Landowners left behind

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The Washington Legislature is debating the future of the Forest Riparian Easement Program (FREP), which compensates small forest landowners for the value of trees they can’t cut down because of regulations. According to this KPLU story, the program was suspended last year because some landowners were apparently abusing the system. The so-called abuse was by property owners that never had … Read More

More cooperation in the forests

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The headline, even with a question mark, is provocative. Is it possible that the forest wars that have been waged for decades are over? Well, that remains to be seen, but the story from the Payson Roundup in Arizona raises some interesting issues. The article describes a visit to Payson from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack designed to highlight … Read More

A fight over carbon in California

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The Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona environmental group, has been very busy lately suing government agencies. Over the course of a few days, the group filed a notice to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its cleanup of toxins on a Pacific Ocean atoll, sued the state of California over its fish hatchery program and then sued … Read More

Another way to use wood

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A lot of people outside the timber world don’t even know what the word “biomass” means, but that probably won’t be true for much longer. Biomass — the woody material left over from timber harvesting or thinning — has the potential to be a potent source of energy, and everyone from the federal and state governments to the business community … Read More

Maintaining a balance

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Maintaining working forests is not an easy job, and what just about everyone can agree on is that keeping the forests rather than selling them off for development is a good thing. HB 2541, which is now making its way through the Washington Legislature in Olympia, would give forest landowners more flexibility in how they maintain their property. As this … Read More

Pledging “Wood First”

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It’s not just in the U.S. that logging towns are coming up with bold new solutions to keep their lifeblood going. For decades, the timber industry provided jobs, security and a sense of community for towns across the West. Why give that up? Campbell River, a city of 32,000 people on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, just adopted a “Wood … Read More

Good news for biomass

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Biomass appears to be gaining more and more momentum. The Wenatchee World just wrote an editorial about the state Department of Natural Resources’ pilot program and had this to say: If more of the wood fiber produced by thinning and clearing could be put to some beneficial use, it would solve many environmental and economic problems. If this wood — … Read More

Up close and personal

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Two interesting articles came out today that demonstrate the benefits and struggles of the timber industry.  The first is a column by Ellen Simpson with the Montana Wood Products Association, who argues that the timber industry is being left behind by government officials in the West, even though the industry was the region’s lifeblood for decades. And supporting timber jobs … Read More

Would Sen. Wyden’s legislation sustain or eliminate working forests?

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We are reminded once again that “beauty” is in the eye of the beholder.  A One Voice for Working Forests supporter who read “A forestry model for the future?” — the Bend Bulletin article mentioned here on Jan. 12 — suggested checking out another point of view:  “Wyden Proposes the End of Forest Stewardship in Eastern Oregon.”  It’s a commentary … Read More

Biomass on the verge

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The Pacific West Biomass Conference & Expo? is meeting this week in Sacramento, and the driving topic is the emerging potential of biomass as a major source of renewable energy. As James Boyd, the head of the California Energy Commission said Tuesday: “(Biomass) is a treasure sort of waiting to be discovered.” David Bischel, the head of the California Forestry … Read More