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Recently released report predicts sustainable timber jobs, greater timber yield

By Steve Law
The Portland Tribune

Logging volume on federal lands in the Northwest could grow 44 percent if certain ecological criteria are followed, according to a new report published by Oregon Wild, Conservation Northwest, Geos Institute and Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

Regional forest conservation groups have released a new study showing how logging volume on federal lands in the Northwest could grow 44 percent if certain ecological criteria are followed.

The report, Ecologically Appropriate Restoration Thinning in the Northwest Forest Plan Area, projects that annual timber cutting could grow from the recent 537 million board feet up to 774 million board feet, via thinning of mostly small-diameter trees. If followed, the plan could increase logging and related jobs by 2,700, backers estimate.

The timber-cutting practices recommended in the study were piloted nearly 20 years ago by Jim Furnish, former deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service and forest supervisor on the Siuslaw National Forest.

“As Forest Supervisor, I wanted to change the paradigm – to end damaging logging of mature and old growth forests and focus on restoring degraded lands and damaged watersheds,” Furnish says. “As a result, the Siuslaw National Forest has consistently been among the top national forests in producing timber volume while restoring its rivers and streams, wild salmon runs and other species. There hasn’t been an appeal or litigation on the Siuslaw in over a dozen years.”

The report, authored by veteran forest resources activist Andy Kerr, is available at: oregonwild.org/oregon_forests/old_growth_protection/westside-forests/Ecologically_Appropriate_Restoration_Thinning_NWFP_Kerr_2012.pdf.

The report was published by Oregon Wild, Conservation Northwest, Geos Institute and Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

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