Timber News Update
by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers
USFS Forester Says Forests at Risk: Kent Connaughton, US Forest Service Regional Forester who manages 16 national forests in OR & WA, in January addressed the both Oregon Board of Forestry and The Oregonian newspaper editorial board. Connaughton said undesirable overcrowding on the region’s federal forestlands is accelerating at about twice the rate that restoration projects are able to address the overcrowding problems. He predicts that future federal forest wildfire risk will be extreme and damaging, and that it is now necessary to treat more forest acreage, more aggressively.
Governor and Eastside Federal Forests: At its January meeting, Governor Kitzhaber addressed the Oregon Board of Forestry for the second time since his 2010 election. The Governor shared his serious concern over the unworkable status quo surrounding dry-side federal forest management. He briefly mentioned his advisory group now working on an O&C BLM forest proposal, but urged Board action on two eastside federal forest matters: to engage in improving federal forest polices; and support of his state budget proposal to spend $4.5 million on federal forest collaboration.
Plum Creek Gives to OSU Forestry: In January, Plum Creek Timber, one of the nation’s largest private forest landowners (6.4 million acres in 19 states), has committed $500,000 to establish an endowed research position in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. The endowed funding supports a permanent professor to study active forest management effects on water quality and aquatic systems. Oregon’s forest industry businesses have a long history of funding forest science and higher education at OSU, a feat that is unmatched by environmental organizations.
Malheur Stewardship Deal Pending: Malheur National Forest managers held local meetings in January to discuss a proposed large 10-year stewardship contract offered later this spring. With the details still undetermined, the contract would create a timber & service contract that harvests some portion of the Malheur’s newly-promised 55 million bdft/year target, beginning in 2013. The Malheur’s target has been promised by Regional Forester Kent Connaughton to speed forest work and prevent industry infrastructure loss by ramping-up to 75 million annually in future years.