Tag Archives: Forestry

The Saga of Miss American Green Cross

Peeling Back the Bark

This weekend a winner will be crowned at the 89th Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. While we wish all the ladies luck, here at Peeling Back the Bark World Headquarters our favorite Miss America will undoubtedly remain one woman born all the way back in 1928.Miss America Green Cross

Miss American Green Cross, as she is known, was unveiled in Glendale, California, 87 years ago. Posing against the backdrop of a cross, her striking figure appeared with her arms outstretched in a call to save America’s trees. But who was this woman and where did she come from? To fully understand her story we need to go back a few more years to the origins of the American Reforestation Association.

American Reforestation Association logoThe early 1920s was a time of growing concerns over dwindling forest resources in the United States. In response to this perceived crisis, the American Reforestation Association was incorporated in Los Angeles…

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AOL: BLM Ordered to Increase Timber Sale

Fire case tossed, Judge slams BLM, more…

by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

BLM Ordered to Increase Timber Sale: On June 26, the DC federal district court ordered the BLM to sell the volume amount specified in its 1995 forest plans, and stop using a flawed computer model to predict exaggerated owl use in its forests. Although the ruling orders the BLM Medford and Roseburg Districts to increase annual timber sale by 54 million bdft, another 2011 case before the same judge was filed by the forest industry, and AFRC (AOL is a Member), which seeks to require the BLM to sell more timber in compliance with the O&C Act on all western Oregon districts.

Judge Tosses Fire Case: In July, a Plumas County Judge dismissed the state of California’s lawsuit seeking $8 million in state firefighting damages from timber sale purchaser Sierra Pacific Industries, sought for the 2007 Moonlight Fire. Cal. Dept. of Forestry failed to prove that SPI caused the fire. This ruling contrasted with an earlier case brought by the US Forest Service against SPI for the same fire, where a federal judge ordered SPI in 2012 to pay the government an outlandish $150 million (approx.) for resource damages and firefighting—about 40 times the damaged land appraised value.

Fire Salvage Plans Begin: With thousands of acres of private, BLM and national forest land burned in this summer’s wildfires across southwest and eastern Oregon, landowners have begun plans for salvage logging and reforestation to restore the damaged landscapes. Of note, in SW Oregon there is over 80,000 acres of burned forests in the Roseburg and Medford BLM districts, Umpqua Nat. Forest, industrial forests, and small private woodlands. Small BLM salvage sales of downed fire line timber could be offered this fall. The most immediate logging will begin on private forestlands.

Congress Advances Federal Forest Bill: The US House Resources Committee on July 31st approved HR. 1526, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. The bill would make needed reforms for the US Forest Service harvesting half its annual timber growth. Additional provisions divide 2.5 million acres of Western Oregon BLM forestland in into two parcels: half managed under a timber yield trust authority; and half allocated to the Forest Service for habitat. The bill is slated for a House vote in September, prior to an uncertain fate in the Democrat-majority US Senate.

Congress Hearing on Wildfires & Forests: Amid an active fire season across the West, the House Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands in July held a hearing focusing on the need for increased federal forest management to address forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. All witnesses agreed that more harvesting and restoration is needed on federal forests to reduce fires. Remedies were discussed that would treat more acres to prevent increased future catastrophic wildfires that destroy millions of acres, take more lives, and destroy communities.

State Funds Eastside Forestry: A first-in-the-nation effort, the Oregon Legislature and Governor passed a bill (SB. 5521) to help fund US Forest Service timber sale planning. As part of its 2013-15 biennial budget, industry supported the Legislature-approved $2.885 million in lottery-funded bonds to help national forest timber sale planning and collaboration in eastern Oregon. Funds will be administered by OR Dept. of Forestry and OR Watershed Enhancement Board, to help fund increased scale & pace of forest health harvests and streamlined new business models.

Land Board Considers State Forest Sale: Forced by a lawsuit and court injunction to harvest less than 15 million bdft/year, the Oregon Land Board may instead sell 2,714 acres in the Elliott State Forest to raise money for the Common School Fund. The lawsuit, filed by environmental groups who claim logging harms the marbled murrelet sea bird, has blocked the current forest plan that directs 40 million bdft/yr timber sale from the Elliott, located east of Reedsport. With future timber revenue in doubt, the Board is considering selling three isolated parcels to generate school funds.

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Forestry Standards Certification Monopoly = Lost jobs

Forestry Standards Certification Monopoly = Lost job’s

July 3, 2013

The Adverse Consequences from a Forestry Standards Certification Monopoly

By Donald Rieck and Wayne Winegarden, PhD*

Before policy is changed, the potential economic consequences that they can cause should also be considered.  The Community Reinvestment Act and other affordable housing regulations, for instance, were supposed to increase loan availability to under-served communities.  Unintentionally, these regulations played an important role in creating the housing boom and bust experienced during the 2000s.[i]   Another example is minimum wage laws.  In 2009, the minimum wage was increased to $7.25.  While the intended consequence was greater incomes for working families, the unintended consequences are increased unemployment and fewer economic opportunities.

Negative economic consequences also results when policies transform competitive markets into a monopoly.  Currently, there is competition between alternative forestry certification programs.  Certification programs are self-regulatory, competitive and voluntary structures where forest owners choose a forestry certification program, and then, in order to obtain the desired certification, abide by its rules and regulations.  Some activist environmental groups, however, are lobbying to thwart the competitive market.  Instead, these groups would prefer that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification program be granted a monopoly over the current certification market.

A new EconoSTATS paper, authored by Brooks Mendell, PhD and Amanda Hamsley Lang (available here), analyzed the impacts of mandating the use of a specific land management program in various regions of the U.S., and how it potentially affects timber markets.  The paper examines the costs of implementing various forest certification programs.  The Mendell and Lang study found that an FSC monopoly on certification could result in tens of thousands of job losses and harm forest economies in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and South.  Such a monopoly threatens the employment stability of foresters, loggers and millworkers, among other positions.

Mendell and Lang examine the impacts for specific forests in the South (Arkansas/Louisiana) and the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) and then generalize their findings to provide specific insights for Arkansas and Oregon, which represent approximately 14 percent of the private forest lands and 10 percent of forest owners in the South and Pacific Northwest.

The forced imposition of FSC standards in these areas was found by Mendell and Lang to have significant and adverse economic consequences.  Mendell and Lang found that the FSC standards significantly reduced landowners’ economic returns.  FSC certification restricts the amount of output that can be produced from the same amount of acreage compared to the other certification programs.  The reduced acreage available for timber harvests leads to smaller harvests of U.S. produced timber compared with other scenarios (e.g., base case and SFI or Sustainable Forestry Initiative). The reduced output leads to income losses that result in lost employment and tax revenues.  Jobs lost include not only direct positions such as foresters, loggers, millworkers, and forestry consultants and contractors, but also indirect jobs that support the forest industry, such as motor freight transportation, machinery repair, and wholesale trade. Indirect job impacts also include “induced” jobs created by the spending of workers in the forest industry.

The size of the economic consequences varied across the two regions studied and by forest designation.

In the Arkansas case study, the FSC-Plantation standard imposed higher costs than the base case and SFI scenarios.  Under FSC, forests can be managed as either plantations or natural stands.  Landowners that managed their forests as plantations in Arkansas experienced significantly larger economic losses than those who managed their forests as natural stands.  These significantly larger economic losses associated with the FSC-Plantation standard creates a tremendous incentive to avoid classification as a plantation as defined by FSC in Arkansas.  In fact, an earlier review of this issue showed that this is exactly what occurs; FSC auditors sometimes classify these regions as “semi-natural” forests instead of what are traditionally thought of as plantations.

In the Oregon case study, regardless of whether the forests were managed as plantations or natural stands, the FSC standard imposes significant economic consequences.  Compared to the other scenarios, forest owners who managed their forests under the FSC program experienced lower total revenues estimated to be between 31 percent and 46 percent.

According to Mendell and Lang, these impacts could be quite significant if a FSC monopoly were adopted.  For instance, state-level implementation of the FSC-Natural standard in Oregon could reduce direct and indirect forest industry employment by over 31,000 jobs and reduce annual severance taxes by over $6 million. State-level implementation of the FSC-Plantation standard in Arkansas could eliminate direct and indirect forest industry employment by up to 10,000 jobs and reduce annual severance taxes by over $600,000.

Given that forest land covers one-third of the U.S., the nationwide impact on an FSC monopoly could be staggering for landowners, consumers of American-grown wood, and the economy alike.   Earlier researchfound that a FSC monopoly would lead to a $34 billion annual loss to the domestic wood and paper market, while increasing product costs for American consumers by as much as 20 percent.

Balancing the competing needs of forests owners, consumers of timber products, and environmental concerns is complex.  And, as documented by Mendell and Lang, geographical differences across regions (the South versus the Pacific Northwest for instance) add greater complexity because each region may require different standards to successfully balance the competing needs.  Competitive certification programs create a system where different interests can consistently interact with one another, account for geographical differences, and adjust to material economic or technological changes.  Such a system helps ensure that the most efficient forestry standards results.  The Mendell and Lang study makes an important contribution towards a greater understanding about the economic impact of forest certification standards and how these standards – especially how an FSC monopoly – could affect the ways the private forest owners manage their lands. .

By demonstrating the benefits created by maintaining a competitive certification standard market, the Mendell and Lang study has broader applicability as well.  Forestry management is not the only industry facing competing interests across diverse groups of constituents.  A deeper understanding of how the forestry certification programs balance these risks can help other industries develop a dynamic and responsive regulatory system as well.  As such, we also believe that this Mendell and Lang study provides an important case study that illustrates the benefits that can be gained through competitive regulatory structures.

Competitive forestry certification programs are uniquely qualified to balance the competing interests and establish the optimal regulatory practices.  Striking the optimal balance requires reliable information on the alternative costs and benefits created by the different forest certification programs.  We believe that this EconoSTATS study makes an important contribution toward this goal for policymakers and other interested parties.

* Donald Rieck is Executive Director of EconoSTATS; Wayne Winegarden, PhD, is a Contributing Editor to EconoSTATS and a Fellow in Business and Economics with the Pacific Research Institute.

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Wyden-Merkley pressed on forest bill

Wyden-Merkley pressed on forest bill

May 1, 2013

Forest Industry Urges Comprehensive Solution for Federal ForestsAFRC
–Requests that Wilderness Legislation Not Advance Separately
American Forest Resource Council,

A group of forest products industry associations sent a letter to Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley urging enactment of a meaningful legislative resolution to the paralysis affecting federal forest management in Western Oregon.

The American Forest Resource CouncilAssociated Oregon LoggersDouglas Timber Operators and Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association sent the letter in advance of a hearing of the Public Lands Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee scheduled for April 25, 2013 to consider a number of public lands bills. Among them is the “Oregon Treasures Act of 2013” (S.353) which includes the proposed Wild Rogue Wilderness and Molalla Wild and Scenic Rivers designations. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is chaired by Senator Wyden.

“Our industry is opposed to the passage of these proposals, as well as other Wilderness areas proposed for Western Oregon, unless they are coupled with, or preceded by, the enactment of a meaningful legislative resolution to the paralysis affecting federal forest management in Western Oregon,” the letter states.

The letter notes last week’s closing of Rough & Ready Lumber Company, the last sawmill in Josephine County, where the unemployment rate is 11.6 percent and the average poverty level is 17.8 percent. The mill closed for lack of timber supply from nearby federal forests managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM managed Oregon and California Railroad Grant Lands (O&C Lands) grow over 1.5 billion board feet to timber per year, but recent timber sale levels have been well below 200 million board feet. In fact, in 2011, the total timber volume awarded by the BLM was only 137 million board feet. Harvesting on Forest Service lands remains well below the drastically reduced levels called for in the Northwest Forest Plan.

“This very real crisis, not additional Wilderness designations, should be a priority issue for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee,” say the letter’s authors.

The letter references a March 19, 2013 opinion piece in the Oregonian in which Senator Wyden wrote, “with cooperation from stakeholders on all sides we will have a solution that works for all of Oregon” and “that solution must increase timber harvests and economic activity on some lands while permanently conserving others.”

The letter concludes by expressing the hope that Oregon’s Senators will join Oregon delegation members Representatives Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber in their efforts “to find a true, lasting solution for Oregon’s federal forests and rural communities.” The O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act, a draft bill supported by the majority of Oregon’s House delegation, contains provisions for both forest management to produce jobs and revenue for counties and for permanent conservation of areas included in S. 353.

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Ore Timber groups on Senate payment plan

Ore Timber groups on Senate payment plan

March 21, 2013

Oregon Timber Industry Comments on Senate County Payments Hearing and Outlines Real Solutions

By American Forest Research Council

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing in Washington, DC today entitled “Keeping the Commitment to Rural Communities” to review the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) county payment programs.

Tom Partin, President of the American Forest Resource Council (AFRC), is urging Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to take action on meaningful solutions to restore active, sustainable forest management to Oregon’s Forest Service and BLM O&C forests.  The data suggests that relatively modest timber harvest levels could generate county payments significantly higher than those expected from SRS while also providing thousands of new jobs in rural Oregon.

“If the federal government is truly interested in honoring the nation’s commitment to Oregon’s rural, forested communities it will promote real solutions to restore the health of our forests and the vitality of rural communities through balanced, sustainable management of our federal forests,” said Partin.  “Merely doling out dwindling Secure Rural School payments clearly falls short of meeting the needs of local governments and does nothing to generate the private sector employment these communities so desperately need.”

Beginning with “Spotted Owl Guarantee Payments” in the early 1990’s and continuing through today with SRS payments, Pacific Northwest counties have received billions in often deficit spending subsidies from Washington, DC when all they’ve asked for is the sustainable management of the federal forests in their backyards.  Secure Rural Schools payments have declined significantly in recent years and many Oregon counties receive less than half of what they received as recently as 2008.  Rural Oregon now faces chronic unemployment, record food stamp use and insecurity from an underfunded law enforcement and criminal justice system.

Last month, Oregon Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D), Greg Walden (R) and Kurt Schrader (D) wrote Chairman Wyden asking that he convene a hearing to explore lasting solutions for Oregon’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oregon & California Grant Lands forests, including their O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act.  The bipartisan House proposal would permanently protect all of the old growth on BLM lands while managing the remainder of the land on a sustained yield basis to provide over 500 million board feet of timber, over 5,000 jobs and $165 million to the counties every year into the future.  The harvest level called for under their proposal represents less than half of what these forests grow each year.  Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has also called upon the entire Oregon Congressional Delegation to promote this type of meaningful solution, but thus far Chairman Wyden has largely avoided addressing the issue.

“We hope Chairman Wyden will join his bipartisan House colleagues to develop real, balanced solutions for Oregon’s O&C counties,” continued Partin.  “Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has also called for federal legislation providing lasting certainty for Oregon’s O&C counties, but if today’s hearing is any indication it appears that the Senate is inclined the kick the can down the road yet again.”

Meanwhile, AFRC has provided an outline of the modest harvest levels that would be required to generate county timber payments nearly double of those expected this year from Forest Service lands if Congress merely increased revenue sharing from 25% to 50% and reformed how a small portion of these lands are managed.  In addition to providing nearly double the revenue to local county governments this approach would generate tens of thousands of new jobs across Oregon’s hardest hit communities and provide additional receipts to the federal Treasury.

“The facts clearly show that you can provide significant revenue to local counties and schools as well as jobs in rural communities through the sustainable management of our federal forests, concluded Partin.  “In most cases the harvest volumes are less than the volume of timber that dies each year, a small portion of the annual growth and a minor fraction of the standing volume on our federal forests.”

The American Forest Resource Council represents forest product manufacturers and landowners throughout the west and is based in Portland, Oregon.  www.amforest.org

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Forest Industry Launches Greenest Workforce Recruitment Campaign and Internship Contest

Forest Industry Launches Greenest Workforce Recruitment Campaign and Internship Contest

February 06 2013, MONTREAL

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), with support from the Government of Canada, is today launching TheGreenestWorkforce.caa resource tool that provides information on the dynamic direction of the industry and career opportunities on offer right across the country.

The industry is also launching a competition to give eight promising students across Canada a paid Green Dream Internship that includes a four month paid summer placement at a forest products company, an iPad Mini and a chance to win $5000.

“The forest products sector is now a future oriented business that is brimming with opportunity.  It is now hiring and offering  solid careers for those who care about their future, the environment and their quality of life,” said David Lindsay, President and CEO of FPAC, speaking at PAPTAC’s Annual Paper Week event held in Montreal.

Under Vision2020, FPAC has a set the goal of recruiting at least 60,000 or more workers by 2020 to meet the growing demand for such professions as millwrights, electricians, engineers, sales staff, truck drivers, foresters, chemists and many more.

“Our government’s top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, so it is imperative that we match the skills of Canadians, especially younger workers, with the needs of the employers,” said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “Through our partnership with the forestry industry, we are helping young Canadians to receive the skills and training needed to address skills shortages in the forestry sector and prepare them for future careers.”

“We invite Canadians to visit the Greenest Workforce website to see the exciting opportunities now available. We also want to encourage students to consider applying for the internships to receive job training, skills development, and real-world experience within our growing sector,” says Lindsay.

The contest requires students to submit a short video explaining why they would be perfect for a Green Dream Internship. Applicants receiving the most votes for their video attempt will get on a short list for interviews for the paid summer positions.

The contest and voting period starts today and ends March 31, 2013. For more information, visit TheGreenestWorkforce.ca.   You can find more information on FPAC’s Vision2020 at: www.fpac.ca/index.php/en/vision2020/

Contact:
Susan Murray
Executive Director, Public Relations
Forest Products Association of Canada
smurray@fpac.ca 613-563-1441 x313
Follow us on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC

The eight internships positions are: 
Communications Intern – Resolute Forest Products, Montreal, Quebec
Mechanical, Electrical or Chemical Engineer – Tembec, Temiscaming, Quebec
Quality Control Assistant – West Fraser, Cariboo Region, British Columbia
Human Resources Intern – Tolko Industries, Vernon, British Columbia
Timberlands Forester Intern – Weyerhaeuser, Grande Prairie, Alberta
Technical Support Student – Millar Western, Whitecourt, Alberta
Woodlands Forestry Assistant – Millar Western, Whitecourt, Alberta
Woodlands Forestry Intern – Daishowa-Marubeni Intl., Peace River, Alberta

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Extreme fire risk & danger for NW forests forecasted

Extreme fire risk & danger for NW forests forecasted

February 6, 2013

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.

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