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Ground Zero In Timber Wars Shows Signs of Peace

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An article published this week in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat details a level headed approach to forestry. The details mentioned are a close reproduction of the practices Old-Growth Again uses to begin the restoration process of cut-over lands. It’s heartening to see this becoming more generally practiced and other restoration outfits popping up around the country.

I think once the national forests lands mentioned are restored, the forest service contracts eventually issued will in all likelihood cut at a faster rate than we are doing. Under Forest Stewardship Council guidelines mentioned, they will probably cut about 2% per year versus our 1% per year limit. This is the basic difference between Sustainable Forestry and Restoration Forestry. But, at least in the initial phase, they are both nearly identical since there is little timber that can be harvested and only the thinning, planting and soil management aspects can be addressed.

This aside, the article details a significant turning point in forest management in the Northwest. It is hopefully the long-awaited shift in the political wars of the past 30 years that pitted ecology vs economy instead of ecology and economy as we’ve been struggling to demonstrate since 1994.

Here’s the intro to the article, with a link to read more….

(AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

(AP Photo/Jeff Barnard) In this May 15, 2009 photo, Lomakotsi Restoration Project crew supervisor Aaron Nauth stands on the stump of a centuries old tree and looks over an old clearcut that his team has thinned on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest outside Takilma, Ore.

TAKILMA, Ore. (AP) — On a steep slope of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, a crew of young men with chain saws and hardhats worked their way through an old neglected clearcut, cutting brush and young trees and piling the remains to be burned later.

Freshly trained and closely supervised, the crew took care to leave behind volunteer sproutings of dogwood, madrone and huckleberry as well as the sugar pine and Douglas fir planted here 20 years ago. The pattern is designed to grow into a healthy forest less vulnerable to wildfire and better for fish and wildlife, rather than just turn out timber.

The House Hope Stewardship Project, taken off the shelf with $1.4 million from President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, will thin and restore 890 acres.

It’s a tiny fraction of the 60 million to 80 million acres the U.S. Forest Service estimates need it nationwide, but people here feel as if this is a start — not only to grappling with the growing threat of wildfire in a warming climate, but in healing rifts between environmentalists, the timber industry and the Forest Service that have left the national forests in limbo.

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