A Delicate Balance
How the Timber Industry Works to Ensure the Best for Our Forests and Communities
By Alyssa Matthews
I have always loved the forest and all that it provides. My family and I have spent many years traipsing through the trees and ferns of the beautiful Oregon and California forest lands. My paternal grandfather worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the northern California Klamath National Forest from the late 1960s to the late 1990s and has led my brother and me through his favorite parts of the land. My maternal great-grandfather owns one hundred acres of forest land in northwest Oregon and is a part of the small private logging sector. Because of my family and upbringing, I have never believed that active forest management and harvesting hurt the forest or our environment. However, I did not understand the real value that management provides. Many believe that those in the timber industry, whether private or public, are actively working against the best interest of the environment and the people by harvesting the forest rather than preserving it. It is common to believe that those in the timber industry are only in it for the money, that they clearcut and devastate the land in their perceived efforts of “forest management.” In reality, the timber industry provides immense benefits for the public and the environment by sustaining and managing the land while also contributing to the economy. Foresting industries don’t just clearcut, they manage. This management is essential as it promotes healthy forests, reduces wildfire damage, and benefits the surrounding communities and economies.
Forest management ensures the good of the people by promoting healthy forests through thinning and harvesting trees which maximize carbon sequestration and reduce dangerous undergrowth and overcrowding. To the general public, the motivation and effects of forest management have been largely misunderstood. Many view trees as something to be preserved and believe that by logging timber and using timber products we are actively harming our world and the climate. Yet trees are a renewable resource. The period for renewal just takes multiple decades, which is a difficult time frame for humans to understand because our lifespans are so short. When private and public sectors log their land and replant they are benefiting the forest and our planet. For one, trees reach a point where they begin to decay; they release carbon into the air rather than absorbing it and thus become more harmful than helpful to the atmosphere and climate.
Erik Vos, CFO of Timber Products, was the first to introduce this phenomenon to me. He explained that the essential process of carbon sequestration, when trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and store it in their cells, is reversed as trees die and when they burn. In order to avoid this, trees can be harvested before they begin to decompose thus retaining carbon indefinitely in the timber used to make wood products and homes. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) report on “Carbon in Oregon’s Managed Forests” published in 2019 goes further explaining that “Half the dry weight of wood is carbon removed from the atmosphere” but this carbon is not stored forever, “When trees die and start to decay… they release carbon.” Thus as a state, country, and world facing climate change caused by our unsustainable use of fossil fuels we have a responsibility to manage our forests well by continuing to use wood to store carbon while also increasing the number of forested areas. The OFRI report corroborates this when they say: “By managing just 20% of the family-forest acres in the US with practices that increase carbon sequestration by 2030, approximately 3.5 trillion metric tons of carbon dioxide could be sequestered by the end of the century.” Such a phenomenal number is not one to be taken lightly. Our forests require active management for us to have a lasting home.
There are multiple steps in the process of forest management for both private and public industries and while they have similar goals, the processes they use look a little different. Both must take into account the many laws that surround protecting the environment and sustaining habitats for various animals and plants while also trying to produce timber. According to Erik Vos and Jimmy Swanson, HR Manager and Corporate Recruiter for Swanson Group, private companies log certain sections about
every forty years. When they log an area, they essentially clearcut the land while leaving some snags and old-growth trees to provide habitat. Then over the next two years, they replant the land with close to four seedlings for every one tree cut down. Ten to fifteen years after the initial logging and then replanting, they bring in workers to do pre-commercial thinning by spacing the trees about fifteen feet apart from each other. This spacing is crucial. According to Vos, spacing keeps trees “from competing
for resources such as rain and sunlight and helps prevent fires from burning as hot.” Then, forty years later, once the trees have regrown, the process begins again, perpetuating the life and sustainability of our forests and planet.
In the case of the Forest Service, and other public land management institutions such as the Bureau of Land Management, the process is a little more complicated and includes a few more steps because of the nature of the institution and the laws guiding their actions. In a democracy such as ours, the government is accountable to the public. Thus whenever the Forest Service decides to make any changes to the vegetation of the land they have to bring in a multi-resource group of specialists including a silviculturist, a person educated in the art and science of growing trees, to write prescriptions for a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) plan. As James Rudisill, Timber Program Manager and Forest Silviculturist for the Willamette National Forest, puts it, “a NEPA plan and decision is a contract with the public,” it is a way to outline how the Forest Service will change the people’s land and the possible impacts it will have on the environment while also providing an opportunity for the public to make recommendations. This reflects the value that the Forest Service places on communication with the public. These plans can take a lot of time to compile and must include many details in order to adhere to the laws surrounding harvesting on federal land that work to ensure the protection of various plants and animals. Once the NEPA plan is finished and approved, the Forest Service marks out the boundaries of the timber stands and puts together a timber sale auction. Various private companies in the area can then bid on the sale and whoever wins receives the right to log, process, and sell the logged trees. To allow this to happen, the Forest Service opens up and maintains forest roads and afterwards treats the area by burning the remaining tops and limbs and later replanting.
As the Forest Service has so many other complexities and goals to achieve on public land it is more difficult to harvest timber at a high rate. According to the 2019-2020 edition of Oregon Forest Facts, the Forest Service harvests significantly fewer board feet of timber in Oregon every year than private industries even though they have a greater share of the land. They also generally have a greater share of tree stands in poor health. Still, there are reasons for this discrepancy. One of the most important is, as Rudisill pointed out, the actions the private and public industry take on their forests are “dependent on their objective.” One goal of every successful business is to make money and this is no less true in the timber industry. This objective does not mean that the private industry mismanages their land or ignores environmental laws to make a profit, their money-making emphasis just encourages more rapid version of management. By focusing on making a profit, they are in turn stimulating the economy and providing basic necessities for the public like jobs and shelter. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, is infamous for its long processes and “red tape,” yet these systems are in place for a reason. They are designed to protect the people by being very thorough and covering all of their legal requirements while also respecting the various needs and desires of the public related to forest use. It is a fine line to draw for both sides and it has been a long struggle in the Pacific Northwest to strike the right balance between profit, protection and sustainability.
This doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement. Andy Geissler works for the American Forest Resource Council (AFRC), an organization that takes it upon itself to seek out ways to improve the government process of timber management to ensure “sustained yield timber harvests on public timberlands throughout the West to enhance forest health and resistance to fire, insects, and disease.” They accomplish this by “promoting active management to attain productive public forests, protect adjoining private forests, and assure community stability” (Excerpted from the AFRC Mission Statement). One of their current goals, as explained by Geissler, is “streamlining the process of environmental analysis,” essentially finding ways to make NEPA plans shorter and more to the point without diminishing the integrity of the information. Currently, most NEPA assessments are at least 300 pages long and take up to three years to complete. This seriously slows down the process of forest management on public land. Geissler is not arguing against the laws and values that require these assessments but is advocating for ways to make the assessments faster and easier to compile, which would help the Forest Service become more efficient and be able to successfully manage more land without changing or threatening their objectives. By doing so, they would be able to improve forest health and limit fire destruction on both public and private land to a greater extent. This would in turn better protect people’s property from fire and dying trees, stimulate the economy by allowing greater
timber harvests and timber-related jobs, and earn money that allows the Forest Service to meet other forest management needs.
The severity and frequency of large and overpowering forest fires which threaten the lives, businesses, and homes of many can be reduced by managing forests through active removal of fuel and the creation of fire breaks. This is another crucial aspect and benefit of active forest management. Before European settlement of the North American continent, prior to the nineteenth century, fire was common and prevalent. Fire was the natural process of management for the earth. It thinned out trees, removed undergrowth, opened up seeds and created new habitats for animals. As more and more people began moving to the Pacific Northwest and using the land for farming and building cities, fire became a threat to their homes and livelihoods. Thus people began to suppress fires. Over the last century and continuing up to the current day, the Forest Service and other industries have been actively suppressing forest fires. Suppression has caused much of the fuel that powers fires to build up over the last hundred years and the forests have become overcrowded with dead trees, brush and young trees that weren’t thinned out. Now when a fire starts, whether naturally or by human hands, the “overcrowded forests have unnaturally high amounts of fuel, leading to hotter and larger fires” according to the Oregon Forest Resource Institute’s fact sheet on fire.
Active forest management can ease many of these problems by acting as fire would in thinning trees and removing fuel. One way that they do this is through continual forest management which includes harvesting timber. When a firm goes through and manages stands, they remove brush, dead trees, and leftover boughs. After a harvest, they replant and thin the growing trees to make sure there is spacing between them. By spacing trees and clearing the ground, they impede the ability of fire to spread and crown or move from treetop to treetop independent of fire on the ground. Logging also requires the establishment of forest roads that allow foresters to drive various vehicles into the area to be logged. According to Geissler of the AFRC, opening up and maintaining roads “giv[es] firefighters a spot to make a stand” against fires. Without roads into timber harvest areas it becomes much more difficult to reach fires and set up fire breaks or spaces where brush and other fuels are removed to stop or change the direction of fire. Many of these essential roads in public and private forests are there to provide access for timber harvests, so maintenance, though paramount for firefighting, only occurs when loggers are actively going into the land. By harvesting timber, which opens up roads and clears out fuel, the private and public industries can make great strides to limiting the magnitude of fire and its subsequent destruction.
The communities and economies of the Pacific Northwest are heavily influenced by timber production and forest management as these provide jobs, recreation areas and produce many important tree-related goods. One of the most valuable contributions of the forest industry in Oregon is the sheer number of jobs the industry provides. They hire people to do jobs from planting seedlings to distributing forest products. In total, the forest industry in Oregon hired 61,051 people in 2017 according to the 2019-2020 Oregon Forest Facts published by the OFRI. The average annual salary for workers in the Oregon forest products industry was about $54,200, approximately 6% higher than the statewide average for all jobs. Many of the jobs offered do not require a college education and still pay well and have good benefits. By providing so many jobs the timber industry seriously stimulates the Oregon and United States economies and improves the well-being of many workers.
Oregon is also the number one contributor of plywood and softwood lumber in the United States and is a leader in engineered wood. These industries provide significantly to the economies in Oregon and the United States as well as the general well-being of the populace. These products are used daily by the American people and their demand is only increasing. Engineered wood or mass timber products such as Cross-Laminated Timber and Glued-Laminated Timber, are new technologies in wood products that are available to the building and construction industry and are in major demand. The creation of mass timber is actually changing how people use wood in construction and how they build commercial buildings. One of the major reasons that the construction industry is pushing for the inclusion of mass timber products is because of the sustainability of timber and the positive impact this has on the planet and climate. The use of timber products in place of alternative materials that require more fossil fuels along with the natural carbon sequestration property of timber significantly reduces the total carbon footprint of a building. According to Mass Timber In North America, an educational advertisements sponsored by Think Wood, “mass timber offers the kind of proven performance—including fire protection and seismic resistance—that allows its use in larger buildings.” The use of mass timber increases fire resistance and makes buildings more stable, safe and long-lasting which is incredibly important in the relatively unstable world we live in and further benefits the climate and environment by requiring less reconstruction and replacement. Mass Timber is just one way that agents of the economy and community are looking towards the future of the timber industry and continuing to pursue more safe and sustainable ways to use our forests.
There are a lot of different opinions about our local forests and how to best protect them while continuing to utilize them. This is a hard balance to strike. Still, I believe that the best and healthiest way to balance protection and production is through active forest management. If we want the earth to continue to sustain life and our future generations we need to ensure that clean and sustainable resources, such as trees, continue to grow and be used appropriately. We can achieve this by continuing the process of the timber industry in harvesting lumber and reforesting the land to keep forests healthy, removing fuel and thinning tree stands to reduce fires, and producing and selling timber-related goods to stimulate the economy. With these processes in place I know that my family and future generations will be able to continue to prosper from and delight in the rich Oregon, Washington, and California forestlands long into the future.
The Importance of Active Forest Management
By Lara Insko
I scuffed my shoe on the ground and pale, sandy soil puffed, coating my pant legs. I surveyed my family’s newest purchase. Like the inverse of a mirage, the surrounding acres were like a desert amidst the forest in Tollgate, Oregon. Why would my family want this useless plot? The only creatures I could find were the ants chewing on petrified stumps and the darting flies. The only life resembling a tree was an ossified, twisted tree trunk jutting out of the cracked earth. What was once a fresh spring was a trickle of water; the ground was so parched it repelled the dusty liquid. At four years old, I had no concept of the vision my dad had for the ravaged land nor its immense potential for life and revitalization through active forest management. My only knowledge of forestry was the mismanaged land in front of me.
With time, the Tollgate property became unrecognizable, sustaining lush greenery as well as larch, spruce, fir, and pine trees. Through planting, natural growth, and selective pre-commercial thinning, the young forest now thrives. Evidence of deer, elk, bears, snakes, ground squirrels, and wolves is abundant, and the soil is dark and rich with organic matter. Fifteen years later, the land is ready for a responsible commercial harvest. Through active forest management, my father was able to restore life to the desolate landscape and boost the value of the land.
My father, through his responsible management of the land and passion for forestry, was the first to show me the opportunities that arise through active forest management. I was able to see first-hand that land once ravaged by irresponsible methods of forestry could be recovered through proper management practices. By means of life lessons from my father, additional research, and interviews with Tom Lovlien, Vice President of Lumber and Composites Division at Woodgrain Lumber; Nils Christoffersen, Executive Director of Wallowa Resources and Oregon State Board of Forestry Board Member; and Peter Maille, Professor of economics, including Natural Resources Economics, at Eastern Oregon University and graduate of the Yale School of Forestry, I have gained an understanding of the benefits of active forest management.
History of Active Forest Management
Before this research experience, my main opposition to the argument that forest management is necessary to cultivate healthy forests rested in the reality that the forest once managed itself. Before human involvement began, the forests were full of mature, healthy trees sturdy enough to withstand fires and spaced proportionally to allow for adequate light consumption. How, then, could forest management be necessary for healthy forests today? Tom Lovlien, Vice President of Lumber and Composites at Woodgrain Lumber quickly overturned my argument by detailing the history of forest management and its outcomes.
While the forest once managed itself, early foresters’ improper practices impacted forest health. Manifest Destiny and expedited expansion for settlement led to irresponsible deforestation and logging in the West. Lovlien shared the result of such irresponsible practices: intermittent barren landscape with loose soil and a loss of species habitat, and competing new-growth forests with excessive stems-per-acre. The forest became unhealthy and susceptible to disease, fire, and other damage. In addition, the public lost faith in forest management, referencing the scarred land as proof of its ineffectiveness.
In 1876, the government established a “Special Agent” position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assess forest conditions to work toward preservation. In 1881, the Division of Forestry was established, and in 1891 the President was given authority to designate public lands as “Forest Reserves.” Finally, in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service was instated (“Our History”). However, the Forest Service acted in preservation, working to limit human involvement rather than directing sustainable active forest management. This dramatic shift to a hands-off approach left the forests to regrow with alarming competition as vegetation fought for light, water, and nutrients.
Finally, in 1910, a massive fire known as “The Big Burn” swept through national forests in Montana, Washington, and Idaho. Lovlien recommended the book The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America to detail the great impact of a single sweeping wildfire. According to the book by Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, blamed “‘ironbound reactionaries’” for leaving “people’s forests without adequate stewardship” (Egan 240). The forests left void of human involvement by early Forest Service practices were left susceptible to catastrophic fires. The fire of 1910, then, became a call-to-action and what author Timothy Egan calls a “master narrative” for the young forestry department to begin advocating for proper forest management (240).
The modern goal of the United States Forest Service is to manage vegetation, restore ecosystems, and reduce hazards in support of the health and productivity of the forest (“Forest Management”), and many involved believe proper forest management will not only provide resources and restore the forests, but will make the forests healthier and better protected. Though Lovlien works for a business heavily involved in logging, which was once deemed the Grim Reaper of healthy forests, he exhibited passion for his company’s work within the realms of active forest management for long-term mutual benefits.
Impacts of Active Forest Management
With proper balance, active forest management has potential to benefit social, environmental, and economic factors. Nils Christoffersen is the Executive Director of Wallowa Resources, which focuses on utilizing proper forest management to utilize all these factors. In our conversation, Christoffersen focused on this balance, highlighting the following:
Socially, forest management improves municipal water quality and outdoor recreation (“The Many Benefits of Forests”). In respect to water quality, foresters must ensure there are complex root systems for erosion prevention while considering the shade and sunlight necessary for healthy fish habitat. Water consumption of neighboring growth is an additional factor, and forest managers must regulate water levels and correlate the natural irrigation to the neighboring trees. Achieving balance between these factors will yield healthy fish habitat, strong riparian zones, healthy trees, and clean water for municipal use (“Clean Air and Water”). In addition, forest management provides opportunities for outdoor recreation. The book Environmental Issues in Pacific Northwest Forest Management states, “Many forest communities provide attractive sites for tourism and recreation… communities are looking toward tourism as a way to bolster their economies” (167). Forest management allows for other recreation activities such as skiing, hiking, fishing, and camping. These activities benefit the culture and economy of neighboring towns. Therefore, social factors such as water quality and outdoor recreation are improved by forest management.
Economically, forest management provides stable, family-wage jobs in rural communities. In Oregon, there are over 60,000 forest and wood product jobs with an average wage six percent higher than the state average (“The Many Benefits of Forests”). This is a saving grace for rural communities that lack economic diversity. Tom Lovlien, Vice President of Lumber and Composites Division at Woodgrain Lumber, emphasized the importance of the lumber industry for small towns like the one in which I grew up. He states “without forest management, in communities across the nation, the mills go away, as do the assets.” Without forest management, either logging would continue irresponsibly or wood products would no longer be available. Wood product jobs are the foundation of many rural communities. Active forest management allows the businesses to sustainably flourish.
Elgin, Oregon is an example of a rural community that heavily relies on forest management through Boise Cascade for its economy. Growing up near the Elgin community, I saw the importance of mill jobs for the prosperity of the town. In October of 2020, Boise Cascade announced it may be closing its plywood plant permanently and laying off all 230 employees (Thompson). Without the mill, the city of Elgin will face economic uncertainty. The town, thirty minutes from my own hometown, may dwindle into a ghost town without the economic support of active forest management.
The environment can also benefit from active forest management. While historic forest management used the thickest, oldest trees for lumber, modern technology allows for lumber production from small, thinned logs (Lovlien). Therefore, forest management can prevent catastrophic fires, or fires that exceed 10,000 acres, and the spread of disease by thinning and clear-cutting that mimics natural breaches in forests. “Mother Nature,” Lovlien says, “never intended to have the stems-per-acre we have today, and she naturally created breaks in the forest, preventing the catastrophic fires we now see.” In summer 2020 alone, over one million acres of land were consumed by uncontrollable wildfires in the West, making it the worst fire season on record for the state of Oregon (Sickinger). With management that reduces competition, forests can be restored to arrays of mature trees more quickly. Mature, managed trees in place of many small, competing trees slows ground fire and decreases susceptibility to crown fire, and such trees are stronger and more resistant to pathogens and beetles (Environmental Issues 191). In addition to forest resilience, forest management can optimize growth. Lovlien warns against a passive take on forestry, as excessive competition for limited resources can cause “negative growth.” Negative growth occurs when growth slows to the point where fires and disease cause more destruction than the new growth overcomes. Optimized growth improves air quality, carbon dioxide levels, wildlife habitat, and the prevalence of a renewable resource (“The Top Ten”).
In all, active forest management has the potential to benefit social, economic, and environmental sectors. It is possible, with balance between these areas, for all to benefit simultaneously. Nils Christoffersen states that it takes “creativity, adaptability, and foresight” to balance the economic and environmental needs of individual forests. There is not a perfect algorithm for active forest management; it takes continuous accomodation and alteration based on the growth of the landscape and timber needs. However, when performed correctly, active forest management can lead to mutual benefit.
Political Aspect of Forest Management
Many years ago, my father served on the Oregon Board of Forestry. His passion, as shown through his work on the Tollgate acres mentioned in the introduction, and career led him to take a seat on the board to help oversee and guide forest management from a political perspective. I remember him setting down his suitcase after his long drive from the Portland meetings, looking so tired. When I asked him why he looked defeated, he would share that the political aspect of forestry can be incredibly draining. People, he explained, lacked trust in forest management and refused to acknowledge its importance.
Knowing my father’s experience when advocating for forest management at the political level, I asked Nils Christoffersen, who currently serves on the Board of Forestry, how the political atmosphere impacts forest management practices today. He shared that, due to the poor forestry procedures of the past, active forest management is still heavily contested. While Christoffersen states that roughly seventy percent of Oregonians are in favor of modern, sustainable active forest management, the extremists from both endpoints speak more loudly than the collective majority.
On the Board of Forestry, Christoffersen states that it is difficult to achieve goals when individuals do not come from a “solution-oriented and objective frame-of-mind.” Rather, radicals lobby for individual interests. He believes these radical viewpoints come from an entrenched belief in historical forest management practices or from individuals who have lost faith in active forestry due to poor historical practices.
Christoffersen also shed a light on the public scrutiny directed toward the Board of Forestry that is a hurdle to “finding appropriate solutions to complex issues.” Most recently, the Oregonian published a series entitled “Failing Forestry,” directly targeting the State Department of Forestry and the State Board of Forestry for ineffectiveness. This, ironically, slows the progress of both entities as they must allocate time to reconstruct their public image and regain the faith of the population. “It certainly isn’t helping to bring Oregonians to appropriate conclusions that lead to solutions” (Christoffersen).
“Board members are just mindful of the importance of doing our job well,” says Christoffersen. The Board of Forestry does not budget for any type of public relations campaign. Rather, Christoffersen emphasized the duty of the board to hear and respond to the public’s concerns. Christoffersen wants to restore the faith society had in state foresters. He says, “We need to speak with confidence and clarity about what’s happening so other storylines aren’t given oxygen.”
Showing the depth of political involvement in forestry, Governor Kate Brown is involved in legislation that seeks to accommodate forest management in ways mutually beneficial to economic and environmental sectors. “Healthy forests and vibrant forestry are not mutually exclusive, and Oregonians need both for prosperous and sustainable communities,” Governor Brown stated in early 2020, following the announcement of her forest plan revision initiative (Schich and Vanderhart). While the original plan did not pass, the Legislature Emergency Board agreed upon a 17 million dollar emergency fund to invest in “wildfire prevention and preparedness” in January of this year (Sickinger).
Peter Maille, Professor of Economics at Eastern Oregon University and graduate of the Yale School of Forestry, is a part of the conversation for the new forestry practices. Maille believes in the potential mutual benefit active forestry offers to economic and environmental issues. He wants to be a voice for communities that are heavily influenced by the plan. “Someone in the main office may not have a problem [with massive regulations], but some communities will not be very resilient, like those that are not diversified” (Maille). Dr. Maille’s work as a forestry activist offers eastern Oregon another political voice in favor of active forest management.
In all, forest management is deeply entrenched in politics and relies on advocates. However, deep-seated opposition makes the political aspect strenuous. The system relies on passionate, educated individuals to determine the best course of action. Cultivating bright advocates relies on the next topic, forestry education.
Importance of Forestry Education
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Peter Maille taught a village in Senegal the practices of forest management that not only increased the availability of wood for construction and heat, but nourished the soil and extended the growing season for the villagers’ crops. In awe of the effects of forest management, the villagers said, “We just never thought of this.” Maille says his biggest success in his years in Senegal was not necessarily the plantations of trees he organized, but was simply starting conversations on the topic of forest management.
Clearly, without exposure and education about forest management, it is undervalued and underestimated. Through Maille’s work in Senegal, there is a more widespread understanding of the importance of forest management. Similarly, in the state of Oregon, education on modern forestry will highlight its benefits and negate the images of clearcutting and ravaged land that runs through most uneducated minds (including my own, before this experience) when the words “forest management” are uttered.
During my interview with Tom Lovlien, he stated that members of the argument for and against forest management may fail to understand the point-of-view of their competitor and therefore do not effectively argue the issues. Lovlien states that arguments must utilize scientific research on a landscape basis and exclude arguments of small-scale forest management; forest management is effective on a large scale and research on short-term and small-scale forest management do not reflect its true potential.
Nils Christoffersen believes in the importance of forestry education, which is one of the missions of Wallowa Resources. Wallowa Resources utilizes education, training, and community engagement for all ages to “plant the seeds” of the benefits of forestry while building skills and awareness of forestry responsibilities. Beyond his Wallowa community, Christoffersen advocates for a shift in the public attitude toward forestry, saying, “Our smaller communities don’t have enough votes to determine the future of public lands so we need to build public support broadly across the state and across the west.”
Despite the history of poor forest management, modern active forest management has the potential to benefit social, economic, and environmental factors. Education on sustainable management practices has the potential to bridge the divide between environmentalists and economists in conflict. This will greatly increase the efficiency of the political processes of forestry and yield benefits for all parties.
Growing up in a rural community surrounded by forest, I have seen firsthand the impacts of active forest management. Whether it is a day hike to Van Patten Lake, a mountain bike ride at the Mount Emily Recreation Area, accomodating a bulky log truck on a narrow country road, or adventuring through my dad’s desert-turned-forest in Tollgate, Oregon, I see active forest management in action. Its influence surrounds us, and through this research experience, I have a greater understanding of its importance.