Is this the future of America’s national forests, or will Congress wake up before it is too late?
Bruce Vincent: Founder, Provider Pals - Libby Montana,
John Marker: Orchardist - Government Liason Region 6, U.S. Forest Service, retired - Hood River, Oregon
Rob Freres: Freres Lumber, Vice-President - Lyons, Oregon
Chris Brong: Skamania County Commissioner - Stevenson, Washington
Mike Newton: Professor Emeritus, Forest Ecologist, Oregon State University - Corvallis, Oregon
Steve Mealey: PhD Wildlife Biologist, Consultant - U.S.Forest Service, retired - Springfield, Oregon
Vinnie Corrao: Co-Owner and Founder of Northwest Management - Moscow, Idaho
This is our first installment featuring each of our Board Members in an article, essay, or interview: Steve Mealey in an Op-Ed piece publisehd by the Register Guard of Eugene, Oregon and Mike Newton in Part I of a three part interview with Jim Petersen.
Stephen P. Mealey
Forest Management Needed in an Era of Climate Change
Oregon's O & C Forest Lands: "The Rest of the Story"
After reading recent guest opinion pieces (Keene 2/4/14 - Click here to view Op-Ed by Roy Keene and Doppelt 2/5/14 - Click here to view Op-Ed by Bob Dopplet) citing climate change as a primary reason to curtail management of the O&C forests, I felt compelled as Paul Harvey might have put it: "to tell the rest of the story". The following is a key message from the forestry chapter of the 2013 draft National Climate Assessment (NCA): "Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of forests to ecosystem change and tree mortality through fire, insect infestations, drought, and disease outbreaks. Western U. S. forests are particularly vulnerable to increased wildfire and insect outbreaks..."
In 2012, U. S. Forest Service researchers supporting the NCA concluded: "By the end of the 21st century, forest ecosystems in the U. S. will differ from those of today as a result of changing climate...wildfires, insect infestations, pulses of erosion and flooding and drought-induced tree mortality are all expected to increase during the 21st century."Around 48% of the 2.2 million acres of O&C forests are unhealthy and fire-prone, conditions that will only worsen with prolonged climate warming. Nearly 25% are classified as Fire Regime Condition Class 3 (FRCC3) meaning the risk of losing key ecosystem components (i.e., soil, water, wildlife) to uncharacteristic wildfires that are larger and more intense and severe than normal, is high. In addition to climate warming, these conditions reflect the long-term policy of fire exclusion and the dramatic reduction of timber management since 1990. Natural disturbance cycles have been altered, and have not been replaced by managed systems. Most of these "at risk" forests are called "Dry Forests" by Jerry Franklin and Norm Johnson and are generally found between the southern end of the Willamette Valley and California on the BLM Roseburg and Medford Districts and the Klamath Falls Resource Area. Forest types include Southwest Oregon mixed conifer, dry ponderosa pine, red fir, dry Douglas fir, and California mixed evergreen habitats...
The following is an excerpt, to read the full Part I Interview, click here
Evergreen: It is our recollection that you are a strong advocate for salvage logging in the aftermath of large wildfires. Environmentalists - and some scientists - insist that salvaging timber killed in a big fire does more harm than good. What say you and, more importantly, what does the field research tell us about possible environmental benefits of prompt salvage and replanting following big wildfires?
Newton: "Oh my, such a big and important question. Much has been written about salvage logging following big fire events. The variations you see in the literature often emanate from the fact that not all forests respond to fire in the same way. The stage is set for a big wildfire in a mixed conifer dry site forest in the Intermountain West in a much different way than it sets or a big fire in a cooler, wetter coastal Douglas-fir and hemlock forest, or a hardwood forest in the Midwest or the East. How each of these forests responds to a big fire also differs, so there is no one-size fits all answer to your question. Nearby, there is controversy over leaving snags on O&C lands after the Douglas-Complex fires. In that situation, the adjacency of four miles of boundaries with private land on each section of federal land points to the disaster confronting any adjacent landowner next to a sea of snags that attract lightning. And snags do attract lightning, especially when on high ground. But on a general perspective, lots of burns leave a great deal of unburned but dried fuel. So they burn again, provide days or weeks of smoky skies and risk of escapement, with the repeated exposure of neighbors, destroyed reforestation efforts, wildlife and their forage and many kinds of habitat to prolonged and costly destruction. It just makes no sense unless one is a purist...
Mapping the Course: Forest Products Processing and Energy Issues for 2014
Sponsored by Wood Resources International and The Western Forestry and Conservation Association, this symposium, conducted January 30 at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Washington, provided participants with information, analysis and perspective concerning global markets for Pacific Northwest lumber, plywood, logs, chips, paper and biomass. Understanding the factors that influence global trade in wood fiber is key to gaining a broader understanding of why it is that those who are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in private capital in increasing U.S. timberland productivity are not anxious to see unwanted market competition from federal forest lands that, under better management, could earn a healthy return for U.S. taxpayers.
By Barry Wynsma
U.S. Forest Service - Retired
National Association of Forest Service Retirees
Last fall, Jim Petersen, the founder and executive director of the Evergreen Foundation, asked me an intriguing question:
How did The Black Hills National Forest in the Rocky Mountain Region, manage to sell almost one-half the timber volume sold in the entire Northern Region?
The Black Hills National Forest lies within the jurisdiction of the Rocky Mountain Region (Region 2), which includes forests and grasslands in South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado. The Northern Region includes forests and grasslands in the states of Montana, Idaho and North Dakota.
Historic timber sale records the Forest Service maintains1 reveal the amazing truth. Over the last 10 years (2003-2012) the Black Hills timber staff sold on average 91 million board feet of timber per year while the entire Northern Region has sold an average 217 million board feet over the same period. In other words, the Black Hills is selling about 42% of the timber that the entire Northern Region sells annually.
Before I explain how and why I believe the Black Hills is able to perform so much better than the Northern Region timber staffs, I wold like to propose the following question:
Is it fair to compare the timber sale capabilities between one forest and one region? Let's take a look...
Last July 9, Wall Street Journal columnist, Bret Stephens, posed the question headlined above: Can environmentalists think
His column concerned environmentalist reaction to a July 6 train derailment and fire at Lac-Megantic, Quebec, about 20 miles north of the Maine border. Forty-seven lives were lost and more than half the small community's downtown business district was destroyed in the explosion and fire that followed the derailment of multiple tank cars carrying North Dakota crude oil destined for an Irving Oil Companyrefinery at St. Johns, New Brunswick.
Stephens feigned surprise that environmentalists weren't howling about the derailment, which spilled some 26,000 gallons of crude oil into the Chaudiere River, a tributary of the mighty St. Lawrence.He correctly guessed they wouldn't say much because saying much of anything would have exposed the hypocrisy of their flat out opposition to the construction of new oil pipelines, a much safer way to transport oil than by rail. Stephens thus asks, "Can environmentalists think?"
"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down
For What It's Worth
Buffalo Springfield, 1967
Stephen Stills, lyrics
I was 23 when Buffalo Springfield recorded "For What It's Worth." The year was 1967, Vietnam was raging, and the whole damned country was in turmoil. The war shredded the generational fabric of oursociety in ways that have thus far made its mending impossible.
Although we are the best fed, best housed and most affluent nation in history, we are even more restless, directionless and unhappy than we were then. As Buffalo Springfield guitarist, Stephen Stillswrote 46 years ago, "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."
by: Jim Petersen, Founder & Executive Director, The Evergreen Foundation
I never cease to be amazed by life's unexpected twists and turns. This afternoon, I listened in on a web press conference hosted by Cal Joyner, the Forest Services' Southwest Region Regional Forester, and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative [4FRI], a regional collaborative that we know well because of our years of advocacy for thinning dead and dying trees from the Southwest's federally owned firetraps, otherwise known as national forests.
The subject was a changing of the guard within the 4FRI restoration project - at 300,000 acres the largest such project ever undertaken by the U.S. Forest Service. Pioneer Forest Resources, based in Billings, Montana, has been the designated contractor for this project for several years, but the company has been unable to secure the financing needed to build necessary wood processing infrastructure in northern Arizona.
Enter Good Earth Power AZ LLC, an apparently deep-pocketed and politically well-connected company based in - of all unlikely places - the Sultanate of Oman. In the category of strange twists and turns, this is one of the strangest I've ever seen.
by Jim Petersen, Founder and Executive Director, The Evergreen Foundation
It is 5:00 AM in any given time zone across these United States. While many are hitting the snooze alarm, or enjoying their first cup of coffee, a dedicated group of professionals is already on the job. They are America's loggers, harvesters of the timber that will eventually make its way into every American home in the form of building materials, the morning newspaper, paper towels, an egg carton, cereal box or those two time-honored morning rituals: brushing teeth or, well, you know.
Thousands of everyday products - including many pharmaceuticals - contain wood in one processed form or another. Not one of these products would ever reach your home were it not for loggers, the first link in an impressive supply chain that restocks your pantry, bedroom, bathroom, nursery, workshop and kitchen cupboards every time you visit a store that sells groceries, pharmaceuticals, furniture, clothing or building materials.
Our Daily Wood
Every day, each of Earth's 5.4 billion inhabitants, on the average, use the equivalent of a 4-pound slab of wood. But the average American uses 3.5 times this much wood. Should American's be using less wood? No Way!