December 27, 2011 --
Forest Policy Briefs
by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers,
Governor’s Mixed Message: Something of a rare event, Gov. John Kitzhaber addressed Oregon’s Board of Forestry at its November meeting, delivering a rambling speech of conflicting platitudes. On one hand, the Gov. suggested re-examining state forest harvest to improve economic input to communities; and a new approach to federal forest management involving “a need to increase management activity.” Alternatively, the Gov. criticized private forest policies that allow log exports, saying that it’s wrong to “export our natural capital and jobs.” The Governor fails to understand that without exports Oregon’s forest sector simply would have fewer markets and jobs from our growing timber. Repeating a list of worn-out, politically-correct slogans, the Gov. emphasized resolution of public forest problems by increased “collaboration…landscape-wide sustainable forestry…and conservation areas.” The Board thanked the Gov. for his concern.
Fires Above Average: Although the Northwest had a mild 2011 fire season, forest & rangeland wildfires burned near record acreages in the Southwest and Southern US. Through Nov. 14th, 64,943 fires had burned 8.21 million acres nationwide. The 10-year average is 70,000 fires over 6.87 million acres—indicating much larger fires this year. The US Forest Service reported in August that a research study concluded, again, that thinned forests harvested to leave 50-100 trees/acre are effective at reducing future crown fires and timber losses to wildfires in Western forests.
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