysis Project's at-risk list. A number of recovery and management plans have been proposed and rejected as the debate over Spotted Owls continues. The current management plan requires enough clusters of old-growth forest to be preserved to sustain 1,500-2,000 territories and to allow for dispersal between territories. The dispersal factor is important, as dispersal time is a particularly dangerous stage of life for the Spotted Owl, with 80% of juveniles failing to survive. Increased habitat fragmentation allows Great Horned and Barred Owls to invade habitat that was formerly used exclusively by Spotted Owls. Great Horned Owls prey on Spotted Owls, especially dispersing juveniles. Barred Owls out-compete Spotted Owls for limited nesting sites, and the two species hybridize. Recently the State Public Lands Commissioner has been taking steps to allow logging in Spotted Owl habitat in southwestern Washington to help pay for school construction. Meanwhile, the Spotted Owl population in Washington continues to decline precipitously. Recent surveys have found significantly fewer owls than were found in surveys performed a only decade ago."

A the following website
I found this statement:

"Although the Spotted Owl was formerly abundant, it has become an endangered species in both the U.S. and Canada, primarily because of extensive logging."

This statement shows that logging and the spotted owl do not seem to be able to coexist, unless our government and industry leaders change their view of the natural world, from a human centered perspective, to one in which all living species on the planet are giving the same right to live as we humans and our activities!

"Over 80 percent of Spotted Owl habitat in Canada has been logged since the 1940s. The remaining owl habitat in British Columbia's old-growth forests has been highly fragmented by clearcut logging.

The government of British Columbia has acknowledged that logging of old-growth forests is the principal cause of the Northern Spotted Owl’s decline. Yet, through its Timber Sales program, the province is the largest logger of Spotted Owl habitat. And, new forestry regulations give priority to logging over any threat to Spotted Owl habitat, despite recommendations from government biologists.

To date, the provincial government has approved logging in at least three, and as many as six, of the 10 areas in which the owl was detected in 2003. Meanwhile, even British Columbia’s largest logging companies have agreed to a voluntary halt to logging in Spotted Owl habitat.

Several years ago, the province created a Spotted Owl Recovery Team to address public concerns about the rapid decline of the Northern Spotted Owl. However, the process has focused on socio-economics rather than scientific and ecological considerations, which led the Recovery Team’s biologist and Spotted Owl specialist, Andy Miller, to quit in protest.

The Spotted Owl Recovery Team finally submitted a management plan to the Province of British Columbia in November of 2003, but the government has not yet released

The Spotted Owl is the tragic equivalent of the ‘canary in a coal mine’ for species that depend upon the old-growth forests of British Columbia for their survival. Approximately 71 vertebrate species (4 amphibians, 34 birds, 17 mammals, and 16 fish) share the same habitat as the Spotted Owl, and therefore are also at risk because of extensive logging in their forest home.

Currently, almost 25 percent of the species that share Spotted Owl habitat are considered at risk, and many more are in serious decline. The Spotted Owl is considered by some to be an indicator species - an unfortunate ‘early warning system’ that demonstrates the serious impact that logging of ancient forests has on biodiversity. The present state of the Spotted Owl is indicative of general declines in a multitude of species, mostly due to logging of their habitat."


According to this website:"

"A new study has determined that with a drop in its numbers, the northern spotted owl has also lost genetic diversity.The northern spotted owl has been a controversial conservation icon for years, ever since large swaths of old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest were set aside to protect the threatened bird 15 years ago. That decision angered logging companies and forced them to take a financial hit. Still, despite the extra protection, spotted owl populations have continued to decline. Now, according to a report in Discovery News, a new study helps explain why: With a drop in numbers, the birds have lost genetic diversity.In addition to habitat loss and competition from other owl species, this type of genetic bottleneck makes the species more vulnerable to inbreeding problems and less resilient in the face of disease, climate change, and other challenges.

The owl’s numbers have been dropping by 3 to 4 percent each year.Habitat loss remains a problem, too. Funk and colleagues suspected that genetic bottlenecking might also add to the owl’s woes.For their study, the researchers scanned DNA from more than 350 northern spotted owls across the animal’s range. Then, they ran a bottleneck test, which looks for the loss of certain rare gene-forms, or alleles. Analyses showed signs that populations of northern spotted owls had indeed shrunk, especially in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. The loss of genetic diversity is an added blow to the loss of individual birds.”We knew from census data that there was a problem,” Fleischer said. “We didn’t know it was something that we would see in genetic variation at this stage,” he added."

To read more about the possibility of the loss of this beautiful animal forever go to:

Source of free photo of the Northern Spotted owl:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.