Protecting national forests through the market place

Grassroots activism is no longer restricted to the field or courtroom. More and more, forest protection happens at the market-level where endangered forests end up on company shelves. Large companies like Staples or Home Depot, with billions invested in logos, brands, and corporate image, are moving to find appropriate alternatives rather than pay the high price of publicly defending logging activities.

Why the market place?

Every year, thousands of acres of our national forests are clearcut to produce disposable paper products. With industry projections indicating that demand for paper is only going to increase, it is clear that paper demands are putting unsustainable pressures on our public lands. We must fundamentally alter the sourcing of paper from federal lands and shift these companies towards a greater reliance on recycled and alternative fibers. With less than 2% of our nation’s wood supply coming from national forests, we simply do not need to log our remaining wildlands when viable alternatives exist.

Consumer power works!

The markets strategy has a proven track record of using consumer pressure to change the way paper and lumber are produced, marketed and sold in the U.S. Through consumer pressure, we can institute responsible purchasing policies.

America’s public lands suffered nearly a century of relentless commercial logging and road building that have left our forests and watersheds and countless plants and animals in a rapidly deteriorating condition. It will take heroic effort to restore our national forests and simultaneously revitalize rural communities by creating sustainable economic activities. NFPA is working to promote bona-fide, ecologically based restoration projects which put people in rural communities to work conducting road removal and watershed restoration activities.

Since 2005 marks the Forest Service’s centennial, we believe there is a golden opportunity to make the focus of the next 100 years of Forest Service management the “Restoration Century.”

While some, including the Forest Service, argue that more industrial logging is needed to restore our forests, we believe the first step in the restoration process is to prevent further ecological degradation by protecting our national forests from industrial logging and other forms of resource extraction.

Next, we need to redirect taxpayer subsidies currently going to support industrial logging towards ecologically-based restoration projects – such as road removal and watershed restoration – with the goal of restoring natural processes and reestablishing fully functioning ecosystems. Only once this happens will we see the Forest Service’s management of national forests in step with the desires of an American public who want to see our forests protected and restored.

Unfortunately, because the Forest Service’s budgets are still tied to industrial logging and resource extraction – not forest protection and restoration – the public’s clean water, wildlife habitat, wildlands and recreational opportunities continue to be squandered. Just consider these facts:

- There are 445,000 miles of roads on national forests – enough to circle the Earth 18 times – and the Forest Service faces a $10 billion road maintenance backlog.

- An estimated 50% of riparian areas on national forests require restoration due to impacts from industrial logging, roadbuilding, grazing, mining and off-road vehicles.

- Less than 5% of America’s ancient, old-growth forests remain.

- 421 wildlife species that call national forests home are in need of protective measures provided by the Endangered Species Act.

In 1999 the National Forest Protection Alliance (NFPA) was formed, creating a unified democratic alliance among groups within the forest protection community. NFPA believes that informed groups and individuals, acting in a coordinated, strategic manner, can organize a strong base of public and political support to achieve positive, lasting social change and environmental protection.

Our mission is to end the industrial exploitation of all federal public lands, starting with commercial logging. We believe public lands should be managed to provide clean air and water, wilderness, wildlife habitat, and compatible recreation for the public – not subsidized lumber for the timber industry.

We seek to empower and engage citizens across the nation through our State Delegate system, which elects our Board of Directors at our annual convention. Our State Delegates represent the organized movement of individuals and organizations in each state who work to end commercial logging on public lands.

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