FOR THE WILD

WHEN OLD GROWTH ENDS / Film & Campaign

TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST

 
 
 
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SYNOPSIS


Shot in 2016 at the frontline of the slaughter of the Tongass National Forest, When Old Growth Ends tells a love story through the eyes of the salmon, the old-growth trees, the indigenous peoples residing there, and a group of women with an affinity for wild places. The film illuminates how the failing timber industry and its government enablers have ruptured the heart of the Tongass, leaving the last remaining old-growth temperate rainforest in the nation vulnerable to complete unraveling. The message, spoken in whispers with deafening overtones, beckons us all to mobilize against old-growth logging in Alaska and beyond. The film and campaign, based on the tenets of deep ecology and biophilia, proposes that the defense and preservation of wildlife habitat and the world’s great carbon sinks is our primary task in the new millennium. The film premiered at South By Southwest (SXSW) in March 2018, and will continue on to other film festivals.

 

SCREENINGS


SXSW: FILMS FOR THE FOREST + PREMIER SCREENING
Mar 22, 2018; Rollins Theatre / Films For the Forest is an annual international environmental short-film challenge created by Rainforest Partnership.

DEAR EARTH, PICNIC
Apr 21, 2018; Wright Ranch, Malibu / Get Your Tickets! Featuring a pre-screening of When Old Growth Ends, Live Speakers, and More.

MARFA FILM FESTIVAL
Jul 11-15, 2018;  More info to come...

Photos of Tongass National Forest taken during filming / by Koa Kalish

 

FILM CREDITS


 
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THE CAMPAIGN


After hosting a podcast interview with Tom Waldo, a lead attorney for EarthJustice, Ayana Young felt called to take a stand for the Tongass' rare heritage old-growth trees. The extensive legal work and research from EarthJustice have shaped and guided the campaign which has now formed a coalition of local indigenous women from Southeast Alaska and the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). The coalition intends on collaborating with women of the Haida and Tlingit Nations as well as other environmental organizations to strategize action plans and incite national efforts aiming to end old-growth logging.

 

TONGASS RESEARCH


Researcher: Madison Magalski
Published January 12, 2017, FOR THE WILD


The Tongass National Forest lies in the northern reaches of Cascadia, on a narrow coastal stretch (~160 km wide) in southeastern Alaska. The Tongass is the largest national forest in the nation, sharing boundaries with Glacier Bay National Park and Chugach National Forest. Together, they make up more than one fourth of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest. The Tongass’ 17 million acres, wrapping around 11,000 miles of coastline, are home to one of the most pristine shoreline ecosystems on the planet and the largest area of old-growth temperate rainforest in the United States.

Glaciers covered most of the region 14,000-20,000 years ago, carving narrow bays into rugged terrain, forming a diverse and sinuous coastline. The thousands of islands that make up the Tongass vary greatly in size and topography, ranging from small islands consisting of solid rock to larger islands with muskeg, numerous streams, and densely forested mountains reaching 1500-m. Although the region’s climate is characterized by mild temperatures and heavy rainfall (average 2,450-mm/year), considerable variation exists between islands. The varying and interactive factors of climate, geomorphology, and history strongly influence the distribution of ecological assemblages found within this island landscape....

....Despite the global significance of the Tongass, old-growth temperate rainforests remain vulnerable to unsustainable logging practices. Corrupt politics and mismanagement define the history of timber production in the Tongass. In the mid 1900’s, high grading of the largest and most valuable trees transitioned into more mechanized industrial methods, resulting in a fragmented and degraded landscape. Over 450,000 acres and 18 billion board feet of Tongass old-growth has been extracted in the past half a century. Although the Tongass is no longer exempt from the 2001 Roadless Rule, which prohibits new road construction or logging operations within undeveloped stretches of national forest, timber extraction continues where roads already exist and a loss of 70% of the remaining old-growth is predicted over the next 150 years..

Clear-cutting the nation’s last remaining old-growth no longer has an economic justification, as the Tongass timber industry has been in decline since the 1980s. Although the blame is often placed on successes of the environmental movement, the slow demise of the Tongass logging industry is primarily a result of inherent flaws in the system. Due to rugged inaccessible terrain, distance from markets, and limited infrastructure, operations in the Tongass have maintained some of the highest harvest and processing costs in the world since their inception. These factors, in addition to market fluctuations, have consistently resulted in net losses close to $20 million annually, despite government subsidies funded by US taxpayers. 

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