8 Dec 2008, 12:40pm
Federal forest policy
by admin

Money growing on Oregon trees

by Tom Partin, guest opinion, the Oregonian, November 30, 2008 [here]

The economic news facing Oregon is grim. Governor Ted Kulongoski and the state’s legislative leaders face an anticipated $1 billion budget shortfall and an unemployment rate that has shot up to 7.3 percent. Meanwhile, Oregon’s forest products industry is struggling mightily and is estimated to lose another 7 percent of its jobs in 2009 on top of the 7.5 percent reduction experienced this year. The Governor has an opportunity to aid Oregon’s economy and the struggling wood products sector by supporting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Western Oregon Plan Revision.

The BLM’s plan would help put rural Oregonians back to work and improve forest health conditions for the 2.1 million acres of O&C County timberlands in southwest Oregon. The plan calls for the sustainable harvest of 502 million board feet annually, which is less than half of the annual growth of these forests. The plan also sets aside over half of those lands for endangered species. It is a balanced plan that would also help idle plants reopen and improve the dire economic conditions the Governor must now address.

Harvests from Oregon’s federal forests are less than 10 percent of levels experienced in the early 1990s. A more sustainable level of harvest is needed to help the industry access reasonably priced local timber to remain economically viable in the face of intense domestic and international competition. Our federal forests are also in a dire need of increased management to address a growing forest health crisis.

Earlier this summer, the Governor toured federal and private forests in Klamath and Lake Counties and witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by insects, disease and overcrowding which are direct results of a lack of forest management. Afterwards he stated, “These poor forest conditions are present throughout much of Oregon’s federal forests and greatly increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires” and called for action to restore forest health, reduce fire risk and provide a sustainable resource for Oregon’s long-term economic viability.

Now is the time for the Governor to take action to address Oregon’s forest health problems and the economic woes that are currently plaguing our state. The Governor received the plan in early October and was given 60 days for review. He must support the BLM’s plan to restore sustainable management to the O&C County timberlands in order to prevent disastrous effects, not only to our forest lands, but also to our air quality, drinking water, and our state’s struggling economy.

Tom Partin is the President of the American Forest Resource Council. AFRC represents forest product manufacturers and landowners throughout the west and is based in Portland, Oregon.

8 Dec 2008, 6:57pm
by Jack Mayhoffer

Very important article in yesterday’s Oregonian.

Headline: Forest fire report: Big losses rarer than feared

Recent FS report throws a little cold water on your life’s work.

Looks like the situation is perhaps not as dire as you say (at least in Oregon). Time to shut your little website down?

Please comment.

article link: http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-28/1228523653142290.xml&storylist=orlocal

8 Dec 2008, 7:37pm
by Mike

The FIA (Forest Inventory) arm of the PNWFRES (Research Station) lives in its own little world. They are trying to be relevant, but it’s tough.

They have altered their sampling design quite a bit. They used to maintain a grid of permanent plots, but so much bias crept in that the numbers went south. Now they struggle with new designs, but their inferences are still squirrelly. They measure the wrong things in the wrong places and so mostly their numbers are still bad.

Harvest data is pretty accurate, I think. Everything else is questionable. They have no idea where crown fires will or will not erupt. And don’t forget that they include all forestland, public and private. Private land is not prone to crown fires because it’s all cut over. That’s half the forest land base. So if half the land is not crown fire prone, that means all the Fed forest land is.

If you can believe them, which I can’t.

I have done forest inventory for 35 years and have a stat degree, emphasis on measuring forests. I have dealt with FIA many times. I know them, their methods, their history, and I feel sorry for them. I think they are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. It used to be that industry lobbied to keep FIA funded, but those days are gone. Note the emphasis on carbon storage (as well as crown fire). They are groping for a hook to maintain funding.

Which is why I did not write a post about them or their little report. I wish them well, even though they are pathetic and drowning.

As for my “life’s work,” at least I have one. What is it that you do Jack? Please comment.

8 Dec 2008, 8:52pm
by Bob Z.


a) It really wasn’t a very important article.

b) Note that “rarer than feared” is a relative term based on a value statement. This, of course, begs the question: “feared by whom?”

c) “A little cold water” is not very much cold water. Why would that cause a blog to shut down?

d) The “situation” has been very “dire” since 1987, at least, and remains so today. Shouldn’t that justify a website in and of itself?

e) This website seems mostly about the need for improved management of our nation’s forests, rather than based entirely on “fear” of “losses.” Shouldn’t that justify a website in and of itself?

For some reason, Jack, the existence of this “little website” seems to bother you. Why could you possibly be interested in whether it is shut down or not?

I really am very curious. Yes, please do comment.

9 Dec 2008, 11:00am
by Stub

Right on, and Partin’s comments apply to the entire Northwest if not further.

State after State are coming up with deficits in their budgets. They have an opportunity to feed their coffers with good forest management receipts, and if they were smart enough, to lower PILT payments accordingly or add to them to help the counties.



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