CBD Sues over San Bernardino flying squirrel, black-backed woodpecker

This lawsuit aims at ESA protection for 9 species, one of which is the San Bernardino flying squirrel, a subspecies of the northern flying squirrel that lives at high elevations in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains of southern California. According to the USFWS, it is “believed that the San Bernardino flying squirrel represents ancestral populations that have been isolated in forested, higher elevation refugia by a warming climate” (since the last ice age). And “The [CBD] petition states that high-elevation species have limited suitable habitat for movement in response to these [more recent] climate-caused shifts in habitat, and may simply run out of suitable habitat to occupy.”

Also involved: “two distinct populations of the black-backed woodpecker.”

However, the IPCC says, “Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped.” (IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.) So much for the squirrel. But maybe climate change will bring more fires, and thus more snags, which will benefit the black-backed woodpecker.

 

Enviro group sues feds over flying squirrel protections

3 Comments

  1. Based on what’s in the stories, it’s not clear what the feds are supposed to do for the squirrel, except perhaps a controlled temperature dome above the San Bernardino and San Jacintos? Or maybe move them further north?

    More intense fire suppression? With all the people living there, and powerful Congressfolk, I bet it’s pretty intense already.

    Note: I don’t think there are any of the usual suspects (timber, grazing, oil and gas) in the SJ’s and the SB’s.

    • I guess the “12 million dead trees” that died from bark beetles in the San Bernardino NF didn’t satiate the woodpecker’s appetite for snag forests in 2002, eh? You would think there would have been a population explosion in such birds, with all those dead trees showing up at the same time. Eventually, when all the trees are gone, what will the birds do? Yes, they will fly northward, to find more of the kind of dead forests they like, leaving the LA Forests behind, on their own.

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