The American President Mr. Trump is making his next move against natural protected areas. According to CNN, Trump has asked his agricultural secretary to lift the protection of Tongass National Forest. Tongass is the largest National Forest of the United States, covering more than 6.5 million hectares. Lifting the protection would open the door for logging, mining and energy industry after 20 years of strict protection. Tongass National Forest was also the film location for the inspiring Wilderness documentary ‘The Meaning of Wild’.
Please also read: Wilderness in the US and Europe
Turning Wilderness into commercial forest
If the protection status disappears, experts expect that almost 4 million hectares will suffer from commercial activities. The developments also add up to a recent study on Trumps efforts against protected lands. The study concluded that Trump is responsible for the largest reduction of protected lands in history. Meanwhile, nature conservation organisations are calling for support, to keep the US Wilderness wild.
The US Wilderness has been the basic foundation for the European Wilderness concept. It is proof that unaltered areas must be protected from human intervention to benefit nature. Therefore, the European Wilderness Society will continue to strengthen the cooperation with American organisations for the stewardship of Wilderness across the world.
Heading picture of forest logging practices in Romanian protected area.