Poll: widespread support “ecological forestry” approach, rather than trust management of O&C lands

An article in Greenwire today about a recent poll (summary) in Oregon. A couple of excerpts:

Poll respondents were asked whether they would support a plan that would log 20 percent of the lands for $40 million in annual county revenue “and protect salmon and other types of threatened wildlife on virtually all of the wildlife habitats that could be impacted by logging” or a plan to log roughly 60 percent of the lands for $165 million in annual county revenue “and protect salmon and other types of threatened wildlife on less than half of the wildlife habitats that could be impacted by logging.”

Statewide, 55 percent of voters chose the former while 29 percent chose the latter. For southwestern county voters, the split was 53 percent to 31 percent.

According to the poll sponsor, Pew Charitable Trusts, the findings suggest that voters in the state favor the Bureau of Land Management’s “ecological forestry” model for the agency’s 2.4 million acres of O&C lands, rather than a bill by Oregon Reps. Peter DeFazio (D), Kurt Schrader (D) and Greg Walden (R) that would allow more than half of the land to be managed by a state-appointed timber trust.

DeFazio said he backed former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s ecological forestry policy but that it won’t provide the revenue counties need to provide basic services.

“The real question, and one that will have to be answered by Congress, is how do you provide legislative certainty that what we all agree on — more protection, more production, more jobs, and more revenue — actually happens,” he said. “I have answered that question.”


10 thoughts on “Poll: widespread support “ecological forestry” approach, rather than trust management of O&C lands”

  1. Steve: The Pew question is loaded and I am surprised that people are accepting the findings. The simple choice is millions of dollars or “protecting” salmon. That is apples and oranges and framed in such a way as to heavily bias responses.

    What does “protect salmon” actually mean? What is heavily inferred here is that logging kills salmon, which is ridiculous. Apparently people are willing to spend $125 million of other people’s money in foregone logging income to know that salmon are being “protected.” That’s news? I’m guessing the pollsters could have substituted “childhood safety” or “climate change” for “protect salmon” and got a very similar result.

    About 15 years ago I participated in a research project that focused on the relationship between historic salmon runs, commercial fishing history, and land management actions:


    We discovered that in several subbasins that had been clearcut, salmon runs completely stopped shortly thereafter. This was touted — with maps — by several preservation organizations as “proof” that logging kills salmon. What the maps didn’t say (and which we pointed out) is that every one of the clearcut areas had subsequently been impounded by a dam. That’s why they were logged. The dams stopped the fish runs just as effectively whether the upstream areas had been logged or not. That is not to say the dams killed salmon, either — only that they restricted the range of some local fish populations.

  2. Loaded, yes, I agree. I don’t know who may be accepting the results. I’ll bet The oregonian will write something on the poll.

    FWIW, the Greenwire article states that “The poll, conducted by Republican-aligned Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic-aligned Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, took random telephone surveys of 500 likely voters in Oregon, including 100 from timber-dependent Douglas, Jackson, Josephine and Lake counties.”

  3. People are sure willing to forgo hydropower revenue in order to help salmon migration, why not some logging revenue? Not a shocking result if you choose to interpret the results that way.

    I am disappointed they did not ask if the public was willing to do more, like forgo a little more logging (e.g., focus on thinning young stands instead of clearcutting stands up to 120 years old) in order to store carbon, save more salmon, help spotted owls co-exist with barred owls, restore the quality of life that makes the PNW such a great place to live, start a business, and raise a family.

  4. Tree, Here in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, we have already forgone all but a fraction of the harvesting from federal lands. There isn’t much more to give up.

  5. In Oregon and here in the Pacific Northwest the timber industry and Forest Service have pretty much already logged and roaded most of the National Forest lands outside of Wilderness and the remaining roadless lands, including cutting down many of the ancient, old-growth forests on America’s national forests.

  6. Matt, the National Forests were created by law. The Organic Act states that “For the purpose of preserving the living and growing timber and promoting the younger growth on forest reservations, the Secretary of the Interior, under such rules and regulations as he shall prescribe, may cause to be designated and appraised so much of the dead, matured, or large growth of trees found upon such forest reservations as may be compatible with the utilization of the forests thereon, and may sell the same for not less than the appraised value….”

    The O&C Act states that “That timber from said lands in an amount not less than one-half billion feet board measure, or not less than the annual sustained yield capacity when the same has been determined and declared, shall be sold annually, or so much thereof as can be sold at reasonable prices on a normal market.”

    One can make a strong case, especially for O&C lands, that these laws have been ignored.

    • Selective quotation? The O&C Act of course also says, “shall be managed for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principal of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply, protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow, and contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities…”

      Protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow, and contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities.

      These things, required by the O&C Act, are among the things Oregonians poll as desiring, and as desiring more than timber production at unsustainable, watershed-damaging levels.

      Pretty darn good for 1937… unless one ignores the inherent ecological perspective, and quotes only the timber harvesting parts.

      • It’s not an absolute, here. Not every acre needs to put loggers to work, and not every acre can have a spotted owl in it. However, on the landscape we CAN have all those things humans desire, if thoughtfully planned and expertly implemented. Sadly, not every project meets those specs, with significant blame going to partisan politics.

      • Selective only because I didn’t want to post the entire text of the law. My point is that less than the annual sustained yield capacity is being harvested, counter to the law. The BLM’s proposed Western Oregon Plan Revisions would have met the O&C Act’s mandate.


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