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Ecological restoration thinning brings jobs

Jul 06, 2012

July 6 - A new report predicts that thinning done in an ecologically sound way brings more timber jobs and restores Northwest forests. The report was jointly released by Conservation Northwest, the Geos Institute, the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild.

Ecological restoration thinning brings jobs

Ecological thinning benefits forests and jobs in the Northwest. Photo: Regan Nelson

A new report calculates the amount timber and jobs that can be produced through "ecologically appropriate restoration thinning" in national forests west of the Cascades.

"Ecologically Appropriate Restoration Thinning in the Northwest Forest Plan Area: A Policy and Technical Analysis" addresses restoration thinning in the Northwest Forest Plan area of western Washington, Oregon, and northern California. The area encompasses much of the range of the endangered northern spotted owl.

According to the report, a 20-year plan for ecological restoration thinning would send 44% more federal timber volume to local mills, equaling more than 2,700 new timber jobs. That wood comes completely as a byproduct from previously logged and replanted forests.

Mature and old-growth moist forest stands would not be logged, nor would any older trees in dry forest stands.

"This...would equate to 2,700 new timber jobs in logging and hauling and milling, and related jobs. So, there's a way to create jobs in an environmentally-friendly manner—we ought to be doing it." - Andy Kerry, quoted in a Public News Service story

"Timber produced as a byproduct of ecologically appropriate restoration thinning will be commercially valuable," notes report author Andy Kerr, "but it won’t come from the largest trees, which are treasured by a majority of Americans as an important natural legacy and a critical component of functioning, resilient, ecosystems and watersheds."

NW forest plan area
NW forest plan area

Ecological restoration thinning is way to restore forests, improving their structure and function and the health of watersheds and wildlife habitat.

The report was jointly released by Conservation Northwest, the Geos Institute, the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild. Consulting forester Derek Churchill conducted the technical analysis and modeling for the report;  Churchill used to work for Conservation Northwest.

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