Each kind of Forest Land ownership (USFS, BLM, Tribal, state, industrial private, family forestlands, and homes in forests) has its own widely variable set of objectives. Forest management solutions that “work” are unique to each.
There is no single best solution even for one kind of land, or this issue would have been solved long ago. A series of small steps over a of decades has also been unsuccessful and Time is running short. A science-based solution is needed.
Forest management, especially on public lands presents a complex problem today. There are many guiding laws, which have been interpreted by the courts, sometimes not as originally anticipated. This creates layers of regulation and guidance. To “solve” the forest management problem, many changes are required at the same time, and be broadly acceptable, otherwise each step forward will be countered by the other barriers. For example, even comprehensive progress in forestry alone would be thwarted without parallel progress in judicial, financial, and transparency (monitoring and broad reporting).
Underlying all these needed changes is a need for basic trust between traditionally adversarial parties, which must come together on a solution.
What drives trust and brings these traditionally adversarial parties to the table? A new-found willingness to work together. A common will must exist and then trust can be built.
That will of late has come from the ever-increasingly destructive effects of fire, global warming, failing rural communities, and failing forests themselves, an increase in at-risk species, etc., all in the presence of humans.
Those who are willing to address all of these issues – rather than some issues to the exclusion of others — need to step forward to support a meaningful science-based solution. It should appeal to people across a spectrum and beliefs and desires.
The forest ECO SYSTEM begs for fixes socially, biologically, fiscally and judicially, as best we can. The proposed series of fixes need not be perfect, but it should be acceptable, and leave room for changes to be implemented over time as new aspects and interrelationships are documented.
Forest Bridges started meeting early in 2015 as the O&C Forest Habitat Project. Through over 100 meetings, we brought our collective expertise, reviewed some critical literature, and met with science, agency, and diverse public viewpoints, to understand what needs to stay as is and what needs to change.
Importantly, there are many solutions to this forest management question. What follows is one set of proposals which hasdiverse support and addresses the broad set of issues.
The driver is the historically natural system, with wood and other outputs as a result, of maintaining the historical condition. It became clear early on that mimicking the historical natural processes would, by itself, produce sufficient wood for the O&C BLM lands, if the system is truly allowed to operate and achieve the forest goals.
As important as change is, in order to make the system work, there are aspects of the system we have discussed at length and agreed do not need changes. These are aspects of the BLM forests that we recommend stay as the status quo and NOT be changed..
These Here is a list of the issues and recommendations that Forest Bridges collaborative believes need to be be changed.
Many of these are not new concepts of Forest Bridges, while some are. But taken together, they represent a major shift in forest policy that can positively impact the benefits of our forests as forests, for wildlife and humans alike.
“My Why” – By Rick Sohn, Forest Bridges Secretary
‘Roseburg was a great place to grow up, to learn all the wildflowers and trees, to enjoy the woods for
camping, fishing, and recreation, and then, after graduate work in Forest Biology, to learn about
mushrooms, and to work in a thriving family forestry and wood products manufacturing company. The
successful, rural timber-based community of my youth has been followed by more than 40 years of
rancor and forest controversy in Roseburg and western Oregon. How could I give back, how to return
vitality to our communities, to the rural lifestyle and to our forests? In January 2015, I invited a tiny
collaborative of 3, with widely diverse viewpoints yet deep forestry and political experience, to see if we
could work together and find common ground and put forth recommendations for the O&C BLM lands
of wEstern Oregon. Other initiatives had failed. It seemed time for a new, more collaborative, more
comprehensive approach among clear adversaries. As we began to talk, our common ground increased,
until we became very comfortable with a foundational set of science-based proposals for O&C BLM land
management. The book, “Old Growth in a New World 1 ” propelled our efforts and many early
discussions. The group has expanded slightly over the years, and one of our founders, Jim Ratzlaff, has
passed. In his memory, and with the reverence this work commands, we have continued. To see us at
work today, we are just like a bunch of old friends addressing a problem….. the adversarial nature of our
roots has disappeared and been replaced by trust and our common will to succeed. It is hoped that
completing this work will make a significant contribution to Western Oregon BLM O&C Forestry and
communities. Please join us and support this process.
1. Spies, Thomas A., and Duncan, Sally L., Editors. Old Growth in a New World, A Pacific Northwest
Icon Reexamined. Island Press, 2009.