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

Another biomass study is refuted

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This week Oregon State University released a study that claims using woody biomass for electricity isn’t carbon neutral. But like the Manomet study out of Massachusetts last year, the OSU study is not standing up well to scrutiny. So much so that some critics of the study are from Oregon State University itself. Paul Barnum, executive director of the (Oregon … Read More

Reframing the message on working forests

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Larry Selzer is the CEO of The Conservation Fund, a Washington, D.C-based group that doesn’t give environmental groups a bad name. He is also a two-term board member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and he gave the keynote address at the recent SFI Annual Conference. Selzer is a living example of how environmentalism and forestry are not mutually exclusive. … Read More

Forest decline can be fought with smart policies

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The New York Times recently painted a bleak picture of the future of our world’s forests. Driven by population growth, climate change and the continued emission of greenhouse gases, the world’s forests are being decimated by massive wildfires, drought, deforestation and beetles. The Times certainly did its research. The primary story is accompanied by an 8-minute video and blog post … Read More

Will Congress help timber-dependent counties?

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There’s a financial crisis afoot across the Pacific Northwest, but unfortunately a lot of people probably don’t know about it because it affects many of our rural counties. For years the federal government has given a share of the federal timber harvest to timber-dependent counties in Washington and Oregon as a way to make up for the loss of revenue … Read More

The good news and the bittersweet news

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The news sounds great: West Coast log and lumber exports went up by 79 and 83 percent in the first six months of this year, according to the U.S. Forest Service. But as this Oregonian story points out, reaction to the news isn’t that simple. Yes, China’s building boom means big business for West Coast lumber producers, but forestry advocates … Read More

Who uses our national forests?

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When we hike or fish on federal forestland, we see the people around us, but it’s hard to tell in any comprehensive way how that forestland is being used or who’s using the land. But the U.S. Forest Service recently released a survey that shows how many people are visiting our country’s national forests and the demographics of those visitors. … Read More