We just sent this to the US Forest Service and wanted to keep you in the loop, which seems to be an endless one lately, playing over and over and over. But as you know, we are fighting to stop that replay.
We are having a difficult time finding out about the comment period regarding the Munhall Saddle habitat clearance project in the Trabuco Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest. As you probably know, this was the project that caused considerable embarrassment for the Forest Service when the area cleared was featured (prior to clearance) on the cover of the Fall 2007 issue of Fremontia, the journal of the California Native Plant Society. The location was used to illustrate a beautiful example of valuable, old-growth chaparral.
We are greatly concerned about this and other habitat clearance projects on National Forest lands in southern California that do not serve to protect communities from the threat of wildfires, but rather are conducted to protect non-native species such as the hybrid pines planted on Munhall Saddle. We believe the mindset that initiated the removal of native chaparral and the planting of the hybrid pine plantation on the Munhall Saddle is outdated and no longer serves the purpose of National Forests in southern California.We urge you and the staff on the Cleveland National Forest to reconsider the Forest Service’s ongoing effort to remove native habitat on the Munhall Saddle in favor of an artificial environment that is now threatened with the invasion of highly flammable, non-native weeds due to past and planned clearance operations.
At some point in the near future, we believe a dialogue would be productive between us and other conservation organizations and the Cleveland National Forest staff regarding this and other projects that appear to value non-native species over natives.We look forward to hearing back from you.
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