Protecting California’s Sierra Nevada from Logging

The Bush administration’s 2007 decision dramatically reduced the number of species monitored on the Sierra Nevada national forests—increasing the risk that industrial activities, such as logging, would have harmed sensitive wildlife and fragile habitat.



Greg Loarie

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

In 2007, the Bush Administration decided to dramatically reduce the number of species monitored within the Sierra Nevada forests. Some wildlife, such as the Pacific fisher and northern goshawk were threatened by increasing risks of industrial activities, including logging.

The wellbeing of indicator species, such as the Pacific fisher and the northern goshawk, reflects the overall health of a forest. Conservation groups brought a suit to restore safeguards for a variety of Sierra Nevada wildlife.

In 2012, conservation groups came to an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that an independent science panel would need to evaluate the service’s selection of plant and animal species as indicators of the overall health of the Sierra Nevada forests.

A northern goshawk.
Northern goshawks are an indicator species, reflecting the overall health of a forest ecosystem. (Jeff B. / Flickr)

Case Updates

June 4, 2012 Press Release

Forest Service Agrees to Review of Key Sierra Species

Conservation groups applaud agreement to create independent panel of scientists

June 4, 2012 document

Sierra MIS Settlement Agreement

May 14, 2008 Press Release: Victory

Ninth Circuit Rules to Protect Sierra Forests, Faults USFS Plan

Ruling holds that Forest Service likely violated federal law with 2004 logging plan