How do we protect the future of family forests?

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One unavoidable truth in the timber business is that our country’s small forest landowners are getting older. According to the U.S. Forest Service, 20 percent of U.S. family forestland is owned by people 75 years and older. Another 30 percent of family forests are owned by people between 55 and 65. There is already a movement afoot to attract young … Read More

Impact of bark beetles is deeper than just dead trees

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The bark beetle epidemic that has spread across the West in the last 17 years is unmistakable. Forty-six million acres of forests in the U.S. have been affected. In British Columbia, 576,000 acre feet of trees have been killed, which is the same amount of timber that’s harvested over a normal 10-year period in B.C. But the impact of the … Read More

Forest collaborative comes to Olympic Peninsula

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Forest collaboratives – coalitions of timber and environmental interests, along with local, state and federal leaders – are all the rage right now. We’ve written about them here in the Northwest many times (like here and here), and while the projects have been far from perfect, they have undoubtedly been successful in at least getting all the parties at the … Read More

Sen. Ron Wyden unveils much-anticipated timber harvest plan

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After more than a year of anticipation, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., this week unveiled his plan to increase the federal timber harvest. His plan comes two months after the U.S. House approved a sweeping timber reform bill, sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., called the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. As expected, Wyden’s bill does not increase the … Read More

Washington timber industry takes center stage

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The timber industry in Washington is a real newsmaker. The Longview Daily News reported earlier this month about Weyerhaeuser embarking on a local hiring boom, with timber leaders optimistic about the future. Nationwide housing starts are expected to hit 900,000 this year, nearly triple the 2008 low point during the recession, said Cindy Mitchell of the Washington Forest Protection Association, … Read More

Timber country is ready for a resurgence

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The plight of our country’s timber towns has been well documented here and elsewhere. But it’s a story that needs to keep being told because the livelihoods and futures of entire swaths of the American West are at stake. As we’ve noted in the past, finding a solution that improves these towns’ economies is not as simple as just magically … Read More

Tribal forest management comes into the spotlight

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This year has been a good year for deals to preserve working forests in Washington. From Mount St. Helens to the Seattle area, several deals have been struck with landowners to ensure that forests will continue to be managed and protected from development. And now the good fortune continues. In the biggest deal of them all this year, the Muckleshoot … Read More

Green Globes scores huge blow against LEED monopoly

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The U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED building standard have been enjoying a de facto monopoly in the lucrative green building industry, but that is quickly changing. For years, the USGBC has been getting pressure for its exclusive use of the Forest Stewardship Council over the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a decision that has ruled out much of the U.S. … Read More

Biomass in Washington has bright future

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Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has long been a supporter of active forest management, including the use of biomass. (He even wrote an op-ed in the Seattle Times about it.) Recent news coverage shows how the state is moving forward on forest thinning and biomass in Eastern and Central Washington. In Northeast Washington, Goldmark’s agency – the state … Read More

Printing your emails won’t hurt forests

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We’ve all seen the taglines: “Please don’t print this email” or “Save trees: Print only when necessary.” But most people who stick these lines at the end of their messages have no idea about how forestry is accomplished, how paper is produced or about the real threats to the world’s forests. This disconnect – between easy cut-and-paste rhetoric and a … Read More