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Sample Letter —U.S. Forest Service Rulemaking for Old Growth and Mature Forests

Sample Letter

Comments on Old-Growth and Mature Forests

The following is a sample letter to help guide your comments to the U.S. Forest Service.

DON’T SIMPLY COPY AND PASTE! Please personalize the letter with your own thoughts and opinions on the proposed rule. Then tell us that you spoke up.

Director, USFS Policy Office,

Thank you for initiating the rulemaking process (“Forest Service Functions” 9FS-2023-0006-0002) to move forward with U.S. Forest Service policies to protect, conserve, and manage our National Forests and public lands for climate resilience and sustainability.

Our mature and old-growth forests are habitat for countless plant and animal species—many of them highly endangered. They also help maintain ground and surface water quality and quantity, they stabilize soils and prevent erosion, and are an important part of our national heritage. (Your personalized comments here. Talk about the mature and old-growth forests in your region where you recreate. Why are they special? What are the threats to those forests, the wildlife, or plant life?)

But, perhaps most urgently, research has proven that these forests are a powerful, natural tool to slow and—if given the opportunity—to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Old-growth forests act as “carbon sinks,” absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and permanently locking it away deep in the soil.

Mature forests are also especially important, given the loss of more than 85% of our old growth forests in the U.S. to logging over the past 200-300 years. These mature forests have only begun to realize their carbon sequestration potential, and if left alone will create benefits for generations to come.

But this process only happens when those forests are left undisturbed from logging and development. When those forests are lost, recovery—if it’s even possible—can take centuries. (Your personalized comments here. Have you seen a decline in regional forests? Are you concerned about your grandchildren being able to see/experience a healthy forest?)

Any new Forest Service rules need to give clear, meaningful, and permanent protection to mature and old-growth forests and trees from logging and other destructive practices so they can continue to help mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises.

Thank you again for your commitment to protecting, conserving, and restoring America’s public forests.

(Your name)