2014-03-01. A Journey to Alaska’s Tongass, Where Our Last Old-Growth Temperate Forest Meets the Sea.

posted Mar 15, 2014, 11:00 PM by Alan Gould
For GSS A New World View chapter 2. Excerpt: ...the Tongass National Forest. At 16.8 million acres, it's America's largest woodland, containing 30 percent of the remaining temperate rainforest on earth. The Tongass covers most of southeast Alaska, and its major inholding is 3.3-million-acre Glacier Bay National Park.  ...a fantastic bloom of marine life that occurs each midsummer in western Icy Strait, just off the mouth of Glacier Bay. The ecological phenomenon of salmon bringing marine nutrients upstream to fertilize the trees has been widely touted. But we came to see the flip side of that cycle, the untold story of what the temperate rainforest gives back through its streams and glaciers to enrich this marine ecosystem and stimulate a proliferation of life. It's an explosion at every trophic level, from single-cell algae through krill and capelin and salmon and sea lions to the huge humpback whales. And millions of seabirds, including tens of thousands of marbled murrelets.  ...Sealaska, a native corporation that cuts timber and sells most of it overseas with no American milling, is asking for more Tongass old growth, and the governor of Alaska wants two million acres of the Tongass for state-controlled timber harvest. Much of the very old growth--trees 6 to 12 feet in diameter--has been clear-cut, but some still remains along with many intact watersheds supporting a healthy habitat mosaic. To prevent devastation, Audubon Alaska is advocating for the U.S. Forest Service to halt large-scale old-growth logging to protect what little is left of the ancient forest and keep the ecosystem intact for salmon, wolves, deer, and murrelets....  http://www.audubonmagazine.org/articles/conservation/journey-alaska-s-tongass-where-our-last-old-growth-temperate-forest-meets-sea. Jeff Fair, Audubon Magazine.