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Turbulence in the Northwest Timber Industry since the 1990’s Federal Timberlands have been a battleground since the 1960’s Environmental Organizations.

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Presentation on theme: "Turbulence in the Northwest Timber Industry since the 1990’s Federal Timberlands have been a battleground since the 1960’s Environmental Organizations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Turbulence in the Northwest Timber Industry since the 1990’s 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

2 Congressional, Agency, and Court Responses in 1990 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

3 Judge Dwyer’s Ruling 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

4 Dwyer’s Rebuke of the Administration “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.”

5 Congress orders another study: the Scientific Panel on Late- Successional Forest Ecosystems 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

6 Clinton steps in: The Northwest Forest Plan 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

7 The Clinton administration’s attempt to resolve management conflicts in Northwest National Forests -Partially implemented -Still controversial

8 Timber Harvests Mid 1980’s vs. 1996


10 Oregon Timber Harvests 1962-2010

11 Washington State Timber Harvests No data on Indian lands after 2006

12 Gifford Pinchot National Forest Harvest History Negligible Harvest Until WW-II Other National Forests Probably Mirror This History



15 A Sampling of Timber-Related Job Loss Forecasts Johnson, Oct. 199111 to 61 thousand Rasmussen, 1990109 thousand Inst. of Forest Resources, 199048 thousand Olson et.al1990147 thousand FW Forest Resource C. 1989131 thousand Waters et.al199037 thousand USFS199025 thousand Source: ECONorthwest, The Sky Did not Fall, Table 2.5


17 Mitigation Programs in Northwest Forest Plan - NWEAI NWEAI AND SBA EXPENDITURES ($ MILLIONS) NWEAI Funds by Category Source: USFS PNW Research Station, PNW-GTR-465

18 Federal Agency Organizational Chart Northwest Forest Adjustment Initiative

19 What has actually happened to community economies? Data are for the 1990-1996 time period. Source: ECONorthwest, The Sky Has Not Fallen, Table 3.4

20 Douglas County, Oregon * * 2005 estimate jobs # 2007 estimate jobs $ 2010 estimate jobs # $

21 Jefferson-Clallam * *#*# * - 2005 data jobs W # - 2010 data jobs w

22 Douglas County - Change in the Composition of Personal Income

23 Jefferson-Clallam Counties Change in the Composition of Personal Income

24 Douglas County Employment 2013 49,357 jobs Alternative Estimate 55,013

25 Clallam-Jefferson Employment 2011 – Total =48,792

26 Reconciling Trends with Forecasts of Economic Decline 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 the Dwyer decision precipitate chains of response in interest groups & the economy The position of timber declined in the face of the diversifying regional economy.

27 Northwest Forest Plan & the NWEAI 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

28 Required by the Record of Decision for the Northwest Forest Plan

29 Coos Bay District is part of Douglas County Olympic National Forest is partly located in Clallam and Jefferson counties

30 Key Findings Socioeconomic Monitoring (1) Are predictable levels of timber and nontimber resources available and being produced? Timber: No, mixed results 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

31 Key Findings Socioeconomic Monitoring (2) Are local communities and economies experiencing positive or negative changes that may be associated with federal forest management? 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



34 Key Findings Socioeconomic Monitoring (3) “Consequently, the concept of community stability has come to be replaced by the concept of community resiliency-the ability of communities to respond and adapt to change in positive, constructive ways to mitigate the effects of change on the community.” Agency jobs, budgets, and procurement has dropped Long-term economic development & diversification: NWEAI-short-run: too little to late; long-run: too soon to tell. County payments in limbo. Public support continues for an eco- system approach to Forest management. Monitoring needs to be continued, and Plan goals are found to be still relevant.

35 Recent Issues The Healthy Forest Initiative –Roading and clearing of fire materials The Clinton Roadless Rule –Bush Administration challenges –Court Decisions –Obama affirms the Clinton Roadless Rule Private Forest Land Conversion to Non- Forestry Uses – recent UW study Industrial Forest Land Conversion to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT’s)





40 The Imbalance in Age Distributions of Federal and non-Federal Forest Lands

41 Washington State Timber Harvests by Owner 1950-2000 Remarkably Stable The National Forest’s Burst Of Production







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