In the discussion thread: Congress Eyes Plan To Ramp Up Oregon Timber Harvest [View all]
Response to NewThinkingChance40 (Original post)
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:26 AM
PufPuf23 (4,180 posts)
9. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depends on the specifics and implementation
I assume these lands are the Oregon O&C lands.
They are forest lands managed by the BLM in the DOI rather than National Forests managed by the USFS in USDA.
Historically, they were subject to a greater intensity of logging and earlier and less regulated logging than nearby National Forests.
Harvest on the O&C Lands and National Forests have been greatly reduced because of the Northern Spotted Owl and Coho Salmon Endangered Species listings and various other environmental, political, and legal reasons since 1990 reasons. Most of the readily harvested stands are 2nd growth and would benefit from thoughtful thinning. There are also some stands that would benefit from regeneration or are best left alone for reasons of other resource values or difficult operability.
One reason for the collapse and boom and bust cycle of the timber industry is that mill investment return has been erroneously favored over long term value of the forest as a wood production entity not to mention other values.
O&C lands are primarily Douglas-fir stands and relatively highly productive. Many stands were established after earlier clear cuts and are of the age and size for thinning which were planned but has not occurred. Douglas-fir on its own follows a negative natural log of 3/2 thinning pattern as trees grow larger differentially. Commercial thinning reduces chance of catastrophic loss from fire or insects.
The sawmills and logging equipment would be different technology than what was common in the past. Thinning in Douglas-fir extends the life of stands and keeps more of the landscape in high forest cover. This means there is more carbon held on the site plus the carbon sequestered in solid wood products. Most people don't realize that there is a significant amount of carbon sequestered in the soil.
One could wager that in recent years the timber lost to wildfire in this region has approached that harvested for wood products in the past plus the fires tend to be more intense and damaging to the soil and other natural resources when the only pressure on the forest was by American Indians that often used more frequent and lesser intensity fire as a thinning and renewal tool that promoted wildlife and other vegetation vigor.
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This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depends on the specifics and implementation
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