At 17 million acres, the Tongass is not only America’s largest national forest, it’s the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. It stores and absorbs vast amounts more carbon than any other forest in the United States. It’s wild, it’s wet, it’s huge, and it draws comparisons to the Amazon.
The Tongass’s millions of trees are not only vital to the long-term health of all five species of wild Alaska salmon, brown bears, black bears, wolves, Sitka blacktail deer, mountain goats, and the region’s human residents, they’re also vital to the long term health of the rest of the planet.
Over the protests of Alaskans, Americans, and sovereign indigenous governments, however, the Trump Administration plans to strip protections for more than 9 million acres of the forest — including some of the world’s last remaining stands of ancient Sitka spruce, hemlock and cedar trees — in order to open the land up for roads, clearcut old growth logging, and industrialization. This would plunge our world further into a climate emergency.