The Fight to Save Legacy Forests in WA: the Old Growth Forests of our Future

Old-growth forests have all but disappeared on state forestlands, largely due to post-1945 industrial logging practices. Very few forests remain that aren't monocrop tree plantations. While WA State agencies define "old growth" worthy of protection as pre-1850 forests, there are still some remaining acres of mature naturally generated and structurally complex "legacy forests" that are WA state's best chance at retaining forests with old growth characteristics. These forests are unique because of their significant biodiversity and their ability to fight the negative impacts of climate change.

This talk will define legacy forests and explore why they are important to protect within the context of our current climate crisis. We will also learn about the growing movement to protect WA legacy forests, as well as critically examine some of the rhetoric used by corporate interests to uphold outdated forestry practices that destroy these important ecosystems. Lastly, we will explore potential solutions that both protect legacy forests and secure funding for essential community infrastructure that has historically relied on logging for revenue. 

Brel leaning against a large stump to demonstrate the size of the cut down tree

About the Speaker

Headshot of Brel Froebe
Brel Froebe
Interim Executive Director, Center for Responsible Forestry

Brel Froebe is an educator and community organizer living in the occupied Lummi and Nooksack territory of Bellingham, WA. Brel grew up along the Middle Fork Nooksack River, and is passionate about doing what he can to protect the surrounding forests and watersheds. He received an MA in Urban Education and Social Justice at the University Of San Francisco, and has spent the past decade facilitating community empowerment through restorative justice, critical pedagogy, art, and outdoor education. Brel is honored to work with the Center for Responsible Forestry and communities around WA State to protect all legacy forests that are under threat. 

Environmental Speaker Series

The Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by the College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public. Talks are held each Thursday at 4:30 pm in Academic Instructional Center West room 204 - AW-204. Talks will also be streamed via zoom. Register with the Alumni Association for the zoom link. Paid parking is available in lot C.

Learn more about the Environmental Speaker Series
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