Mount St. Helens guides federal timber projects

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A series of pilot projects on federal timberland, led by retired professors from University of Washington and Oregon State University, is now taking some lessons from Mount St. Helens. The projects, which we wrote about last year, could be an important step toward bridging the gap between the concerns of timber companies and environmental groups. The latest U.S. Bureau of … Read More

SFI scores victories and momentum

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Last we checked on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative–Forest Stewardship Council (SFI-FSC) debate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had just chosen domestic wood as a preferred material for new construction, and the Forest Service said it would promote not just the LEED building standard but also Green Globes and the National Green Building Standard, both of which recognize SFI. The victories … Read More

Waiting on Congress to act

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If there was ever a time for the timber industry to be closely watching Congress, it is now. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would have massive importance on two issues of paramount concern to the industry: the Ninth Circuit decision on logging roads and the end of federal payments to timber-dependent counties in Oregon and Washington. Early word is encouraging … Read More

U.S. and Canada joust over timber future

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The U.S. and Canada haven’t been exactly buddy-buddy in recent years when it comes the lumber market. Certainly the economic downturn hasn’t helped matters, since there has been less market share to go around. But there could be some brighter days ahead. Both countries are likely to extend their softwood lumber trade agreement from 2013 until 2015, according to U.S. … Read More

Supreme Court may take Ninth Circuit logging case

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The U.S. Supreme Court today signaled it may hear a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case that claims logging roads should be treated as industrial sites. The Ninth Circuit decision (which we last wrote about here) said that every stream culvert and drainage ditch on hundreds of thousands of miles of logging roads should require a permit. This would require … Read More

The rise of ‘Chain-saw Environmentalism’

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As momentum builds across the West for an increased timber harvest to better manage forests, a new term has emerged: “chain-saw environmentalism.” The Salt Lake Tribune, in an in-depth story, says the movement is picking up steam nationally, as well as locally in an attempt to save aspen groves in Colorado. Too late to head off a wave of climate-fueled … Read More

More timber harvest on the way?

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Sometimes it just takes time for elected officials to come around, and in the Northwest, federal and state leaders are beginning to understand the importance of working forests. Now it remains to be seen whether this will translate into more harvest of state and federal timberland — in order to improve the health of those forests and revitalize rural economies … Read More

Time for teamwork and new solutions in Washington state

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If there was a theme at the Washington Forest Protection Association’s annual meeting in Olympia this week, it was that innovative solutions will be a critical part of the timber industry’s future. Public money is scarce and the old timber battles are over. That the old rules no longer apply was evident with the presence on stage of Martha Kongsgaard, … Read More

Timber resurgence gets political support

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It’s been heartening to see support recently from Northwest elected officials for revitalizing rural economies and rebuilding the timber industry after environmental lawsuits and the spotted owl. As we wrote about in September, one of the most pressing issues is the loss of federal payments to timber-dependent counties in Oregon and Washington. Some county governments, like Skamania County in Southwest … Read More

Oregon governor makes a bold move

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Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber spoke to his state’s Board of Forestry this week and had some bold ideas that you don’t often hear from governors, especially on timber issues. His proposal is relevant not just for Oregon but every Western state. (Kitzhaber told the board) to step back from the “politically driven seesaw management” of the state’s timberland and adopt … Read More