Clearcut logging of old growth forests resulted in two primary impacts to ecosystems: the creation of dense second-growth forests and streams with impaired salmon habitat. In a second-growth forest, new trees grow back quickly but form dense, uniformly-aged forests. These impenetrable stands of trees block sunlight from reaching the forest floor, preventing the growth of understory flora and creating poor species diversity and habitat for Sitka black-tailed deer and brown bears. We’ve worked on habitat restoration projects like forest- thinning projects and wildlife habitat treatments to help forests regain old growth habitat characteristics and continue to advocate for these types of projects to keep happening.
During large-scale industrial logging on the Tongass, streams were used as roads to drive excavators and other heavy equipment to logging parcels. This led to significant losses of salmon habitat, especially along the 500 miles of riparian habitat that were targeted for the huge old growth trees along streambanks. In a healthy state, an old growth forest has trees that naturally fall into the water, diversifying water flow and providing small pool habitat for spawning and juvenile salmon. After a clear-cut, erosion and flooding interrupted the natural stream dynamic and functions, causing thousands of miles of streams to lose the structure and characteristics that produce salmon. Unmaintained or hastily built logging roads also caused problems by blocking streams or contaminating them with large amounts of sediment. We engage in stream restoration projects that involve replacing or removing bridges and culverts that block fish passages, and placing large trees in channels to create rearing habitat for fish.