Overcrowded forests are hurting drought-stricken communities

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Smart forest management is a need that gets more important every year. Because our country’s federal forests aren’t being actively restored and managed, they are dying from insects, disease and massive wildfires. These forests are dangerous to their neighbors – so overcrowded that they’re a tinderbox for increasingly destructive wildfires, and fires or not, filled with disease-riddled trees that could … Read More

Wood skyscrapers begin to gain traction in the U.S. – and the Northwest

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What a big week for the future of tall wood buildings. It was three years ago that the U.S. government announced it would promote wood as a green building material, and it has spent more than $2 million on emerging wood technologies through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory. Using wood for construction is one thing, but using … Read More

Northwest voices rise in support of forest management

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It’s encouraging to see Northwest voices come out in support of active forest management. As we wrote last month, forest management is sometimes pushed aside in the discussion over forest health and climate change, and that’s unfortunate. Steve Mealey, a vice president of the hunter and conservation group Boone and Crockett Club, wrote in the Eugene Register-Guard recently about how … Read More

Departure of Hastings and Wyden from key positions will impact federal timber reform

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Doc Hastings is a Republican, and Ron Wyden is a Democrat. But both members of Congress are from the Northwest and both care deeply about increasing the federal timber harvest. Which is why some impending changes to their status in Washington, D.C., could have major implications for the Northwest’s clout on environmental issues, especially federal timber reform. Rep. Hastings, from … Read More

Wood products firms find new ways to succeed

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The timber business is one of the oldest industries in the country, particularly in the West, but it never stands still. Just last week, the media profiled four wood products firms that are using innovation to not just survive, but thrive. To start, Rice Logging in Sweet Home, Ore., isn’t as old as most timber firms (founded in the 1980s) … Read More

Our federal forests can be saved with active management

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There is one thing our local, state and federal governments can agree on: our nation’s federal forests are in poor health. We are facing a record wildfire season this year and federal forests across the West are diseased by pine beetles, spruce budworms and root rot. But what’s lost in the shuffle is the fact that more than anything, active … Read More

Timber reform now subject to delicate negotiations in D.C.

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Timber and environmental leaders agree that meaningful federal timber reform in Washington, D.C., is closer than it’s ever been. Describing the situation, Nick Smith, a spokesman for Healthy Forests Healthy Communities, a pro-timber group, used a football analogy. “It feels like we’ve taken this thing all the way down to the 5-yard line,” he said. “Now we’ve got to take … Read More

Congress ends legal battle over logging roads

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With the passage of a new Farm Bill this week, Congress ended a legal battle over logging roads that started all the way back in 2006. The issue started eight years ago, when an environmental group filed a lawsuit against an Oregon timber company, claiming the company’s logging roads were “point sources” of stormwater pollution and therefore subject to federal … Read More

Tiny crystals could be a boon to paper and pulp industry

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Who knew that nanocrystals could be so important to the paper industry? Cellulose nanocrystals, a microscopic material produced by processing wood pulp, are at the forefront of what the U.S. National Science Foundation says could become a $600 billion industry by 2020. The crystals are stronger than stainless steel, carbon fiber or kevlar. And they’re incredibly plentiful in wood and … Read More

Wild Olympics proposal is revived

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Wild Olympics is back. The proposal to make 126,000 acres of Olympic National Forest off-limits to logging and also name 19 rivers and seven tributaries as wild and scenic is up for consideration again in Congress. This new version, sponsored by new U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer and veteran U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, was introduced on Friday and is pretty much … Read More