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 isn’t about nostalgia, Simpson writes.
The demand for timber remains high, but the vast supply in the West isn’t being harvested, she says. California, for instance, imports 70 percent of the wood products it consumes, even though the wood is right there within its borders. Those countless timber jobs could be used to help alleviate the state’s high unemployment and massive deficits. And when everyone is looking for new energy sources, the burgeoning biomass industry is getting short shrift.
The Capital Press wrote about a presentation by some loggers outside Seattle to some visiting Farm Bureau members. According to the story, the loggers cut down some trees, pointed out the different types of wood and answered questions about the state of the timber industry. The demonstration was straightforward and simple — and very effective. Logging is a risky and thrilling endeavor, and seeing the trees come down and be prepared for shipping firsthand is a powerful way to see why responsible timber harvesting is necessary to produce the goods that we all depend on each day.