Logging changes are for the better

In October 2, 2017

Shelly Collins longs for the old days when publicly owned forests were more actively “managed” (meaning harvested), and blames the owl and snail huggers. She also blames current management practices for current wildfires.

She apparently forgets the Tillamook fire of August 1933, during an era of unfettered timber “management,” when 350,000 old-growth acres burned, including 20 astonishing hours when 420 square miles burned.

Rather than environmentalists, much of the blame is on basic economics. Historically, sales of public timber have often brought little net financial proceeds to public coffers. After the cost of roads (paid by the public), some timber sales actually cost more than they bring in.

It’s understandable that the forests’ owners would rather have intact mature forests compared to the perceived wreckage after a harvest that yielded little public coffer benefit.

For all the talk about thinning, not much is done in the West because it costs more than clear cutting, and yields even fewer economic benefits.

To most people, thinning means removal of the small, least-desirable trees. But to many loggers, good thinning means cutting the best and biggest trees, leaving the smallest trees behind. Not surprisingly the public isn’t enthused about this approach.

Collins skeptically asks how changes in Oregon logging have made things better. Timber and logging companies could list many ways, but a few “betters” we all care about: rapid replanting requirements, stream and wildlife protections and, for workers, far fewer injuries. These things matter.


Logging changes are for the better by Jack Carter.  Available from <http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/35992956-78/logging-changes-are-for-the-better.html.csp> [September 25, 2017].  

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