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OPINION: We need to talk about how logging in the southern U.S. is harming local residents

Deforestation in the American South is four times that of South America’s rainforests — and it’s disproportionately hurting low-income people and people of color

Illustration by Sean Quinn

The industrialization of forests in the southern U.S. has degraded biodiversity, carbon sinks, natural flood control and other critical services forests provide.

It is an injustice that those who benefit the least from destructive industries bear the brunt of the impacts.

In the same way we need a just transition away from resource extraction in the coal fields of Appalachia, we need a just transition in the forest economy of the Southern Coastal Plain.

By restoring the forest — as well as the air, water and climate — we can restore our communities, our relationship to each other and our morality.

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Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet.