Tag Archives: United States National Forest

Read of the Day: Kitzhaber report to restore east-side forests

Kitzhaber report to restore east-side forests

December 11, 2012

New report: Restoring Oregon’s east-side forests is a win-win

By Oregon Forest Resource Institute,

Accelerating the work to restore ailing federal forests will help both the environment and the economy in eastern Oregon. This is the conclusion of a new report prepared at the request of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and legislative leaders: “National Forest Health Restoration: An Economic Assessment of Forest Restoration on Oregon’s Eastside National Forests.”

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute and The Nature Conservancy  teamed up to produce a four-page summary of the report.

The report looks at doubling the number of acres of east-side national forestland that undergo restoration – such as selective harvest, thinning and underbrush removal – from 129,000 annually to 250,000. Doing so, the report states, could create an additional 2,300 jobs in eastern and south central Oregon. The study says every $1 million invested in restoration generates $5.7 million in economic returns.

The work brings timber to struggling mills, provides jobs, and restores fire resiliency to the forest, the report states. Because of fire suppression, historic practices and passive management, some dry-side federal forests are choked with as many as 1,000 trees per acre, where historically about 75-100 trees per acre were typical. Some 80 percent of the 11.4 million acres of east-side forests under U.S. Forest Service management are at moderate to high risk of devastating crown fires.

The report highlights the importance of local collaboratives – in which government, industry and conservation interests work together to plan and implement restoration jobs.

The report was assembled with funding and guidance from conservation groups, government agencies, academic institutions and business trade associations. The full 94-page report  also is available for download.

For county-by-county information on Oregon’s forests sector and how it fits into the state’s overall economy please see the executive summary of OFRI’s recent economic study, “Poised to Rebound,”  or visit OFRI’s dedicated website, TheForestReport.org.

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Bumper sticker campaign targets wildfire policy

Bumper sticker campaign targets wildfire policy

October 10, 2012

By Idaho Forest Products Commission

Had enough of the fire and smoke this summer? Part of the reason for wildfires burning in Idaho this year is because the state’s national forests are overstocked with dead and dying trees, and timber harvest levels are nearly at an all-time low.

In hopes of supporting the U.S. Forest Service’s stated interest in accelerating the pace of thinning our national forests to reduce the threat of wildfires and help restore the forest health, the Idaho Forest Products Commission produced a bumper sticker that says “Thin the Threat!”

The bumper stickers are available at no charge from the Idaho Forest Products Commission. Contact the IFPC via email ifpc@idahoforests.org or phone 208-334-3292, if you would like to order one.

“Thin the Threat!” bumper stickers also are available through Idaho Department of Lands offices throughout the state.

Wildfires have been burning at high intensity in Idaho for several decades now.  A large percentage of Idaho’s forests are at dangerously high risk of severe fire because they are overcrowded with stressed, dying and dead trees, according to forestry experts.

These “at-risk” forests burn more intensely and are more likely to destroy existing wildlife habitat, threaten homes and watersheds, damage soils, and emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, according to forest industry experts. Recent hot and dry weather trends — attributed by scientists to climate change — are exacerbating the problem.

Recent timber harvest levels in Idaho from national forest lands are now at 1946 levels, while state and private land harvest levels have remained about the same.

chart-idaho-forest

In a recent visit to Boise, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell talked about the need for his agency to accelerate the pace of thinning projects to improve forest health. One statistic that he shared: Out of the 20.4 million acres of land managed by the Forest Service in Idaho, 15 million acres or 75 percent are overgrown and susceptible to wildfire. Tidwell said he would like to either thin those forests or set prescribed burns to reduce the threat.

For national forest lands that are not designated as “wilderness,” taking actions to “Thin the Threat!”  are a step in the right direction to protect human safety and ecosystem integrity.

For more information, go to the IFPC web site, http://www.idahoforests.org/and click on “fires.”

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