Most of the oldest and largest trees on the Tongass were cut in the decades following World War II. The patches of old growth that do remain may never be safe from danger. The Sitka Conservation Society strives to protect the remaining old growth forest and to advocate for wise and sustainable development of alternative Tongass resources such as salmon, second-growth timber, and tourism. Timber sales within the National Forest frequently result in substantial road building and habitat loss. Outside the National Forest and under the ownership of Native Corporations, or other private industrial interests, logging and habitat degradation can be pursued even more readily. Though the old growth timber in the Tongass is in danger, SCS is hopeful that by working with both the US Forest Service and private corporations, we can continue to spur our Southeast economies with Tongass resources without repeating the mistakes of the past.
SCS is keeping a close watch on how climate change affects the Tongass through annual summer field work. This research includes monitoring changes in ice packs, glaciers, and plant and animal populations. While it's hard to watch the negative impacts on the Tongass from global warming, having good data on those impacts is crucial for our climate change advocacy work that could ultimately prevent future harm.
A healthy and intact forest is the best defense against non-native species; however, human impacts through climate change, logging, and the introduction of exotic organisms weakens a forest’s natural defenses. In order to prevent invasive organisms from spreading and threatening native species, SCS helps monitor for invasives and assists in eradication and removal projects through the Community Wilderness Stewardship Project.
Do you want to do your part to help protect the Tongass and its communities? Check out the most recent Action Alerts for immediate steps you can take. From signing petitions to volunteering some hours in our office, anything you can do is crucial to our mission and much appreciated! Protecting the natural environment of the Tongass while promoting the development of sustainable communities is only possible with your help and support.