Mendocino Redwood Co. applies for 80-year federal and state permit for logging operations that could disturb threatened plants and animals across 332-sq.-mile forested area in Humboldt County, California, in return for conservation efforts

LOS ANGELES , April 23, 2013 () – The Mendocino Redwood Co. (MRC) is applying for an 80-year federal and state permit that allows for timber harvesting operations that could disturb endangered and threatened plants and animals across a 332-square-mile area of California redwood forest in return for implementing measures aimed at conservation, The Press Democrat reported April 21.

The permit, if approved, would allow limited damage during logging operations. The area is reportedly home to 11 known threatened or endangered animals or fish species, including certain salmon species and the northern spotted owl, and 31 plants.

Most of the trees in the area the permit covers have already been logged, though patches of old-growth forest are still standing, which under the company’s conservation plan would be protected, The Press Democrat reported.

MRC’s conservation plan for the 213,000-acre area also includes expanding current conservation measures and improving fish-spawning habitat in nearby streams and rivers.

The permit would enable the timber company to save costs and time while developing a more holistic conservation plan for the region, The Press Democrat reported.

According to MRC, the plan will balance the needs of wildlife with the company’s need for long-term regulatory stability, and ultimately will boost delicate habitat.

The company would have to apply for permits to log certain sections of the forest, said Michael Jani, MRC’s president and chief forester.

While welcoming the conservation plan, environmentalists are concerned the 80-year period is too long and that protections for wildlife are inadequate.

Andrew Orahoske, conservation director of the Environmental Protection Information Center, said that, while MRC has a better environmental record than comparable companies, such long-term agreements have not worked well with other timber companies, and can be difficult to challenge if new information emerges.

Orahoske suggested the time period be 10 years, but Jani said a shorter time period would not be economical as forest and stream restorations are expensive.

State and federal agencies are set to decide whether to issue the permit the permit after recently closing the comment period and could decide later this year, The Press Democrat reported.

The primary source of this article is The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California, on April 21, 2013.

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