Our Board is a collaborative of activists who were formerly adversaries in the Western Oregon forestry debates. Our goal is to form a large network of Friends with a similarly wide range of outlooks and who support our approach to developing broadly supported policy on how BLM forests should be managed in Western Oregon.
The name“Forest Bridges” and our logo are intended to symbolize this coming together to bring to life a shared vision of long-term forest health and mitigated climate change, for the benefit of all.
Dry and Moist forests:
Dry Forests: Dry forests are generally found in Southwestern Oregon. In a dry forest, the forest floor tends to dry out completely in the summer, and frequent low intensity fires are a natural occurrence every five to fifteen years. These fires keep the fuel load low and promote the development of fire resistant legacy trees. Climax dry forests are typically multi-aged stands of widely spaced fire resistant trees with a low understory of forbs and grasses.
Moist Forests: Moist forests are found more in Northwest Oregon, and all along the Oregon Coast Range mountains. In moist forests, the forest floor is heavily shaded and remains moist or wet even in typical summer conditions. Fires in these forests only happen under extremely dry conditions (every 100-300 years) and are much less frequent but more extreme, due to higher fuel loads.
The Moist and Dry Forests are require different management strategies (click here to learn more). There are also areas where the moist and dry forests are intermingled in a mosaic. Slopes facing north or east are most often moist forests, whereas slopes facing south or west are often dry forests. These mosaic areas create a broad range of habitat types in close proximity and will require special management planning to mimic historical habitat patterns in the absence of fire.
Natural fire, megafires and wildfire:
Natural wildfires have always existed in NW forests and the forests have adapted to thrive in the natural fire regime. Indigenous tribes used fire as their primary tool for landscape management. Frequent, low intensity fires developed the historic fire-resistant forests of Southwest Oregon. The magnificent stands of old growth Douglas Fir in the moist forest were typically initiated by infrequent stand replacement fires.
Many western Oregon forests are now overloaded with fuels after more than 100 years of aggressive fire suppression. The Smokey the Bear campaign and common protocols of the time had the unintended consequence of unnatural fuel buildup. Megafires that burn very hot and rapidly grow thousands of acres across BLM and private lands together because the typical ownership size is 640 acres. These fires not only cause extreme economic hardship, but few trees survive, soil is damaged, habitats are destroyed, carbon is released to the atmosphere, and water quality, lives, and property are placed at risk.
O&C lands in excess of 2 million acres of public lands are located across the 18 Western Oregon counties. Originally, these lands were deeded as private lands to railroad companies in 1866 to encourage the railroads to develop a rail line across Oregon and to encourage settlement. Portions of land were sold to settlers to raise money, the railroads were built, but eventually, the lands were revested to the Federal Government by Congress with the intent to privatize. Under the O&C Act of 1937, the BLM was tasked with managing the lands under what was considered progressive, conservation-oriented, and sustainable timber harvest practices at the time, with a portion of revenues going to the 18 counties of Western Oregon as O&C County Receipts.
O&C County Harvest Receipts:
When a timber sale is sold from western Oregon O&C timberlands, 50 percent of the revenues are divided among the 18 western Oregon O&C Counties in accordance with the O&C Act of 1937. The Forest Bridges Project advises that all timber sales be designed to drive the forest toward overall healthy habitat goals. Continuous, independent monitoring will ensure the goals are being met.
This new source of ecological forestry and monitoring funds recognizes the costs and promotes the actions required in 21st century forestry and the Forest Bridges Project.
The Sustainability receipts are that portion of O&C revenues and any other revenues from BLM timber sales, that have previously gone to the U.S. Treasury, as opposed to the O&C counties. This change in funding allocation recognizes and promotes the actions and costs of ecological forest management. These funds would be in addition to the BLM Congressional appropriations for operations which need to remain at traditional levels for the Sustainability Receipts to meet their intended purposes. The allocation of sustainability receipts would be controlled by statute, and require collaborative approval for dispersing. These BLM funds are dedicated to the following:
- forest restoration on BLM lands and in cooperation with checkerboard neighboring landowners, on their lands, for road systems, forest retention, as well as restoration and thinning of dry forest non-commercial lands
- third party monitoring and reporting of forest actions and the forest condition,
- adaptive management as knowledge and conditions change
- noxious weed removal and control
- law enforcement
Substantial public support will be required to reallocate the Sustainability Receipts to Ecological Forest Management. Please become a Friend of Forest Bridges today.