Oregon Timber Agreement Said To Be Historic

An historic agreement between the timber industry and environmental advocates that the Oregon state legislature recently passed into law forms a comprehensive set of changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act, and is the result of months of negotiations facilitated by Gov. Kate Brown in which, among others, Roseburg Forest Products directly participated.

Known as the Private Forest Accord (PFA), negotiations started in early 2020 when a delegation of Oregon timberland owners and conservation groups began working together in mediated sessions to update the state’s Forest Practices Act based on best available science. After nearly two years of work, the group reached agreement on October 2021 in a move heralded as the end to the “Timber Wars” waged in the legislature and the ballot box over the past several decades. The legislature passed three bills that emerged from the PFA, codifying the agreement into state law.

“This agreement is an investment in the long-term viability and sustainability of our industry in Oregon,” Roseburg President and CEO Grady Mulbery says. “Through the Private Forest Accord, we minimize the risk of unscientific ballot measures and never-ending bills before the legislature in favor of long-term certainty that allows us to maintain our commitment to our timberland resources in this state.”

Roseburg was a key player in the negotiations from the beginning, with Eric Geyer, Roseburg’s Director of External Affairs and Strategic Business Development, among the six timber sector representatives at the negotiating table with representatives from five conservation organizations. Ultimately, 11 industry companies and the Oregon Small Woodlands Assn., together representing a total of roughly 10 million private acres in Oregon, were joined by 13 conservation groups as signatories to the PFA.

The new rules are a significant compromise for Roseburg and other private timberland owners in the state. The agreement will reduce the amount of timber Roseburg and others can harvest, and will require landowners to provide $5 million per year in funding for aquatic conservation efforts while creating significant new protections for salmon habitat. Roseburg owns and responsibly manages approximately 400,000 acres of timberland in Oregon.

“The additional encumbrances are not without pain for Roseburg and all private timberland owners in Oregon, and that was difficult to accept, particularly because we are proud of our current practices and the environmental protections they offer,” Geyer comments. “But compromise is always difficult. This process was particularly challenging given the long history between the two groups, but the outcome will ultimately provide a more stable and certain future for Roseburg and for our industry in this state.”

Updates to forest management practices include:

Expanded riparian buffers for streams, rivers and bodies of water

Steep slopes buffers to minimize erosion and create high-quality habitat when natural slides do occur

An approach to identify historical forest road problems and make improvements as necessary

A process to make adjustments to forest practices in the future if science indicates a clear need for change

As part of the agreement, the state must seek federal approval for a 50-year Habitat Conservation Plan that will cover all 10 million acres of private forests in Oregon. This approval will essentially be the federal government’s confirmation that the new rules provide appropriate protection for aquatic wildlife. The new state rules will phase in over time, with stream buffers going into effect no sooner than summer 2023 and the remaining rules going into effect in 2024.

“This is truly a paradigm shift and a movement in our state’s history for which all Oregonians should be proud,” says Chris Edwards, President of the Oregon Forest & Industries Council, an industry trade organization for landowners and manufacturers. “This demonstrates it is possible to put differences aside and work together on viable solutions to tough problems. Today we leave the timber wars in the past and embark on a new collaborative era of forestry that ensures a future for sustainable active forest management and wood products manufacturing.”

Signatories to the agreement from the timber industry perspective include: Campbell Global, Greenwood Resources, Hampton Lumber, Lone Rock Resources, Manulife Timberland & Agriculture (formerly Hancock), Oregon Small Woodlands Assn., Port Blakely, Rayonier, Roseburg Forest Products, Seneca Sawmill Co., Starker Forests and Weyerhaeuser.

Latest News

Forest Service Reveals Immediate Forest Plans

Forest Service Reveals Immediate Forest Plans

U.S. Forest Service reported it sold 2.87 billion BF of timber sales (compared to the agency target of 4 billion BF) in fiscal 2021, a decrease from 3.2 billion BF in FY 2020, according to the agency’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Justification document. The sold volume was valued at $197 million. The decrease in sales was primarily due to limited staff capacity and no-bid…

read more
Stihl To Provide $120,000 Worth Of Grants

Stihl To Provide $120,000 Worth Of Grants

Stihl Inc. announced today the expansion of the Hearts of Stihl program, an initiative to care for the environment through the preservation of our nation’s state parks. Inspired by the staff of America’s State Parks, the mission of Hearts of Stihl is to help those people and programs that are caring for the national treasures that are our America’s State Parks, and preserve them…

read more

WANT MORE CONTENT?

Spanning seven decades since its inception in 1952, Timber Harvesting highlights innovative and successful logging operations across the U.S. and around the world. Timber Harvesting also emphasizes new technology and provides the best marketing vehicle for the industry’s suppliers to reach the largest number of loggers in North America and beyond.

Call Us: 800.669.5613