Posts Tagged ‘logging’

rosemont-tucsonBy Tony Davis / Arizona Daily Star

Close to 300,000 trees, mostly junipers and oaks, would likely be cleared on public land in the Santa Rita Mountains if the proposed Rosemont Mine is built.

Clearing those trees will be controversial, but at this moment, it’s not known what will happen to them afterward. The U.S. Forest Service will charge Rosemont Copper for any cut trees removed from the site, and those proceeds will go to the federal Treasury. The trees, which are common, aren’t legally protected.

The Star learned the amount of trees slated for clearing last week after obtaining Forest Service documents on the subject under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The service estimates 23,261 cords of wood, or roughly 66,000 tons, are on public land slated for clearing. A cord measures 4 feet deep by 4 feet high by 8 feet long.

“Rosemont has agreed to buy them. … Some will be left on site for reclamation. Whatever is left over, then it’s their call what to do with them,” said Mindy Vogel, the Coronado National Forest’s geology and minerals program manager.

Mine opponents say the tree clearing would symbolize Rosemont’s ecological damage. They say the trees offer good habitat for many bird species in the area.

“Trees serve an important function — for carbon sequestration, for erosion control, for wildlife, for visual resources,” said Brian Powell, program manager for Pima County’s Office of Sustainability and Conservation. “There is cultural significance for the oak trees (for) the Tohono O’odham (tribe). They are just a very important, compelling part of the landscape.”

Rosemont officials won’t comment on the trees until the Forest Service releases a draft decision on the mine. Officials of Tucson businesses that sell firewood and wood for furniture making say a market exists for timber sold from the site, although there isn’t a shortage of it.