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News :: Environment
Maine Woods Named One of Nation's Biggest and Best Forests in New Report
05 Jan 2005
The Maine Woods was named as one of the nation’s “Keystone Forests” by the environmental group Greenpeace today.

In a new report, "America’s Keystone Forests: Mapping the Next 100 Years of Forest Protection," Greenpeace identifies the biggest forest areas left in the United States that provide the best habitat for the most diverse species. Of the 11 forests named, the Maine Woods stood out as the keystone forest made up of the highest percentage of private land. Most of the other keystone forests consist primarily of public lands.
"The Maine Woods is the largest surviving forest in the eastern United States. The bad news is that region's wilderness values are being eroded by destructive logging and development,” said Michael J. Kellett, executive director of RESTORE: The North Woods. “The good news is that we still have a chance to permanently protect the heart of the Maine Woods as a magnificent national park." RESTORE has submitted a proposal to the National Park Service for the creation of a 3.2 million-acre Maine Woods National Park and Preserve.

Greenpeace worked with the Big Sky Conservation Institute to identify the keystone forests, using the latest scientific studies of forest fragmentation, road density, biological diversity and health of plant and animal communities. Unique maps show the condition and ownership of the forest lands. The Maine Woods Keystone Forest also includes the White Mountain National Forest in Maine and New Hampshire.

“Historically many of our national parks were acquired from private lands,” said Pamela Wellner, Greenpeace senior campaigner and co-author of the report. “The fact that the Maine Woods is mostly private land doesn’t make its protection any less vital. This forest is as important to New England for its ecological and recreational values as the public forests are to Oregon or Montana.”

The report also details how the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have allowed, and even encouraged, rampant industrial exploitation of the nation’s public forests at taxpayer expense. Under the Bush administration, this mismanagement is escalating at an unprecedented rate. America’s Keystone Forests provides a blueprint for saving the nation’s remaining forests by offering specific policy recommendations, including immediate approval of all pending national park proposals.

Local spokespeople are available for comment for each keystone forest region. To read the report and view the maps, visit

This work is in the public domain.
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