Report:“National Forest Health Restoration: An Economic Assessment of Forest Restoration on Oregon’s Eastside National Forests.”


Thanks to Terry Seyden for this one.
In the interests of transparency, I’d like to try to establish some background information on these kinds of reports.

Who wanted it: This report was done at the behest of Governor Kitzhaber.
Who produced and funded it: “The report was assembled with funding and guidance from conservation groups, government agencies, academic institutions and business trade associations.”

Here is the link to an article about it (including a link to the document and a four page summary).

Below is an excerpt from the story.

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.

4 thoughts on “Report:“National Forest Health Restoration: An Economic Assessment of Forest Restoration on Oregon’s Eastside National Forests.””

  1. A cautionary note crossed my desk several months ago from a NEPA planner on one of the affected forests:

    “… if you have contact with the State, you might want to caution them about calling this study a restoration study. It is focused on timber jobs and not all the jobs that could be created by a holistic approach to the restoration needs.”

    “… when the State contracts for an economic analysis of what accelerated restoration would mean to eastern Oregon, and they do not include the whole set of restoration activities, some of which we have been encouraging to diversify the economy, they are missing a large component of potential employment and industry.”

  2. Eastern Oregon has a HUGE LPI (lodgepole-ponderosa interface), where the lodgepoles have invaded fire-adapted ponderosa stands. Additionally, those ponderosa stands are overstocked with ponderosas, as well. Thinning and enhancing fire-adapted stands also improves owl and goshawk survival. Otherwise, preserving these unnatural state invites a catastrophic “rebalancing” back to brushfields and lodgepole thickets. Ponderosa pine cannot endure the hot fires that lodgepoles can.

  3. Eastern Oregon also has too many roads, too many cows, too many weeds, and too little fire. Some people seem ever ready to see the need for restoration with chainsaws and log trucks, but find it difficult to see the need for restoration that does not involved chainsaws and log trucks.

    A lot of the trees that need to be removed are small and do not lend themselves to commercially viable timber sales, and if we prioritize restoration according to the profit motive, a huge range of restoration will never get done, and that will be a shame.

  4. I worked on the Lone Pine Fire Salvage Project, on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. It was one of the early fires that were seen to have burned well above the “natural” intensity. I worked there as recently as 2006, collecting cruise data for a thinning project. The stands were quite close to the site of the Lone Pine Fire, overstocked with merchantable trees. During the Lone Pine salvage, there was a mill in Prineville that was taking logs 8 feet long and at least 7″ dbh. I counted 210 logs on one truck. Meanwhile, there are solid diameter limits (I think 21″ dbh) in place. It can and should be done, in strategic places.


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