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Forest Management in the PNW

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  1. Forest Management in the PNW

  2. A Simple Set of Periods • Pre-European Era • Early Exploration and Settlement • Early Logging Activities • The Onset of Industrialization • World War II and the Korean War • Recent History (post 1973)

  3. Pre-European Era • Significant native American use of forests began after ~10,000 years b.c.e. Or < 25,000 years b.c.e. • During ice age Siberian land bridge open but N.A. continent closed. • At end of ice age bridge closed but continent opened; ice-free corridor • Or: hopping between ice free areas, coastal navigation, etc.


  5. Coastal Route Mackenzie Corridor

  6. Early Human Use of Forests • Various Forest Products (salal, mushrooms, game, etc.) • Extensive use of Cedar and related by-products in wet temperate forests • Canoes • Shelter • Baskets • Forest supported many species of importance (e.g. salmon) and vice versa



  9. Early Human Impacts on Forests • Fire (Boyd, 1986) • Clearing for Game (habitat, visual) • Assisting plants of interest (huckleberry, camas) • Reducing problem plants (blackberry) • Increasing safe area around habitations (Security) • Other similar uses • Most other impacts relatively limited

  10. Early European Exploration • Juan Josef Perez Hernandez 1774 (Juan de Fuca) • James Cook 1778 • George Vancouver 1792 takes possession of PNW for England • 1804 – 05 Lewis and Clark • David Douglas (1826 – 28)

  11. Early European Settlement • Willamette Valley an important draw (early 1840s), settled before forested areas • Puget Trough also settled before forested areas • Valley bottoms of forested areas settled (often current in holdings in federal lands) • Forest cleared for agriculture • Initial European migrants were fur traders and explorers – settlements were trading focused • Impact(s) on forests limited (although beaver are considered a keystone species)


  13. Early Logging Activities • Limited, local • High grading (cedar, old growth Douglas fir) • A major product was cedar shake shingles

  14. Limits to Early Forest Harvesting Access to markets (transport) Access to forest interior Distance to markets (most people on east coast)

  15. Impact of the California Gold Rush Sudden nearby demand for timber, lumber, and other materials (food, etc.) that required lumber. PNW Geography: lowland forests near water (sound, rivers, etc.) provided access, transport, ease of entry. By 1850 sawmills were opening throughout the Puget Sound Region. Shipped to CA from ports

  16. Early forest harvesting techniques Mule and/or oxen teams Corduroy roads River dams/floods Hand saws and incuts (still visible) Unpatented lands made access limited to time and material


  18. The Onset of Industrialization • Railroads granted land for capital • Often timber companies accessed land (e.g. Hill Traded to Weyerhaeuser) from RRs. • Lands started to be claimed (Homestead Act of 1862) • 160 – 320 acres per claim • Timber companies used stand-ins to claim extensive tracts • Mostly claimed lowland, old growth areas

  19. Harvesting Techniques Mechanized • Steam Power and Steam logging (donkey engine) • Skidders to pull logs uphill • Cable systems and spars • Access: railroad logging

  20. Problems Solved(?) • Nearby Market: California • Access to East Coast: Northern Rail Routes • Access to Interior: Railroad Logging • Other techniques: Use of Rivers and Streams (flooding)

  21. Federal and State Lands • Contract logging, but considered less valuable • Many US forest lands on “wasteage” as designated in ~ 1880s – 1890s • State Lands remains from those not bought from state (section 6 and 16); lesser quality of forest lands, more difficult access.

  22. Federal Bureaucracy Developing • Forest Reserve Act 1891 (General Land Office, USDI) • US Forest Service 1905 (USDA) • 1907 US Forest Reserves renamed US National Forests. • Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt key players • “Wise Use”

  23. Business as Usual • Frequently the connected few gained much from federal largess • Demand for Spruce during WWI led to logging in the Olympic National Monument • Attempts to set aside areas as preserves were fought by timber interests • 1930s Depression reduced timber demand overall

  24. WWII and Korean War • War increased demand for all resources • Post War: Increased consumerism • Increased demand for wood products (GI Bill and home loans) • New technologies for logging, especially road building, use of trucks, and yarding of logs to landings at roads • More areas opened up, especially public lands

  25. Post-1951 • Timber companies overharvesting • Federal lands becoming more and more accessible, open to logging • Political and institutional issues (e.g. revolving door) affect forest management policies • “Get out the cut” an important political tool

  26. MUSY Act of 1960 • Multiple Use Sustained Yield • Addressed other forest uses • Fiber production and removal still primary • Considered an environmental law, fought by timber industry (but used by them later)

  27. Management Approach • Dispersed cuts of 40 acres (~10 ha) • Supposed to provide more edge  more ecotones  more diversity • Really provides more forage for game • Drastically altered patterns and related processes in forest ecosystems

  28. Wilderness Act of 1964 • Set aside roadless areas • Initially rock and ice • Restrictive, especially due to size of area (decreased with amendments) • RARE (Roadless Area Review and Evaluation) I and RARE II indicative of reluctance of bureaucracy to accept wilderness (remnant of G. Pinchot) • Both reviews challenged by Sierra Club

  29. Recent History: Important Laws • National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA, with EIA and EIS) • Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) • National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA)

  30. Early 1980s • Reagan Administration appoints industry executive to run timber management portion of the US Forest Service • Changes in regulations regarding cuts increase timber volume removed from forests significantly • Related to several factors: • Closing out of private old growth holdings • Mills outdated, mostly able to handle and mill large logs • Public forests seen as an enormous untapped resource to keep mills running until retooling occurs

  31. Late 1980s • Spotted Owl becomes an issue • 1988 Forest Service releases guidelines for logging in spotted owl habitat • Sued by Seattle Audubon Society and other environmental groups • NEPA, ESA, NFMA laws that applied • Initial responses included adaptive management

  32. Northern Spotted Owl Strix occidentalis caurina

  33. Interagency Science Committee • Jack Ward Thomas, head biologist at USFS led 17 member committee • ISC recommended large habitat conservation areas • USFS stated it would operate in a manner “not inconsistent” with ISC without following normal rule making procedures • Audubon sued again, won in Dwyer court

  34. The God Squad • USFWS lists Spotted Owl threatened • USDI/BLM asks for exemption for 44 timber sales based on ruling by Dwyer on their activities based on exemption from section 7 of ESA (Fed agencies must consult with FWS) • God squad advises exemption for some sales in exchange for a comprehensive plan to address habitat needs of the spotted owl

  35. The Gang of Four • Scientific Panel on Late-Successional Forest Ecosystems • Conclusion: No alternative to conservation to follow laws (NEPA, ESA, NFMA) • Larger areas of conservation for NSO needed than ISC report indicated • Forest Service ignored the report, Audubon sued

  36. 1992 Dwyer Decision • Sued again, the US Forest Service and BLM (USDI) lost in a staggering decision by Judge Dwyer • All timber sales on federal lands cancelled until guidelines, regulations, plans and rules regarding NEPA, ESA, and NFMA adopted and enacted

  37. FEMAT • Clinton campaign promise • Forestry conference of 1993 • Designation of Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team • Plan in 60 days (extended to 90 days) • Emphasis shifted from a PLAN to options the president would select • 10 Options presented along a continuum, #9 recommended and selected • Sued by both sides of debate

  38. Ecosystem Management • Developed here in the PNW “first?” • FEMAT looked at very broad spatial and temporal scales (100+ years, Watershed and greater) • Incorporated disturbance, other processes into planning • As best as possible, attempted to reconcile resource use with habitat conservation • 50 – 100 year planning outlook • First hand experience with lack of data, modeling into the future, and making decisions based on these situations

  39. FEMAT Matrix Approach • Concepts of landscape ecology and island biogeography • Within the matrix of forest resources, large patches of conserved, used, roaded, unroaded areas. • Connectivity, contagion important concepts. • Time scale and the 150 year-old cohort (Late Successional Reserves).