We’ll probably all be interested in following as 4FRI unfolds.
This is the most detailed story I’ve seen..nice work, Pete Aleshire!
he threat prompted timber interests and environmentalists together with forest researchers from Northern Arizona University to forge an agreement on the need to use a reinvented timber industry to thin some 2.4 million acres of forest. Instead of asking taxpayers to shell out $500 to $1,000 per acre for hand thinning, backers hope the timber mills can essentially cover the cost of the thinning by selling the small trees they harvest. That would require convincing the timber mills to invest millions in chipboard and particle board manufacturing operations plus a network of power plants that can burn the wood scraps.
A study by economists from NAU predicted that long-term contracts feeding wood steadily to a network of mills and power plants would generate about 1,000 jobs annually in the region and save the taxpayers the $1.2 billion cost of hand thinning such an expanse.
“If an effort of this scale is going to work anywhere, it’s going to work here,” said Ethan Aumack, Director of Restoration Programs for the Grand Canyon Trust.
“From the science to the social license to the wood utilization capacity, we have all the necessary pieces in place and now it’s time to move them in unison forward.”
The timber interests want 20- and 30-year contracts to guarantee a sufficient supply of wood to produce a profit. The conservationist groups want the Forest Service to accept what amounts to a ban on cutting the largest trees — generally those more than 16 inches in diameter.