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Turbulence in the Northwest Timber Industry since the 1990’s. Federal Timberlands have been a battleground since the 1960’s
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Federal Timberlands have been a battleground since the 1960’s
Environmental Organizations seized the Endangered Species Act to seek protection for lands not administratively or Congressionally classified in the late 1980’s (petitioned in 1987)
The Fish & Wildlife Service denied the petition
After appeal to federal courts, FWS was ordered to reconsider, and then it concluded that biological data supported listing the Northern Spotted Owl
Congress tries to maintain USFS timber harvests at mid- 1980’s levels - under NFMA forest plans (sec.318)
Congress orders formation of an Interagency Scientific Committee “to develop a scientifically credible conservation strategy for the northern spotted owl.” The report (the Thomas report) was issued in 1990, and it recommended cutting logging in half, due to reservation of 5.8 million acres of federal land not previously reserved for habitat.
The FWS lists the owl as threatened, but did not identify land needed to provide critical habitat
Environmental groups appeal
After sec.318 expires, and appeal was made under NFMA so that: “fish and wildlife shall be managed to maintain viable populations of existing native and desired nonnative vertebrate species in the planning area of a national forest” (36 CFR 219.19)
Due to complexities of monitoring all species, an indicator species for the ecosystem was selected - The Northern Spotted Owl
In May 1991 Judge Dwyer issued an injunction ordering enforcement of this provision - leading to chaos and predictions of economic disaster
“More is involved here than a simple failure by an agency to comply with its governing statute. The most recent violation of [the NFMA] exemplifies a deliberate and systematic refusal by the Forest Service and the [FWS] to comply with the laws protecting wildlife. This is not the doing of scientists, foresters, rangers, and others at the working levels of these agencies. It reflects decisions made by higher authorities in the executive branch of government.”
Study ordered in 1991 after Dwyer’s ruling
They concluded that continued logging in old growth damaged not just spotted owls, but salmon, and the overall integrity of old-growth ecosystems. Argued for managing the forests as ecosystems
This study precipitated a culture-change in the USFS, giving scientists a far larger role in forest plans
In early 1993 - Northwest Forest Summit
Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team produces by 1994 the Northwest Forest Plan, which Judge Dwyer approves, lifting his injunction on timber sales.
USFS timber harvests could be as much as 1.1 bbf, versus the average of 4.5 bbf in the 1980’s.
Forecasts were made of community economic collapse due to harvest reductions
No data on
Other National Forests Probably Mirror This History
Harvest Until WW-II
Johnson et.al, Oct. 1991 11 to 61 thousand
Rasmussen et.al, 1990 109 thousand
Inst. of Forest Resources, 1990 48 thousand
Olson et.al 1990 147 thousand
FW Forest Resource C. 1989 131 thousand
Waters et.al 1990 37 thousand
USFS 1990 25 thousand
Source: ECONorthwest, The Sky Did not Fall, Table 2.5
NWEAI AND SBA EXPENDITURES ($ MILLIONS)
NWEAI Funds by Category
Source: USFS PNW Research Station, PNW-GTR-465
Data are for the 1990-1996 time period.
Source: ECONorthwest, The Sky Has Not Fallen, Table 3.4
* - 2005 data jobs
W # - 2010 data jobs
2011 – Total =48,792
ECONorthwest The Sky Did Not Fall argues:
Forests are more than trees; they also produce myriad goods & services, clean water, habitat. There is competition from these other users, and nontimber values have risen over time.
Actions like theDwyer decision precipitate chains of response in interest groups & the economy
The position of timber declined in the face of the diversifying regional economy.
USFS Assessment - Lessons Learned
Emphasize community interests & needs
It is difficult to balance long-term economic development objectives with short-term needs
There are varying community abilities to respond to economic development opportunities
There is a need to reach out to highly impacted communities
Job retraining is highly important
Trust must be built between federal agencies and communities
Need frameworks for evaluating program effectiveness
the Record of
is part of Douglas
Forest is partly
located in Clallam
Special Forest Products: Unknown
Grazing: No, but due to other forces (ESA)
Minerals: Change not related to plan
Recreation: Data problems, but mixed evidence, some categories up, some down
Overall: Mixed Results
Using Census data they found population is growing, educational attainment and household income are increasing, poverty is decreasing. However, it is difficult to tie these changes to the Plan
Economies: 11,800 of 30,000 jobs lost in forest products due to reduced federal timber cut. Other changes are not addressed, and forces are acknowledged to be beyond the scope of the Plan
– recent UW study