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Deep Cut

Washington has quietly made logging a part of the state’s climate mitigation strategy.
The Forest Behind Bruce Anderson’s home in the rolling foothills south of Puget Sound in Washington is densely packed with enormous Douglas fir trees, the most commercially harvested tree species in the United States. It is a natural forest, grown from seeds dispersed by a previous generation of conifers around the time of the Civil War.

Where the forest has no name

Driving up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco, you approach the world’s largest contiguous temperate rainforest. But don’t look for any markers or directions. There aren’t any. In fact, the rainforest, which stretches 2,500 miles from Northern California all the way to Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska – almost as far as the distance as from New York to Los Angeles – doesn’t even have an official name.

The Booty on Bokan Mountain

The Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest, stretching from Northern California into Alaska, is known best for things that grow above the ground — like the world’s tallest trees, and in its waters, like the legendary salmon runs. But we know far less about treasures lurking underground, like the vein of rare earth elements tucked away deep within Alaska’s Tongass National Forest – America’s largest national forest.

Carbon Conundrum

AS THE SKY CLEARED over rain-swept Southeast Alaska one August afternoon in 2019, we flew over Prince of Wales Island to take in its lush forests. Numerous fresh clearcuts interrupted the deep green cover on the United States’ fourth largest island located at the southern end of Alaska’s massive Tongass National Forest. In some spots, stands of younger trees stretched their canopies across older, logged areas. On the whole, though, the forest here looked rich and vast.

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