Timber Thieves Threaten California’s Redwood Giants

by Andrew C. Revkin / The New York Times

dottree-blog480[Editor’s Note: Legalized exploitation of redwood forests also continues at the hands of Humboldt Redwood Company and Mendocino Redwood Company.]

Most of my focus on poaching and illegal logging has been in other parts of the world, but the United States has seen waves of timber thievery of late, with a particularly awful example being night-time raids in California’s extraordinary redwood forests.

Via Joanne McGarry, a Facebook contact out west, I learned of the latest incidents, in which timber thieves have been hacking burls — valuable growths with beautiful grain — from giant trees in Redwood National and State Parks in northern California.

Here’s the National Park Service note explaining what’s been going on and park officials’ efforts to stem the practice:

Due to recent redwood burl poaching incidents in the park, the Newton B. Drury Parkway will be closed on a nightly basis beginning Saturday, March 1st. The road will close at sunset and re-open around sunrise. (These times may vary if staff is responding to other emergencies.) The parkway will remain open, as always, during daylight hours.

Illegal redwood poaching impacts one of the most sensitive resources in Redwood National & State Parks, a designated World Heritage and International Biosphere Reserve, injuring live trees that can live up to 2,000 years old, but also causing related impacts to scenic qualities and threatening endangered species. Most of the illegal poaching occurs at night. While regrettable, this closure is a proactive step toward preserving California’s and our nation’s irreplaceable natural treasures.

More info can be found in our press release here.

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