Pesticides in our Forests
Many of us in Mendocino County have long been concerned about the use of toxics in our communities. The complexity of the ever-increasing number, amounts and combination of chemicals - with unpronounceable names and unknown effects - is mind-boggling. We don't know the extent of chemical use around us, not even - sometimes - that they are being used.
Out of sight. Out of mind.
Last summer, Albion forestry activists flew over industrial timberlands in Salmon Creek and portions of the Navarro River to take aerial photos of the impacts of logging. We were astonished to find that hundreds of acres of tanoaks, in the Navarro watershed on Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) land, were standing dead. Not something we had expected to capture in our photos.
Not in My Back Yard.
At the same time we were examining and discussing these photos, it happened that Mendocino Redwood Company gave the Albion community a 30-day notice (pursuant to an agreement worked out years before) that MRC intended to 'treat' tanoak in the forest above Enchanted Meadow with the chemical, Imazapyr. [Pronounced I-MAZ-a-purr.] Some locals were also invited to an on-site inspection of the proposed activity with MRC head forester, Mike Jani. His plan to "hack-and-squirt" the trees was strongly opposed by the locals. After listening to our concerns, Jani agreed not to use chemicals - at least for the present - but, instead, to cut down and sell the tanoak for firewood.
Not in Your Backyard Either
As part of our on-going look at this forestry practice, we knew we wanted to get some information out to the greater community about Imazapyr. We asked Britt Bailey of
Environmental Commons if she would review the available research on the chemical and write an article on her findings. We also asked MRC for the report on their case study that looked at alternatives to herbicide use on their lands.
Some Photos and an Informative Article
Britt Bailey did a bang-up job. We've posted her
apt, well-researched and highly readable article. We've also added some of our photos (see below). Both are good resources! Please give them a careful look. We've just received the MRC report; we'll study it and summarize it here soon.
What you Can Do
At this point, we are asking that you help stop the use of this chemical in our redwood forests by:
- asking the Forest Stewardship Council, which has certified MRC, to reconsider their acceptance of this chemical under their "green" guidelines;
- asking MRC to commit themselves to a non-toxic alternative;
- making a tax-deductible donation to RCWA specifying aerial-photo research on other watersheds.
- Forest Stewardship Council,
- Mendocino Redwood Company, c/o Mike Jani, PO Box 390, Calpella CA 95418
- RCWA (Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance), PO Box 87, Elk CA 95432
Aerial photos: Navarro River watershed, summer 2004
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