"The ecosystem made famous by the Twilight series is at risk, as moss traffickers pillage the Olympic Peninsula to feed the $350-million-per-year floral industry." (Sierra Club 2012).
"....Some 40 miles to the north is Forks, a formerly bustling logging outpost that's reinvented itself as a summer pilgrimage site for teenage tourists eager to witness the drizzly inspiration for Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series...As a result of strong demand from the European floral trade, these bouquet fillers have become a $350-million-per-year industry." (Sierra Club 2012).
"Carefully managed, this harvesting could have a small ecological footprint. But alongside the legal industry is a massive shadow operation of poachers, whose reckless extraction wreaks havoc on the forest and costs taxpayers millions.
What irks law enforcement most? It's damn near impossible to catch the bad guys" (Sierra Club 2012)
"The big brush sheds on the Olympic Peninsula lease land from the Forest Service or timber companies and buy forest products from pickers with permits. The greenery is then sold to floral wholesalers and distributors. Legitimate sheds harvest in natural cycles: Salal, for example, can be sustainably gathered if patches are rotated every three to five years. Poachers, though, have no compunction about overpicking or off-season harvesting, which can kill off patches altogether. Their illicit goods are usually sold to mobile buying sheds, "basically some sort of U-Haul truck parked in a driveway or in front of a run-down motel room," Officer Eison says. "You shut them down one day and they pop up somewhere else the next."
One group suffering from the rapacious harvesting is the Quinault tribe, whose reservation lies southwest of the national park. James Smith, a Native American who worked as a resource protection officer on the Quinault Reservation through 2010, says that quality bear grass for traditional basket weaving can no longer be found. "Illegal harvesters are pulling it up by the root, snipping what they want, and leaving the rest to die," he says. "We've caught them out there killing 40 to 80 acres at a time per season." Ten million pounds of bear grass is exported from Washington to Europe annually.
In 2010, an elk hunter stumbled upon poachers taking 40,000 pounds of western white pine boughs for holiday wreaths—destroying two multi-acre stands of trees in the process. Legitimate harvesters encourage tree growth by leaving 30 percent of the upper-crown boughs uncut. But these poachers took all the branches, killing the trees. " (Sierra Club 2012).
To whom it may concern:
When humans leave a footprint, it is returned onto them 1,000 fold in return. Stop thinking selfishly in the present, and begin to think about what may happen in the future, when ecosystems are destroyed by people like those who are "Pirates of the Rainforest." If they are able to continue their destruction, then the entire planet will suffer the consequences. This must be stopped immediately.
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