The United States Forest Service is planning major timbering in the “Upper Elk Roadless Area,” a section of the Monongahela National Forest — in Pocahontas county West Virginia — that is home to “Ginny,” the protected West Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel.
The Forest Service’s “Roadless Area Conservation Rule” states that any tree cutting in a roadless area must maintain or improve an area’s conservation characteristics. This ill-advised plan does neither, and we must stop it!
The Forest Service claims that cutting older-growth hardwood trees (80-120 years old) like beech, red maple, yellow birch, red pine, and hemlock would “release” red spruce from the understory, and improve habitat for “Ginny.”
But there is not a shred of scientific evidence showing that this hypothetical scheme would work. It’s a shameless pipe dream!
Meanwhile, all of these older-growth tree species provide food and corridors today – that Ginny and her species rely on.
Moreover, timbering of these older trees radically disrupts the “hyphal mat,” a network of fungi that grow underneath the forest and provide critical food sources for the WVNFS. Once destroyed, the hyphal mat takes 40 or more years to regrow, which means less food for eight generations of squirrels.
Please send your comments today and let the Forest Service know that this illegal plan must be withdrawn!