Saturday, May 10, 2008

Oldgrowth Logging on Western Oregon Public Lands to Increase?

The below excerpt is from a recent opinion piece in the Statesman Journal newspaper of Oregon. The Forest Service's "Western Oregon Plan Revisions", aka WOPR, could lead to large scale logging of Oldgrowth Forests on public lands in the Pacific Northwest.


The Klootchy Creek Sitka spruce was estimated to be 750 years old and died a natural death. However, across Oregon we have millions of acres of old-growth forests, ranging in age from 100 to over 1,000 years old, that face the threat of a very unnatural death at the whirring blades of a chainsaw.

Our forests have faced a consistent onslaught over the past seven-plus years as the Bush administration has ignored science and the public will in an attempt to increase logging of our old growth. Their most recent plan is the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR). This scheme would increase clear-cut logging of old-growth forests by 700 percent on over 2 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forest in western Oregon.

That means the Bush administration wants to drastically increase logging of trees-some older than the Klootchy Creek giant-even while the broad majority of Oregonians want these trees protected.

Luckily, the Bush WOPR plan isn't the only game in town. In recent months, Representative Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden have been talking up plans to put forest management agencies on a path towards a sustainable future. Both Oregon officials say they want to protect the old growth we have left as a legacy for future generations and focus work in our forests that restores the natural landscape.

- Jonathan Jelen of Portland is the old-growth campaign coordinator for Oregon Wild (formerly Oregon Natural Resources Council).


At 5/11/2008 11:01:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

When ever I read articles like this i always wonder how 'Bush' gets the credit for the 'plan'. It used to be a common to hear "the Clinton" NW forest plan. I reject the idea that the Prez is siting in the white house thinking about logging. I think forest resources is a talking point at best for these whitehousers. These people could give a flying *&^% about the timber industry. Just because they give the nod to DOI or USFS plans doesn't mean they thought it up. Just want to point that out.

What science are they ignoring? Could it be the science behind how past management altered the ecology of forests and that not logging now leads to stagnation, increased mortality and tremendous fire risk?

What is a 700% increase in logging? COnsidering that virtually no logging is occurring on national forests I would assume that a 700% increase is not as much as it sounds. Then when you consider the economics of logging "old growth" spruce and fir it may be that not as much of these decedent trees and truly late successional stands will be logged. No - it is more likely that stands with predominate trees are being logged and legacy trees will be left within the units.

Let us all cross our fingers that science will not be ignored. (I wouldn't advise holding our breath though)

At 5/11/2008 08:46:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

It would be better if they could quantify the 700% increase in terms of how much is being logged now.

I think bush does have an interest in the timber industry in the northwest because members of the industry give him and the republican party large donations.

Check out this article by George Draffan. It's called "OREGON TIMBER INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTIONS TO

Here's a quote, "In May 2000, President Bush met with a group of timber executives in Portland. Each attendee contributed $100,000 to the Republican Party in exchange for a 45-minutem(sic) meeting."

At 5/11/2008 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! It's about time some quality logging got going. The economy needs it, the enviroment needs it we all need it.

At 5/12/2008 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

I have to agree with you after reading that article. None of that is a big surprise to me - and I still think that Bush doesn't care about timber. It would be interesting to see a comparison - dollar to dollar - of contributions during the 2000 and 2004 elections from various industries. Im willing to bet that aerospace technologies, military industrial firms, big banking and law firms, and obviously energy companies (gas & oil) all but dwarf these timber contributions. I could be wrong...but I have a hard time believing that logging and supporting the barely surviving timber industry is part of the Ivory Towers' esoteric agenda. Im a very paranoid person

I think the people that lobbied on behalf of the timber industry were indeed hoping for a political change - and were supporting the candadet they felt would aid their cause. Not good or bad - just true. Our representatives tend to do the same - CA is a very liberal state and our policies reflect that.

This is a good issue though - as it shows how tough the battle is. How can we, as a huge centralized country, make good decisions when every side has a lobby, a scientist, a committee who wants something a certain way? Its impossible to say "science says" or what ever. Im still not convinced that these projects in Oregon are that lucrative for those companies...or are really going to harvest the "last" OG - but when I write THPs, there has to be enough 'good wood' to justify the project. That usually means harvesting mature trees. Alot of people reporting on these topics confuse mature trees for excluded of course=)

At 5/12/2008 04:06:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

The line between what is mature and what is old-growth is cloudy. The first comment you left me was on that very topic. It was regarding that logging plan you wrote for fort baker ranch. I hadn't seen the site but from your description it sounded like there could be old-growth. Do you know if that adjacent SPI THP was logged? That THP made it sound like there was old-growth directly adjacent to the ranch.

A 200 year old tree would definitely qualify as oldgrowth in my book.


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