Eastside Screens Fact Sheet

The facts:

  • Mature and old-growth forests are key in the fight against climate change. They pull and store massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis, sequestering it safely over the course of hundreds and thousands of years.
  • Mature and old-growth forests collect, cool, and release groundwater into streams and rivers—a vital service as the western states become warmer and drier due to climate change.
  • These forests also provide habitat for countless threatened plant and animal species, stabilize soil to prevent erosion, and are sites of great historic and cultural importance to many Indigenous people.
  • Mature and old-growth forests are a drastically dwindling resource. The U.S. has lost approximately 95% of its original old-growth forests since the 1600’s.
  • The decades-old Eastside Screens rules prevented logging in more than 7,000,000 acres of mature and old-growth forests in eastern Oregon and Washington.
  • The Trump administration decision to eliminate the Eastside Screens was done without considering the mountains of scientific evidence showing the importance of the forests, and without public or tribal involvement in the decision-making process.
  • In April, President Biden signed an executive order (EO 14072) to “conserve America’s mature and old-growth forests on Federal lands” as a part of a science-based approach to reduce wildfire risk and combat the climate and biodiversity crisis. This decision by the USFS to go ahead with the Trump-era logging plan is a clear contradiction of that order.