U.S. Forest Service moves to protect old-growth stands 

Trout Unlimited applauds proposal to conserve forests that are key for carbon storage, clean water, and wild and native fisheries  


ARLINGTON, Va.—The Forest Service announced a proposal today aimed at conserving America’s old-growth forests, which are essential for carbon storage and provide healthy fish and wildlife habitat but are increasingly vulnerable to wildfire, invasive insects, and disease—threats exacerbated by climate change.

Trout Unlimited applauded the first-of-its-kind proposal for a nationwide forest management plan amendment covering all 128 forest plans, which would bring consistent protections to old-growth trees on national forests.

“Bully for the Forest Service! As one of the nation’s preeminent land managers, they know well the importance of older forests for combating climate change,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Our national forests not only store carbon, they also provide clean water for tens of millions of American families and healthy habitat for wild and native trout and salmon. This kind of conservation leadership would make Gifford Pinchot proud, and gives the agency the opportunity to create stronger, more resilient forests that will benefit generations.”

The proposal grows out of a 2022 executive order from President Biden aimed at protecting old-growth forests and preserving the climate resiliency benefits they provide. Earlier this year, a first-ever inventory found 32 million acres of old-growth forests on public lands across the country, and more than 80 million acres of mature forest. Most of the trees are more than 100 years old.

Today’s announcement is the start of a months-long process to protect them by updating all forest plans to encourage management of old-growth stands for long-term resilience. The public will have 45 days to comment on the proposal.


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to caring for and recovering America’s rivers and streams so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon. Across the country, TU brings to bear local, regional and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters and vibrant communities.