Rediscovering the NW timber harvest

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Two opinion pieces this week from Oregon writers, one in the Wall Street Journal and one in the Oregonian, provide a valuable perspective on the importance of the timber industry to Northwest communities. James L. Huffman, dean emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, writes in the Journal that the spotted owl recovery plan released in June by … Read More

Public recoils from court decision on logging roads

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We wrote earlier this month about a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that threw out 35 years of legal precedent and federal environmental policy by claiming for the first time that logging roads should be treated as if they were industrial sites. We also described the legislation that was introduced in Congress to overturn the decision. Local, state … Read More

Biomass exemption threatened in Washington state

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Even seemingly obscure legislative committees can have huge consequences for the timber industry, and no one should assume that the summer months will necessarily be quiet. In Washington state, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) came out this week with a preliminary report that recommends allowing an exemption on sales and use tax for woody biomass, otherwise known … Read More

Viability of U.S. timber industry threatened by legal decision

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Sometimes what may seem like a narrow court case can have far-ranging consequences. A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, originally made last year and affirmed in May, would threaten the viability of the timber industry in the West if allowed to stand. The decision upended 35 years of legal precedent and federal environmental policy by claiming … Read More

Newspapers weigh in on spotted owl

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The release last week of the final spotted owl recovery plan continues to reverberate. Newspaper editorial boards are beginning to weigh in, and the word is mixed at best. The Oregonian says the feds’ plan to kill some of the more aggressive barred owls with shotguns is not the greatest idea, but there may not be any other option. Of … Read More

Spotted owl plan finally arrives

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The release this week of the final spotted owl recovery plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came after months of delays, though at least it’s finally here. Both environmental groups and timber companies are still examining the final plan, but the initial reaction is not good. Tom Partin, the president of the American Forest Resource Council in Portland, … Read More

Fraud by Canada’s Sino-Forest?

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The big story in forestry circles this week — by a large margin — is the ongoing saga of Sino-Forest Corp., a Toronto-listed company that buys and sell timber in China. The company has attracted billions of dollars in investment over the last several years and says it has acquired hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests since 2007. But … Read More

Wildlife can be hard for forest owners to bear

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Wildlife is something that all forest owners have to deal with, for better or worse. Yes, animals are beautiful to see, but they can also harm your trees. The Capital Press and Coos Bay World both did stories in the last week on the struggle of forest owners to control the damage of black bears in Washington and Oregon. In … Read More

Reeling from a preventable forest fire

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The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona has now burned through 639 square miles of forest — adding 114 square miles just in the last day and is now headed across the state line to New Mexico. It’s the second-worst fire in Arizona state history. More disturbing: the massive fire may not have been nearly so large if the state’s forests … Read More

Restoring the legacy of our forests

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Mike Dubrasich, an Oregon forester and head of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment, gave a speech recently about federal forest policy and posted the text of the speech online. Dubrasich’s arguments resonate not just in Oregon but across the West. He says that federal officials have drastically underharvested federal forestland in Oregon, and that this has led … Read More