A new plan called “Safe Harbor” has been set forth by federal and state natural resource agencies and it promises to help both sides of human-nature debate.
The new plan helps increase spotted owl habitat that is moving into state an dprivate lands. The plan also helps landowners from new endangered species rules in the future.
The Oregonan notes…
“…If anything, implementing owl protection plans outside federal forests acknowledges that much of Oregon’s logging has shifted to state and private land since the owl was listed as an endangered species in 1990. Of the spotted owl habitat in Oregon, 4 million acres is on federal land and about 1 million is on state or private land, but spotted owls don’t confine nesting to national forests.
Two-thirds of endangered species spend all or part of their lives on private land, according to federal officials, and that’s where the logging action is now. As a result, conservation plans are migrating to private land as well.
That’s a concern to property owners leery of dealing with the government and endangered species, says Paul Henson, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Oregon office in Portland. Gaining landowners’ trust is a challenge, he says.
Under safe-harbor agreements, landowners agree to manage their timber in a sustainable fashion for 50 years, a break from the rotational model of clear-cutting and replanting every 40 years or so. If an owl nests on their property, owners are still allowed to log, as long as the work results in a “net conservation benefit” as defined by the involved agencies. The agreements can be renewed or transferred if the property changes hands.
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