Report: Timber harvesting is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon

A new analysis released this week by the Center for Sustainable Economy found that:

Timber harvesting is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Oregon. Since 2000, annual emissions associated with removal of stored carbon, sacrificed sequestration, and decay of logging residuals averaged 33 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (mmt CO2-e).Nationwide, logging emits more carbon than the residential and commercial sectors combined.

According to the Center for Sustainable Economy:

The report – entitled Oregon Forest Carbon Policy: Scientific and technical brief to guide legislative intervention – is a synthesis of scientific and technical information about the effects of industrial forest practices on climate change and climate resiliency and a discussion of legislative options for moving forward. It builds on a 2015 report published with Geos Institute that helped lead to a reconvening of the Commission’s forestry task force to revisit their assumptions – published in their Interim Roadmap to 2020 report – that forestry’s effects on climate were an unqualified benefit. Today’s report paints a drastically different story.

More information and context is available here.

56 Comments

  1. I find the following two excerpts noteworthy:

    “Yet in Oregon, across the US, and globally, timber harvest emissions are not reported or proposed for regulation because of a “carbon flux” accounting system developed by the timber industry that, in essence, grants an automatic offset for carbon sequestered by tree plantations managed in accordance with baseline legal requirements. No other sector is able to escape emissions reporting in this way.”

    “Research has demonstrated that in western Oregon, where even-aged (clearcut) techniques prevail, sequestration capacity is eliminated for 13 years after harvest. In particular, net ecosystem productivity (NEP) – sequestration by young seedlings and brush minus emissions from decay and combustion of logging residuals – is negative for 13 years after clearcutting, meaning that these lands are not only carbon sequestration dead zones but net emissions sources.”

    Noteworthy, because, what happens in the next 13 years (by 2030) will determine the fate of our biosphere.

    That our species would knowingly create, pursue, and defend the practices which we know will trigger “irreversible, catastrophic climate change” literally plunging our planet into a living hell for our children and their children — is simply extraordinary.

    The ongoing defense of business as usual here costitutes a dramatic refutation of the most basic instinct of survival and procreation across all species of life (that I’m familiar with anyway.)

    The denial, obfuscation, and prevarication of the international scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate disruption, notably by certain individuals commenting on NCFP and elsewhere, is truly astonishing to me.

      • Sharon
        Dozens of research papers-as-evidence are available to each of us demonstrating anthropogenic climate forcing feedbacks not only exist, but by all appearances, some have already been triggered.

        The most significant failures of international climate science consensus have occurred because of the widely acknowledged, self-admitted ignorance of the complex interactions of complex systems. We were adequately forewarned of our planetary predicament, but both the timing and magnitude of climate chaos have been proven to have been tragically underestimated.

        The record loss of Arctic sea ice, and its former albedo has resulted in staggering increases of Arctic temperatures which are triggering the thawing of permafrost unleashing vast stores of methane and CO2. Ocean warming has not only triggered the melting of undersea methane clathrates, but unleashed “The Blob” off of Alaska’s coastline. The “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” steering badly needed rain away from California’s massive wildfires has been connected directly to the loss of Arctic sea ice albedo and its effects on the jet stream.

        From the perspective of a commercial fisherman in southeast Alaska for the last 30 years, there is no question massive changes are occurring in our marine ecosystems. The massive seabird and sea mammal die-offs being investigated coincide with “The Blob.” As a rural resident dependent upon functioning terrestrial ecosystems of the Tongass National Forest, I am deeply concerned at the captured state of the agency ignoring irreversible and irretrievable consequences.

        So, we can easily conclude that what we do in the next 10-30 years will in all likelihood determine whether our planet (if it hasn’t already) passed tipping points triggering unstoppable feedbacks. The empirical evidence is as overwhelming as the inviolability of the laws of physics.

        It is extremely difficult to avoid noticing your arguments (such as your past support for fracking on our Federal lands, and so much, much, more) mirror those of the fossil fuel industry which used the same tactics employing the same prevarications, denials and obfuscations of provable facts and their entirely reasonable implications. The fossil fuel industry now uses the same tactics the tobacco industry once successfully employed.

        These are issues of extremely consequential ethical matters, regardless of your admonitions to decry anyone invoking the context of ethics on your blog.

        Given your history on this blog of denial, obfuscation, and prevarications, and as a “scientist” and outlier of the well-established international consensus of climate scientists;

        and given your admitted ignorance of the well established events of the Holocene extinction (aka the ongoing Sixth Great Mass Extinction Event as it relates to NFS mismanagement), despite your PhD. credentials in Genetics;

        and given your history as a USFS careerist significantly spent in part, evaluating NEPA matters, but with your own well established history on this blog expressing unmitigated antipathies for NEPA, ESA, NFMA, etc. as legislative products of our (admittedly nominal) constitutional republic;

        and given your well established history of contempt for those public owners and advocates for the ecological integrity of our National Forest System, who would pursue the legal recourse provided by these laws and our system of government in order to force the agency to abide by the letter and intent of those laws;

        I hope that you will understand my loss of confidence in the stated premises of finding common ground on this blog over divergent, if not diametrically opposite, world views from which ethical bases for forming personal opinions on these matters get expressed.

        Rather than offering peer reviewed research products of consensus on the well known hazards and catastrophes appearing daily in the news for you to equivocate, deny, or obfuscate, I offer the following allegorical response offered in good faith instead:

        Despite our fundamental differences Sharon, we are all nonetheless siblings of the same Mother, housed under the same planetary roof. International alarm at the daily manifestations of catastrophic threats to our family and our Mother, and the future structural and functional integrity of our shared home, persist and amplify.

        My interactions with you leave me with the feeling one might get after, as siblings, having both been told a revolver is now held to our mother’s head — the spun chamber of which contains a single bullet.

        You are asking me for proof of the loaded gun an international majority already acknowledges. You are asking me for the definitive proof of precisely — in which chamber the bullet resides — or how many pulls of the trigger we have before our mother and our house succumbs to the unthinkable.

        That, frankly, is astonishing.

        • David- I do not disagree that the climate is changing. I do not know what proportion of that is human caused but I still think we should reduce GHGs because it seems like a good case has been made. I like solar, wind, geothermal and hydro and even wood. I personally have solar panels on my house. The transition from coal to natural gas helps with GHG’s and it has also made the US more energy independent. So no, I am not against natural gas technologies including hydraulic fracturing.

          My point to you is that we don’t know whether we may have already passed some point of no return in terms of negative impacts of climate change, nor whether we might in the next 10 years, 20 or 30 or 40 or 80. The systems are so complicated that we can never know. The questions placed before us (as a country or a state) is “how hard should we push for transition, under what timeframe?, how hard should we try to engineer sequestration? what activities that produce GHG’s should we help get cleaner, or should we reduce the activity or shut down?

          Even the experts disagree about how to do this, and whether it can be done, and by when. In fact, that’s the root of this lawsuit. PNAS publishes paper X, then paper Y that described concerns with paper X. Not surprisingly, countries are finding it easier to establish targets than to meet them.

          My point is that no one knows (and therefore people can legitimately disagree about) if “we’re moving fast enough” “we can move fast enough” or “it’s already too late to stave off the worst effects.” “We need to do x by y” is simply not known, and is fundamentally unknowable because of all the changing moving parts.

          • If we don’t know whether the point of no return comes in 10, 20 or 40 years, or was passed already, then all the more reason to commit to an all-hands-on-deck urgency right now.

            It’s like if someone has a pack-a-day smoking habit. When will they give themselves cancer? Can’t say for sure, but common sense says they ought to start quitting immediately, not beg off because they might get a few decades in before becoming terminally ill.

            • That’s assuming there is a point of no return. While there should be little disagreement on the fact that there is climate change, based on the fact that the world has seen at least two previous ice ages and is still here, there is great skepticism of having a point of no return.
              As long as the sited science is steered by an agenda, then there is even greater skepticism and a growing doubt of credibility.

              • Agreed that “point of no return” isn’t helpful language. Replace it with “a really &@#! planet with lots more droughts, heat waves, fires, water shortages, disease outbreaks, crop failures, animal die-offs, poisoned waters, and all the economic hardship, social turmoil, human and animal suffering that go with it.”

          • That you choose to gamble using the fates of our children, their planetary life support systems and those of all future generations as your ethical poker chips, Sharon, while claiming it’s “legitimately” arguable to ignore such predicted consequences as “unknowable” yet even though the predicted consequences are already manifesting widespread catastrophic events, is diagnostic of (amoral) denialism, obfuscation, and prevarication.

    • The Douglas Fir plantations I live around here in Western Oregon are logged pretty clean, replanted the next season and in a few years are solid green with young fir trees. I am not crazy about plantations. I like my forests more natural and mixed up, but I always thought all those fast growing young fir trees were excellent at sequestering carbon.

      • It turns out Bob, those nice fat annular rings of young growth do not measure up to the millimeter-sized rings of old growth for the simple reason of OG’s far greater circumference, and associated plant/lichen/mosses/etc. communities. Nothing beats old growth for its capacity for carbon sequestration. I can’t think of a more appropriate primary purpose of our national forest lands than to be managed for maximization of carbon sequestration. Private tree plantations here and elsewhere are already providing 95% or more of our national fiber needs, and the carbon losses from the soils alone with each harvest rotation drives the deficit carbon accounting.

        • David with the annual mortality almost equal to the annual growth, and steadily increasing you might want to revisit the management plan to utilize our national forest system to maximize carbon sequestration. Maybe my math is wrong, but if we are growing 60mbf/ac on a 52 year rotation (50 yr old stand + 2 yr re-establishment) and we utilize 90% in “permanent” building materials vs. 120 mbf/ac on a 200 yr old stand that now has a growth rate of .5% with a mortality rate of 1%, aren’t we sequestering more carbon on a managed stand? If continue the growth/harvest/mortality out the difference is exponential. If you take into account the roots, stumps and accelerated needle cast that results from harvesting the soil issue is also minimized if not eliminated, but there are plenty of stands to test. Then again maybe it is just bad math……

          • My questions are,
            1) is it actually true a “200 yr old stand” has “a growth rate of .5% with a mortality rate of 1%?”
            (my sense is this is not only a highly variable and questionable rate, but using an industry-biased metric.)

            2) does the “the annual mortality”( in reference to, “almost equal to the annual growth”) include the fact that the annual mortality is dominated by timber harvest, and secondarily by beetles and fire?
            http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6f94/meta

            3) is it actually true, sequestration of “90% in “permanent” building materials, when 30% of the stand isn’t even being used? (And we both surely agree building materials are anything but “permanent.”)

            https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/14/eu-must-not-burn-the-worlds-forests-for-renewable-energy

            (although the above link to a Guardian news report focuses on woody biomass-to-energy issues its carbon accounting assumptions apply here:

            “Although regrowing trees absorb carbon, trees grow slowly, and for some years a regrowing forest absorbs less carbon than if the forest were left unharvested.” (Thus we must grapple with a narrow time frame within which to fix our carbon imbalance.)

            “Eventually, the new forest grows faster and the carbon it absorbs, … takes decades to centuries, depending on the forest type and use.”

            (the fact is, what happens in the next 10-30 years to achieve energy balance and negative carbon emissions matters. According to the latest James Hansen, et al, we cannot get even close without expecting to impose necessities of negative carbon emissions on present and future generations, lest we unleash rising sea levels far outpacing our capacity to adapt.

            https://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/8/577/2017/esd-8-577-2017.pdf

            Lastly: can we economically justify expending stored carbon and enduring losses of former sinks for industrial profit taking of a relative few, at the collective cost of the many, of present and future generations?

            • 1)The growth rates are a combination of my own measurements when cruising timber & doing inventory and can be validated for the various site classes with several programs used for inventory growth based on compiled field data. My bet is even the USFS has similar data.
              2) The annual mortality has continued to increase even as timber harvest has decreased. It would seem that since we can keep stands healthier by reducing the biomass level, we could increase harvest by another 32% and reduce or eliminate the growing insect infestation and still not exceed annual growth OR we could continue to reduce harvest and let the mortality continue to increase until it surpasses harvest in Washington and Oregon as it is beginning to in other areas.
              3) The “permanent” comment was in step with the idea that leaving carbon in the woods is a permanent solution. There is nothing permanent, including old growth, which was the point you missed.
              4)The measurements of usage again are very subjective, and in the case of stumps and limbs containing 30% erroneous. I would love to see the measurement proof of a Doug Fir Tree 150′ tall with 20-30% crown harvested with a 4-12″ stump having the limbs and root wad equal 30%, never found it yet on any utilization studies. 50′ tall reprod with 60-75% crown maybe, but we aren’t talking about harvesting those trees.
              5) The true issue comes clear in your last paragraph regarding industrial profit.

              Please continue to promote the use of non-renwable coal & natural gas as a better choice than wood, as we continue to have larger and larger fires on federal lands. A problem which is effected very little by climate change and greatly by lack of management, of course you can look at data from state to state regarding forest fires on federal lands vs. state and private lands. I am sure you can find hundreds of “published” work to promote your agenda, the original source of this post is a great example of being able to get anything published regardless of actual fact.

      • Apples versus oranges. I was replying about greenhouse gases in Oregon. We also would need to see if the GHG’s from all of the wildfire’s effects are analyzed and accounted for, including long term future losses of forest-sequestered carbon, for an unknown amount of years. Additionally, the carbon in forests that are logged doesn’t ‘vaporize’. It often remains sequestered in wood products for decades, or even centuries.

        • You could contact the author of the referenced study who probably has state by state data. Lok to this same study for an analysis of the storage in wood products. ALl of this is factored into the analysis. Only a fraction of the carbon stored in a forest ends up stored in wood products (even solid wood). From a climate persective we are better off leaving the trees in the ground vs logging. (Don;t take that to mean I am suggesting we stop all logging — but logging does have big climate impacts that we must acknowledge) While controling fire is challenging (as it is a natural process), we could control human-caused emissions from logging forests.

          • With 84% of all US wildfires being human-caused, how can today’s wildfires be part of a “natural process”? As trees rot, just how many much more powerful GHG’s are produced by 100,000,000 dead trees? That is just from California’s bark beetles, not including wildfires. I wonder how many millions were killed in this year’s Oregon wildfires.

            Rarely are such catastrophic land use changes incorporated into studies like you offered. They don’t address what grows back after wildfires, and what doesn’t, as well as how long it will take. There is knowledge that cannot be quantified in actual numbers but, it DOES exist as major impacts beyond what you are claiming is a ‘temporary’ release of GHG’s. That assumption is far from certain, with human-caused wildfires burning and re-burning landscapes, severely impacting those lands potential for sequestration.

            • Larry: “With 84% of all US wildfires being human-caused, how can today’s wildfires be part of a “natural process”?”
              ===

              You’ve brought this up numerous times since this report came out about the 84% of fire causes “human” and apparently none of your target audience where you direct the question ever wishes to give a response. Not one. I seriously don’t know what this love affair with fire is these days. Given that number of 84% is human cause, I presume they consider that too natural since there is more of this movement to demonize human beings as a plague on the Earth and basically having no more superiority over other creatures because they are nothing but unreasoning animals, maybe that 84% factors in as normal.

              But if they are wrong about people, that means natural fire would comprise about only 16% which is relatively little. I guess in times past the megafauna along with the same grazers and browsers we have now took up the rest of the slack with regards plant ecosystem maintenance. But then appears that the much revered iconic human beings who were considered one with the land took care of business regarding megafauna.

              Still, it amazes me how you get no takers to factor in that 84% as qualify the term NATURAL. 50 shades of gray and counting.

              • Well, that number certainly does vary widely from State to State (assumption). A “natural fire regime” is nearly impossible, in today’s realities. Why should we pursue such a thing when dumb humans lurk in our unnatural forests? Wanting a pre-human landscape in today’s human-dominated world just isn’t a rational thought. There are still some of the eco-public out there who want all fires to burn, free-range. There are some who feel that hemp is their forest’s savior, until I ask them what we should rip out, to plant the non-native hemp. America is not yet ‘progressive’ enough to accept forestry in forests.

      • Danna, The study you cited shows that US forests are a large sink of CO2:

        “Forests in the conterminous US sequestered −460 ± 48 Tg C year−1, while C losses from disturbance averaged 191 ± 10 Tg C year−1.”

        The report does not consider substitution of wood products and biofuels for non-renewable and more GHG-intensive materials and fuels, a key element of the equation.

        • US forests are a net carbon sink — that does not mean that there are not emissions associated with forests. That is a net number — the US carbon sink would be much greater if we reduced logging. Emmissions from logging are being masked — they are not being reported. Further, the US carbon sink, on average is only removing 11-13% of US CO2 emissions. That’s half of the global average of 25%. Even the global average of 25% is not enough — around 90% of the scientific models coming out of Paris document the need to pull more CO2 out of the atmopshere if we are to hit the goals of the Paris AGreement and avoid climate catastrophe. Zeroing out fossil fuels is no longer enough. That means we need to let way more of the Earth’s forests grow old again.

          • “… the US carbon sink would be much greater if we reduced logging.”

            The forest carbon sink would be larger, but the increase would be matched or exceeded by higher emissions from non-renewable products. Say, for example, that we stopped using wood to build houses and instead used concrete and steel — non-renewable, GHG-intensive products.

            According to “Life Cycle Environmental Performance of Renewable Building
            Materials in the Context of Residential Construction,” 2010, Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM):

            “The impacts on carbon however are especially noteworthy given the increased attention being focused on global warming and national objectives to substantially reduce carbon emissions. Recognition that the carbon stored in wood products offsets many of the emissions from other products substantially alters the comparisons. Despite the small total mass difference resulting from substituting steel or concrete framing for wood, the Global Warming Potential (GWP given in CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide) from the steel-framed house are 26% greater than the house with wood walls and floors, without considering the carbon stored in wood products. This becomes a 120% difference when the carbon stored in the wood products for the life of the house is included. Emissions from the completed, concrete wall-framed house are 31% greater than the wood wall house without considering the carbon stored in wood products, and 156% greater when these carbon stores are included in the calculation.”

            http://www.sefs.washington.edu/research.corrim/pubs/reports/2010/phase2/Ph2_Main_Report.pdf

      • Danna- One thing I like to do with studies that are sets of data with linked assumptions, is to link the “data” with things I know about and are observable. So I find maps to be very helpful. When I looked at timber harvest on this map
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5108824/figure/Fig3/
        I couldn’t see the counties in Colorado very clearly, but it looks like the entire state of Nevada is one block and is losing carbon due to timber harvest, as is much of Southern California (.05 to .25 TG C year-1). This does not fit with my observations of the timber harvesting (for timber purposes) in Nevada or southern California. Can you explain why you think this this is the case?

        • Sharon
          Having been to both areas and worked in both areas on fires, I’d have a tough time with the idea of timber harvest being a significant contributor in either area, but why let on the ground truthing interfere with a published study.

        • The other interesting aspect is the measurement of wood/wood products/wood waste, etc.
          If the constant is weight then we have to account for drying, seasonal fluctuations and conversions.
          Spring time trees have 300% Moisture content compared to kiln dried, dependent on specie, aspect, elevation, region. Fall time trees may be as low as 150%.
          These variances among other things have resulted in a study showing 15% utilization of a tree to final product. The reality is much different if you actually follow a tree from the forest thru the mill to the store. Since water is not made of carbon the measurement must be accounted for based on actual, not assumed metric tons. Having been involved in numerous utilization studies, I have yet to see anyone weigh the actual tree prior to cutting or gather every limb that is removed to be weighed. A load of logs with a weight of 26 tons can contain a scribner volume of 1900 bf up to 7000+ bf and the recovery at the mill can range from 1.2-2.5, even true ccf to bf vary based on specie, form, etc.
          So I’m really curious what is the accurate method of conversion used to make these metric ton comparisons……… or do I need to ask the author who gathered the data?

    • Motivated reasoning is getting in the way again.

      The Forest Carbon Task Force, appointed by the Oregon Global Warming Commission, looked at fire emissions and found that greenhouse gas emissions from fire are vastly outweighed by both carbon uptake from forest growth AND by GHG emissions from logging. In other words, the problem is logging, not fire. AND emissions from fire are erased by photosynthesis. Catherine Mater, the respected chair of the task force, said “Carbon emissions due to fire are surprisingly low (~7% of all annual forest emissions). – even with inclusion of high severity fires that have occurred on public lands during the last three decades.”

      http://www.keeporegoncool.org/sites/default/files/meeting-supporting-files/Oregon%20Forest%20Carbon_%202017pptx1.pdf

      The lesson here is that forest growth can compensate for carbon emissions from natural fire, but it cannot mitigate for the combined emissions from fire plus logging.

      • When old growth forests are turned into perpetual brushfields, just how much in future carbon sequestration is sacrificed because ‘natural and beneficial’ human-caused wildfires continue to make sweeping land use changes? How much carbon is not sequestered when the previous forests do not become re-established, even re-burning, again and again and again??? Remember, too, that rotting trees produce more powerful GHG’s, as well as releasing their carbon.

        • We were looking at a satellite images of the Checto Bar fire area the other day. The image was from 20017 and fire area was still green. What was real shock to me was huge desert looking landscape of the Biscuit fire of 2001.

      • 2nd.. thanks for the link to the presentation.

        **

        *At additional 88 million metric tons CO2 annually stored in forests, it can be said that forests stunningly out-perform all other climate change reform activity conducted in the state (utility and transportation fossil fuel use reduction efforts, etc.). Oregon’s entire carbon portfolio picture will now be redefined as a result of forest inclusion.
        *** Forest carbon losses per year equally stunning. At 58 million metric tons CO2 annually, impact is equivalent to all annual emissions created by all other reporting industry sectors in the state.

        Can you explain why the net isn’t 88-58 metric tons CO2 annually?

  2. Since we have reduced timber harvest substantially since the 70’s, I’m wondering how we are not already in a living hell after more than 30 years of compounded destruction, in fact my children and grand children are also wondering this…..
    Other note worthy omissions – there have been several years, including this year where 600,000 acres were burned in a single year. No note as to how to “permanently store” carbon in nature – is 400 years permanent? The usage of wood in long term products is based on what, and is this by tonnage or actual fiber, or is H2O now a carbon contributor.
    But overall, another great article packed full of honest verified facts with no political agenda driving the science………..

  3. According to the EPA, “Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry in the United States is a net sink and offsets approximately 11.8 percent” of Total Emissions in 2015 of 6,587 Million Metric Tons of CO2 equivalent.

    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    The EPA, citing the IPCC, says: “Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (24% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector come mostly from agriculture (cultivation of crops and livestock) and deforestation. This estimate does not include the CO2 that ecosystems remove from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in biomass, dead organic matter, and soils, which offset approximately 20% of emissions from this sector.”

    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data

  4. From the Oregon Global Warming Commission’s Biennial Report to the Legislature, 2017:

    http://www.keeporegoncool.org/view/ogwc-reports

    Key Takeaway: Rising transportation emissions are driving increases in statewide emissions.
    As the updated greenhouse gas inventory data clearly indicate, Oregon’s emissions had been declining or holding relatively steady through 2014 but recorded a non-trivial increase between 2014 and 2015. The majority of this increase (60%) was due to increased emissions from the transportation sector, specifically the use of gasoline and diesel. The reversal of the recent trend in emissions declines, both in the transportation sector and statewide, likely means that Oregon will not meet its 2020 emission reduction goal. More action is needed, particularly in the transportation sector, if the state is to meet our longer-term GHG reduction goals.

  5. I also looked at Oregon’s table for GHG’s here. http://www.oregon.gov/energy/energy-oregon/Pages/How-Oregon-Uses-Energy.aspx or http://www.oregon.gov/energy/energy-oregon/Pages/Greenhouse-Gas-Snapshot.aspx

    I’m having some trouble with the logic.. if the study says “Timber harvesting is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Oregon.” and these tables. Maybe someone who has read the paper can explain?

    This whole carbon and forests area is full of conflicting assumptions.. does anyone know of a paper that attempts to fairly look at the differing assumptions and results?

    • This is an excellent example of “Political Science”. Add to it the Center for Sustainable Economy is a clearing house for people to publish their agenda, thereby validating an opinion as “published”……….. The issue of Forest Management is boiling to the top and the new Chief is a very down to earth person with what appears to be little tolerance for BS, my bet is there is going to be new direction given on policy and tactics from the top down. Personally, I think these types of publications offer great insight to the problem facing our NF system, but probably not in the intended way.

    • Did the Bob Sproul Center for Sustainable Rural Economies produce any studies during the 1970s and 1980s looking into the over cutting of public, private and corporate timber lands in Oregon?

          • Matthew, they are pretty upfront on their agenda on their website.
            http://sustainable-economy.org/about-us/

            I guess they want to transition to an economy without wood products..but maybe they are not against wood products, just harvesting them in Oregon, except that wouldn’t wood products have the same footprint anywhere?

            I also thought it was interesting that they have a link to a post by Steve Wilent on this blog on their page here http://sustainable-economy.org/advocacy/ under Related Developments. “Wyden forest bill would favor urban rather than rural counties in Oregon.”

            • Thanks Sharon. I know some of these folks.

              The question wasn’t weather they have an agenda. The allegation was about a “political agenda.” I guess I fail to see a “political agenda,” which I think most people infer is D’s vs R’s, in this country.

              Also, regarding your comment:

              “I guess they want to transition to an economy without wood products…”

              Nope, and that’s a straw-person argument because you don’t need to guess, you can simply read the link you provided, which says:

              OUR VISION

              We believe that a swift transition to a New Economy based on the principles of sustainable development is the only way to emerge from the converging crises of global economic collapse, climate change, and resource depletion in a manner that is just, rapid, and minimizes harm, especially to those least well-off. Hallmarks of the New Economy have been well-researched. It is the transition that needs to happen now. We need to marshal vast knowledge, skills, and resource of humanity to create a New Economy that:

              • Measures progress by improvements in well-being and not expansion of the scale and scope of market economic activity.

              • Recognizes the immense value and importance of relationships and activities outside the so called formal sector.

              • Is based on a renewable energy platform, guarantees basic human needs, discourages wasteful consumption, and invests in rather than depletes natural, physical, social and cultural capital.

              • Replaces brutal and wasteful competition between nations, businesses, and individuals with one that binds us together in cooperative frameworks for solving civilization’s most urgent problems.

              • Is firmly ensconced within the Earth’s ecological limits and guided by our spiritual and ethical traditions.

              • Is diverse, adaptable, localized, and resilient.

              But hey, maybe instead of posting their ACTUAL vision making quips like “I guess they want to transition to an economy without wood products” is easier.

              • Matthew, I did read it and I do agree with their vision as stated.. but I don’t see how their view about timber harvesting/wood products fits in to their vision. I believe in sustainable development and sustainable forest management.

                Here’s an example. My county just redid its planning code to allow for tiny homes. They are supposed to be sustainable and good for low income people. But they are made of wood (at least all the ones we’ve seen) so the lumber must have come from trees somewhere.

                I agree that nowadays “political” invokes partisan political views.. I would say they develop and use information in support of a “policy” agenda.

    • Thanks Bob – keep cranking out those papers!
      The “Center for Keep Your Head in the Sand,” situated by the Oregon Dunes area finds that Sec. Zinke and the bimbo in the White House will cause more harm to the people and landscape of our nation then any combination of enviro organizations. At least the Pentagon, a paragon of liberal, enviro thinking, is taking climate change seriously and has evaluated its effects on national security.

  6. In terms of sustainability, the long run picture is that all trees eventually release all of their carbon. Sustainability of carbon = sustainable forestry. Maximizing sustainability requires minimizing wild fluctuations in stocking. Minimizing wild fluctuations requires some forest management. But the focus on maximizing carbon is only meaningful if there is a direct link between the level of atmospheric carbon and global temperatures which has yet to be proven as pointed out repeatedly and most recently in the last two paragraphs in a comment on another post where it is noted that “ice core and atmospheric carbon data show that in the last 10,500 years there has been no direct cause and effect relationship at all? Note that many periods in the first link below show that temps were more than 2.5 degrees centigrade warmer than current temps yet CO2 was significantly lower than present levels.” Said links are found at:
    ***–> Greenland Temperature and CO2 data back 10,500 years
    –> Greenland Temperature data back 10,500 years
    –> Vostok Temperature data back 140,000 years

    Did the study consider the reduction in risk of carbon release from fire, insects and disease as a result of appropriately planned and executed sustained forest management?

    David’s comment “Research has demonstrated that in western Oregon, where even-aged (clearcut) techniques prevail, sequestration capacity is eliminated for 13 years after harvest” paraphrases to a statement that there is no carbon storage until the clearcut regeneration is 14 years old. Which is the same thing as saying that there is no sequestration from any living plant until it reaches a certain diameter which is patently false. In addition, according to David’s statement that “what happens in the next 13 years (by 2030) will determine the fate of our biosphere.”, we might as well eat, drink, be merry and be irresponsible users of our resources since we only have 13 years left to save our biosphere from destruction. Even the unenforceable, smoke and mirrors Paris climate accord isn’t going to have any significant impact by then. Seems that Mr. Al Gore’s similar prophecy of many years ago failed to materialize. Our problem is resources/demand driven by population – what massive number of people are going to volunteer to be exterminated for the good of the rest of mankind? Who is going to dictate and enforce that everyone over 45 is going to be gassed? Who is going to let the poor and sick die instead of receiving lifesaving measures? Who is going to institute a procreation lottery and exterminate those who don’t obey?

    The “Vision” that Matthew quoted is nice motherhood and apple pie but totally naive unless we were to live in a totalitarian state run by said group. And previous attempts by such groups have meet with with utter failure. Only if China were running the world could such a vision even be pursued. Any volunteers to move to China and help them take over the world?

    Again, we are too prone to make grand statements that translate to unactionable bloviation. Where are the actionable steps necessary to achieve the vision that the group proposes in a free country? Surly there are some obvious baby steps that they could recommend for our national forests that most could agree to instead of proposing that we restructure our whole society. It’s better to take one bite at a time than to try to eat everything on your plate in the first bite. Even Matthew agreed elsewhere that most of us here see a need for more fire on the ground. Why can’t we focus on finding more common ground on the details of doing so?

    How many in the NCFP would like to see a concrete, positive result from all of their time invested on this site?

    • I would really like that. I wonder what that would take? Ideas?

      On the other hand, the more I read about other issues, the more I think that having a place where people try to hear or get both sides of a story in one place is a pretty big achievement.

      I belong to a group called No Labels, and I asked the policy folks in DC if there was a site they could recommended for fair coverage of both sides of the big national issues. They pointed me toward a site that has links to articles from both “sides.” I told them “Sorry, I can’t interpolate between “great thing” from one side, and “worst thing” from the other side. From that I can’t get to what the real disagreements are between the two sides. As we see here on this blog, sometimes the devil is in the details, and here the details can be and are hashed out.

      • It would be great to have constructive discussions, but to do that there needs to be integrity in information. It’s clear that there are a variety of opinions on here and that helps create new perspectives which is good. And it’s equally clear that there are agendas that preclude healthy forests in favor of ideology, that’s not so good. It’s not that difficult to walk or drive through almost any region, particularly the west, and see that there are serious issues with excesss biomass and increased dead & dying trees. Even easier for anyone that has been in the woods for the past 30 years is to see the decline in forest health to the current situation. Yet here we are on this particular post debating an article that is based on “political” agenda with a strong trail to anti-capitalism and quoting opinions that must be fact because they are “published”. Most amazing this go around is the promoting of non-renewable resources as better than utilizing a renewable resource that is in need of reduction.
        To be constructive the rhetoric and agendas would need to be checked at the door, and honest science and experience used to mold ideas. We would also need an acceptance that humans are not just part of the problem, but are more importantly part of the ecosystem and deserve as much consideration as any other specie.

  7. Sharon,
    Your math is right. Based on the forest carbon data in the 2017 Forest Carbon Task Force report to the legislature, Oregon’s carbon footprint is, roughly, 88 million tons minus 58 million tons, or net 30 million tons- half the presently calculated 60 million ton carbon footprint the state’s entire global warming strategy has been based on. That’s why task force chair Mater says the new forest data will completely re-write our understanding of Oregon’s carbon footprint and related state policy.

    This new information is based on new Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data for 2000-2005 and 2010-2015 I think which gives us a complete picture of the forests of the west for the first time. Another startling fact revealed by the new FIA data is the huge die-off on public lands- ironically matching both the carbon production from commercial logging and the entire transportation industry (previously considered Oregon’s largest carbon source), at 22 million tons/year.

    John Talberth’s Centre for Sustainable Economy, by challenging established assumptions about forest carbon, was a key stimulus for Global Warming Commission chair Angus Duncan’s creation of the Forest Carbon Task Force. Talberth points out that every maximum size legal Oregon clearcut appears to generate the threshold 25,000 tons CO2 which would be regulated under the proposed Clean Energy Jobs bill- Oregon’s version of cap and trade.

    This excellent blog discussion illustrates the need for an institution devoted to rigorous exploration of these complex issues, where the uncertainty dwarfs cogency. Questions about substitution of wood for other building and energy production sources are incredibly complex, which is why Mater has avoided trying to sort them out in her committee report’s first iteration. The next report to the legislature is being hotly contested behind the scenes at the moment, and has been delayed until February.

    With two diametrically opposed sides (CSE on the one hand and the industrial resource-based forest carbon narrative on the other) of an incredibly important issue fraught with uncertainty, perhaps the time is right for the two sides to agree on the creation of an institution dedicated to rigorous, transparent, peer-reviewed forest experimental science which will put these theories to the test and follow the results wherever the view through the new lens of the forest carbon cycle might lead.

    The uniquely qualified Forest Carbon Task Force might provide suitable leadership for such a task. Oregon Department of Forestry has demonstrated no objectivity, ability or willingness to address these issues, and is ill-suited for the job. Some feel the Elliott State Forest would provide a suitable home for such an institution, based on a self-funded, modified version of the Giesy Plan.

    • One of the ironies of this “new” information is the fact that those of us who actually work in the forests, have been pointing to the increased mortality on federal lands for several years. This has been met with academics who haven’t seen the published papers to contradict the idea that federal forests are quickly becoming a liability to both neighbors and climate change. The Environmental community ignores, minimizes and outright lies about the condition of the federal forests because it doesn’t conform to their outdated and failing ideology.
      There is plenty of public land that has not already been allocated to specific uses, without locking up the Elliott State Forest.
      I wonder if it is possible to have a non-bias commission that would look at true science and not be slanted by either side of the timber issue.

  8. Pingback: A simple message to Clean Energy Jobs Bill supporters: This is not a comprehensive climate solution - Center for Sustainable Economy

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