Dr. Dominick DellaSala speaks on "The Forgotten Rainforests" on Wednesday, May 11 at 7 pm, in Peninsula College Little Theater, 1502 East Lauridson Avenue, Port Angeles. Hear this renowned scientist and conservationist, author of over 150 technical papers, President of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Section, and President of the Geos Institute of Ashland, Oregon.
His talk will be introduced by a reading by well-known Port Angeles poet Alice Derry. This event is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will be held after the talk.
Temperate and boreal (high latitude) rainforests are unique. Temperate rainforests, such as those within Olympic National Park, store more carbon per acre than even tropical rainforests and play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases.
According to DellaSala, it's time these forgotten rainforests take center stage along with the world's tropical rainforests as holding some of the keys to a stable global climate. These forests store vast amounts of carbon primarily in their massive trees (some of the largest on earth), productive soils, and rich, dense foliage. When these rainforests are cut down, much of their carbon is released into the atmosphere. Globally, deforestation is second only to the burning of fossil fuels in contributing to greenhouse gas pollution; protecting these and the world's tropical rainforests is vital to the planet's climate regulation system.
Yet, in spite of their global significance for both biodiversity and important role in climate change mitigation, protection levels for these remarkable rainforests are far too low to sustain them under a rapidly changing global climate and ever expanding human footprint.
DellaSala concludes with a plea to governments and citizens to protect the world's rainforests as vital to a sustainable future and stable global climate.
Temperate and boreal rainforests are rapidly becoming the world's forgotten rainforests. They occur in only 10 regions of the world. In some regions, like portions of Europe, nearly all rainforests are gone while others are headed in that direction if we don't act soon. Logging in boreal rainforests of Russia has contributed to the near demise of tigers and snow leopards. In British Columbia, logging has impacted world-class salmon runs and jeopardizes unique coastal bears and wolves.
And the situation here at home is not much better with less than 4% of the magnificent coastal redwoods and only the last 15-20% of old-growth rainforests remaining in the Pacific Northwest. Decades of logging has created a national ecological debt crisis that is being passed on to future generations. We are consuming their biological inheritance.
North America also has some of the most important remaining intact rainforests in the world. The Tongass rainforest in Alaska, for instance, contains about 1/3 of the world's remaining old-growth temperate rainforest and some of the largest spruce trees on earth. And rainforests in the Pacific Northwest are among the most important carbon storing forests on the planet, storing more carbon on an acre-for-acre basis than the world's tropical rainforests.
Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala is President and Chief Scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon and President of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Section. He is an internationally renowned author of over 150 technical papers including "Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World" (Island Press, 2011), which includes contributions from 30 scientists around the world.
Dominick has given plenary and keynote talks ranging from academic conferences to the United Nations (Earth Summit II). He has appeared in National Geographic, Science Magazine, Time Magazine, Audubon Magazine, national newspapers, Jim Lehrer News Hour, CNN, MSNBC, "Living on Earth (NPR)," and several PBS documentaries. He has testified in numerous congressional hearings.
For his efforts to help foster national roadless areas conservation and support designation of new national monuments, he received conservation leadership awards from the World Wildlife Fund in 2000 and 2004, and the Wilburforce Foundation in 2006.
Local poet, Alice Derry, taught at Peninsula College from 1980 until retiring in 2009. She was the main force behind the college's Foothills Writers' Series during those years, hosting dozens of writers, both local and national. Derry is the author of three full collections of poetry and three chapbooks. Her fourth volume, Tremolo, will appear from Red Hen Press in 2012. Along the way, Derry has been the recipient of several honors and awards for her poetry; individual poems have appeared widely. Listeners to her reading on May 11 will recognize places, flora and fauna, connecting them to their own visits to Olympic rainforests.
This presentation is co-hosted by Western Washington University Huxley College of the Environment on the Peninsulas, Friends of Olympic National Park, Olympic Park Institute and the North Olympic Land Trust.