The Port-Orford-cedar, a large evergreen tree, is native to the Pacific Northwest where it plays a significant role ecologically and commercially. The quality of its wood makes it an ideal choice for decking, siding, and flooring, and in specialty products such as wooden arrows and musical instruments. It is also planted around the world as an ornamental tree and for windbreaks.
The Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus) is a rare species found exclusively in California’s Sierra Nevada. While its range encompasses hundreds of miles, spanning five national forests and two national parks, the livelihood and future survival of this federally threatened species may come down to mere centimeters.
People all around the world manipulate ecosystems for their own purposes. It’s what you leave behind when you’re finished working or living in the area that determines whether the ecosystem survives or is irreparably harmed for future generations. For scientists like John Parrotta, national program leader for international science issues with the U.S. Forest Service, knowing what to leave behind is not always found in a college textbook or scientific journal.