Triage for trees attacked
Environmentalists in southern Oregon say the Forest Service wants
to "kill the patient" in an effort to protect a rare tree species
from a fatal root fungus.
The Port Orford
cedar, native to the southern Oregon and northern California coast,
has succumbed throughout its range to the fungus, which spreads
through watercourses or by attaching itself to logging equipment.
On the Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon, agency officials hope to
save healthy trees inside the Snowcamp Botanical Area by cutting
infected trees along an adjacent road.
conservationists believe the plan may actually spread the disease
by bringing fungus-laden logging trucks into the preserve to haul
away infected trees. The plan, they say, is a thin disguise for
logging the valuable cedar, which brings high prices in
"They're not only going
to kill the patient, they're going to send it to Japan to get
dissected," says Steve Marsden from the anti-logging Siskiyou
Project. Although the Clinton Northwest Forest Plan directs the
Forest Service to close roads and stop road construction where
uninfected stands of the tree remain, the agency says that won't
work in this instance. Says agency spokeswoman Sue Olson, "If we
did nothing, the likelihood of the disease spreading is much