The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, director of North American policy and government relations at The Nature Conservancy, after the U.S. Forest Service today announced it would be taking emergency steps to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires to giant sequoias in California:
“A giant sequoia is born in fire, when normal wildfires open their seeds and begin a lifecycle that can last thousands of years. But the wildfires sequoias face today are far from normal and only growing worse and more frequent in a changing climate. We’ve already lost too many sequoias, and if we do not act, we’ll only lose more of these iconic trees forever.
“We support immediate action to address the unnatural conditions that threaten the continued existence of this iconic species, which has intrinsic ecological value and attracts visitors from all over the globe. Trees that are thousands of years old are irreplaceable in any of our lifetimes and inaction or delay increases the risk that more will be lost to high-intensity wildfire. Intervention is necessary to enhance the resilience of the sequoia groves and restore fire to its natural role in this landscape
“Today’s announcement from the U.S. Forest Service to utilize existing authorities to speed restoration work in the sequoia groves is a good start. A long-term commitment to restoration in these groves is critical to secure their future. We appreciate today’s announcement from the Biden administration and will continue working with the bipartisan sponsors of the Save Our Sequoias Act to ensure attention, action and investment in these landscapes.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.