Give a Hoot About Habitat Loss
For decades, America's logging industry has clashed with environmentalists. Loggers wanted to cut down more trees. Environmentalists wanted to protect the spotted owl's home.
The spotted owl only lives in “ancient” forests with trees 100 to 200 years old. Once 15 million acres of ancient forests covered parts of North America. Now 90 percent of that has been cut down.
Unlike “new” plantation-style forests, ancient forests have uneven tree growth. Fallen logs, dead tree remains, and certain kinds of fungi attract flying squirrels and other animals. They, in turn, become the spotted owl's prey.
The spotted owl was listed as “threatened” under the United States' Endangered Species Act. While the spotted owl has legal protection, its long-term survival remains a hotly debated issue.