Three women sail through the Tongass National Forest, in Southeast Alaska, to chronicle the wildness at stake if clearcutting is allowed to encroach in “Understory” — one of the most beautiful short films of the year. It’s the largest remaining intact temperate rain forest on the planet, but the timber industry is sharpening its knives. The film tells the story of the place, the impact of the timber rush, and ponders a different conception of value.

“Why would we want to take what we know is a stable, working environment that’s protecting us from climate uncertainty, level it, and, as part of that, take the gamble that we will never see a forest like this again. This is not a renewable resource. Not in the lifetime of multiple generations is this a renewable resource… As Americans, we’re choosing every day to trade our only rainforest for a myth of economic timber production that has never existed. We continue to choose to cut down these trees
largely because most Americans don’t know that this place exists.” — Dr. Natalie Dawson – Executive Director, Audubon Alaska

We’re running it below in its full 40-minute length.


(top photo: Colin Arisman)

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