Earthjustice: Because the earth needs a good lawyer.
Mineral King: The Foundation of Modern Environmental Law

Connected Ecosystems

The oldest living organisms on the planet are trees. With such life experience, it's no surprise that they're good at what they do.

Our nation's remarkable forest resources are a source of freshwater for more than one-in-five Americans. They support beloved wildlife—as white-bark pine forests do the grizzly bear—and the economy. Hikers, hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts contribute $730 billion a year to the economy alone.

But poor planning in the face of major challenges is putting this venerable resource at risk.

Earthjustice At Work, Featured Cases

Forest Protection

Safeguarding the Roadless Rule
Protecting the Tongass
Protecting Redwood National Park
Pacific Northwest:
Old-growth Forests
Protecting Grizzly Bears
More at

Since its inception, the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule—which provides vital habitat for 1,500 wildlife species, safeguards drinking water supplies for 60 million Americans, and ensures quality recreation for millions of hikers, fishermen, and hunters—has come under relentless attack by logging and resource extraction interests, certain states and the Bush administration. Thirteen years after Earthjustice first launched legal action to defend the Rule, the nearly 50-million-acre heartland of America's national forests is secure.

Earthjustice battled for 40 years to block logging in roadless areas of the nation's largest national forest, and limit it where roads exist, to protect the forest, preserve wildlife habitat and support recreational and subsistence hunting and fishing. Tongass roadless areas are needed to maintain healthy populations of wildlife like wolves, bears, deer and five species of Pacific salmon. In 2011, a federal district judge in Alaska reinstated the Roadless Rule's application to the Tongass.

Redwood National Park is home to some of the planet's most majestic forests—a fact not lost on California's logging industry. In the mid-1970s, Earthjustice sued the U.S. National Park Service for failing to protect old-growth redwoods in a privately-owned location south of the park. Earthjustice demonstrated that logging outside the park was harming the park and persuaded Congress to nearly double the size of the park to protect it.

Protecting old-growth forests, which support important wildlife throughout the Pacific Northwest, began with Earthjustice's successful efforts to put a dark, football-sized spotted owl, which calls lush old-growth forests its, home on the endangered species list in 1990. Since then, Earthjustice has worked to protect controversial logging projects that would destroy Oregon's dwindling old-growth forests, threaten endangered wildlife and substantially reduce wildlife reserves.

In an ecosystem where all life is connected, as the decline of the whitebark pine seeds go, so go the Yellowstone grizzlies, which eat the highly nutritious seeds by the thousands. But global warming has allowed mountain pine beetles to kill millions of acres of whitebark pine, which forces the bears to search for different foods in risky areas. In 2011, a court ruling reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone's iconic grizzly bear population.

… And More: From protections for National Forests that reach far into the future to old-growth habitat for the marbled murrelet, visit our website to learn about the diversity and breadth of Earthjustice's work to protect forests and the wildlife who depend on them:

See Also:

How The Earth Got A Lawyer

The forging of law and nature that saved Mineral King Valley and created Earthjustice.

Photo of Mineral King valley. > Read Feature

Breaking Down The Courthouse Door

Don Harris, one of Earthjustice's founders, tells the story of how it all started, more than forty years ago.

Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court. > Read First Person Feature

By The Numbers

Eight quick facts on Mineral King Valley, its history, and the legal work that saved it.

A cairn (man-made rock pile used to mark trails in the backcountry) designates the top of Sawtooth Pass.. > See Facts
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