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Alaska’s Tongass Forest, Old Growth Trees Get USDA Safeguard (1)

July 15, 2021, 3:46 PMUpdated: July 15, 2021, 7:43 PM

Alaska’s Tongass National Forest—a large carbon sink helping to stabilize the climate—is set to receive protections long fought-for by environmentalists and vehemently opposed by the state of Alaska and its Congressional delegation.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday that the U.S. Forest Service plans to roll back the Trump administration’s Alaska Roadless Rule, which dropped protections for more than 9 million acres of the Tongass, America’s largest national forest.

Large-scale old-growth timber harvesting also will cease on the Tongass with some exceptions, Vilsack said.

“This approach will help us chart the path to long-term economic opportunities that are sustainable and ...