Here’s the link to the PNW press release.
West coast lumber exports to China nearly doubled in fourth quarter of 2012
Over half of the West coast’s log exports shipped to China
PORTLAND, Ore. Feb. 19, 2013. Lumber exports to China from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska rebounded in the fourth quarter of 2012, jumping to 89.4 million board feet, an increase of 97.2 percent compared to the third quarter of the year, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. At the same time, total lumber exports to all countries from the West coast increased about 21 percent, from 185.6 million board feet in the third quarter of 2012 to 224.2 million board feet.
“China continues to maintain a dominant position in the log export market,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who compiled the data. “Over 271 million board feet, or 60 percent of the West coast’s log exports, were shipped to China during the fourth quarter of 2012.”
Fourth-quarter total log exports from the West coast were over 4.4 percent higher than they were in 2011 because of a 19-percent increase in shipments to China.
Other highlights of 2012:
· The total value of lumber exported through the West coast increased about 17 percent to $156 million in the final quarter of 2012, while the total value of exported logs increased over 19 percent to $309 million;
· The total 2012 volume of logs exported from the West coast represents about 60 percent of the total U.S. log export;
· The total 2012 volume of lumber exported from the West coast represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. lumber export.
Zhou compiled the statistics using data from the U.S. International Trade Commission and Production, Prices, Employment, and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, an annual station publication that provides current information on the region’s lumber and plywood production as well as the trade of forest products and employment in forest industries. To read the most recent version of Production, Prices, Employment and Trade online, visit http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/42384.
Here’s the link and below is an excerpt. I thought it was interesting how they grappled with the issue of being local..
Sounding exasperated, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty warned the mostly Grant County audience: “If we don’t get this one right, you are going to see what Burns looks like.”
He noted the loss of industry there.
“We have nothing. You couldn’t identify five jobs outside of the federal payroll that come from the Malheur National Forest,” he said.
He also protested the lack of attention to Harney County’s concerns.
“You would not have met in Harney County if I hadn’t called,” he told Raaf. “This is wrong, to make Harney County the weak sister in every conversation we have.”
He urged the Forest Service to keep the percentage of timber low in the stewardship program, noting that the counties rely on the regular timber program for what little revenue it provides, and to open up the pool of contractors qualified to bid.
Britton was concerned about the idea of a “single winner,” and also suggested giving the contract to a nonprofit which would then then split up the work among the local timber and mill operators.
Forest Service officials said that could be considered if there was broad support for the idea, but there are questions about how the scenario would play out. The bid evaluation process pegs past performance, along with community benefits, among key criteria.
Britton’s suggestion drew opposition from industry representatives.
Russ Young of Iron Triangle said a nonprofit would just add another layer of bureacracy and also take its own profits from the top to fund its own organization. There are no “non-profit nonprofits,” he said. There are always winners and losers in business, Young said, but if an industry bidder loses to a nonprofit, “we all lose.”
Shelk also objected to the nonprofit idea, and said parceling out the work to multiple companies would further dilute the sawlog volume. He said the one-winner concept will still mean a “net win” to the communities, in terms of employment.
Forestry operations and bioenergy have been part of the economic and social fabric in Northern California for decades. A five-year study produced in 2009 by the USDA Forest Service modeled forest management under different scenarios across 2.7 million acres encompassing the Feather River watershed. The model’s time horizon spanned four decades, examining wildfire behavior, forest thinning operations and a range of environmental and economic impacts. It concluded that in virtually every aspect analyzed, managing forest resources and utilizing biomass for energy production provides significant advantages over the status quo.
With acres per wildfire going WAY up, thinning projects seem to be the way to go to reduce both wildfire sizes and wildfire intensities. Again, we have strict diameter limits in the Sierra Nevada, and clearcutting has been banned since 1993.
The link is here
I saw a local article about our part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.
For the first time in many years, loggers and conservation groups are working together and the results have been stunning, according to Katherine Evatt, president of the Pine Grove-based Foothill Conservancy.
The Amador Calaveras Consensus Group has been working in the Stanislaus and Eldorado national forests on projects that are part of a larger national program called Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration.
The goal is to restore forests for people, water and wildlife, and a report released in December shows some of those goals are being met.
The ACCG Cornerstone Project is one of 23 national projects that split $40 million in 2012. According to the fiscal year-end report for the project, the two forests spent more than $658,000 in CFLRA funds this year, matched by more than $433,000 of other Forest Service funds. There was more than $67,700 in ACCG in-kind partner contributions and more than $1 million in leverage funds from ACCG members. Additional funds included a $196,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Company as well as $283,000 worth of in-service work under stewardship contracts.
The article is here
One more post before I leave..also if you sent me something to post and I forgot, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get to it after my Solstice break.
Forest Service Failing to Create Jobs, Stimulate Economy in Forest Management Practices
Crystal Feldman House Natural Resources Committee
During the height of this year’s record-breaking fire season, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a legislative hearing on bills to address forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic forest fire. Following a Forest Service report on the need for restoration on 65-82 million acres of National Forest land, the Forest Service testified that it had restored 3.7 million acres in 2011. Restoration is the process of assisting recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Following the hearing, we submitted a series of questions to get further detail on what methods the agency used to “restore” these lands.
In its response, the Forest Service explained that of those 3.7 million acres, over 1.4 million – nearly 40% of the total – were “restored” through a combination of prescribed fire (fire intentionally set and monitored by the agency) and wildland-use fire (fire allowed to burn to achieve resource objectives). Meanwhile, commercial harvest was only allowed on 195,477 acres – 5% of the total work for 2011 and only .1% of the 193 million acres managed by the Forest Service.
The .1 % seems to answer one of Derek’s questions. in the People’s Database.but does it agree with the below? It would be nice to see a table that shows prescribed fire, fire use, non-commercial and commercial thinnings and mechanical treatments by acre (like how many acres were touched by different treatments in a given year). Of course, if it’s a service contract, wood might still go to mills, not sure how that is considered in the numbers either..
x acres commercial harvest fuels reduction thinning followed by prescribed burning
y acres commercial harvest fuels reduction thinning alone
z acres prescribed burning only forest in WUI
a acres prescribed burning only grasslands and shrublands
b acres prescribed burning only forest outside WUI
c acres fuels reduction could have gone to mill but we don’t know for sure
Also A little birdie told me that some of the figures in the report below are not accurate.
U.S. Forest Service Program Reports Welcome Christmas News
Third Year of Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program Reveals Big Benefits for People, Water, and Wildlife
Arlington, Virginia | December 19, 2012
An annual report was released today on the performance of a U.S. Forest Service program, called Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR), revealing impressive returns for forests, jobs, water, and wildlife. The three-year old program invested $40 million in forest restoration at 23 forested landscapes across the country in 2012.
As identified in the report, the 23 landscapes cumulatively provided the following 2012 results:
• Created and maintained 4,574 full- and part-time jobs;
• Generated nearly $320 million in labor income;
• Reduced the risk of megafire on 612,000 acres;
• Enhanced clean water supplies by remediating 6,000 miles of eroding roads;
• Sold 95.1 million cubic feet of timber;
• Improved 537,000 acres of wildlife habitat;
• Restored nearly 400 miles of fish habitat.
In addition to these on-the-ground results, CFLR also highlighted the opportunity to leverage matching investments in forest restoration. All told, CFLR leveraged an additional $45.4 million dollars towards collaborative actions in 2012.
Beyond the beauty they offer, forests are critical to life and livelihood across the nation. Americans forests cover one-third of the United States; store and filter half the nation’s water supply; provide jobs to more than a million wood products workers; absorb nearly 20% of U.S. carbon emissions; offer 650 million acres of recreational lands that generate well over $13 billion a year in economic activity; and provide habitat for thousands of species across the country.
Observers say the program is bucking the larger downward funding trend because restoration of National Forests is the new ‘zone of agreement’ where traditional adversaries in the timber industry, conservation, and local county governments are working to advance common goals. .
The collaborative results of the report were heralded by companies, community groups, and conservation organizations around the nation.
“The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program is bringing communities from around the country together to create jobs, to restore forest and watershed health, and to reduce the costs of wildfire suppression at impressive scales,” offered Laura McCarthy of The Nature Conservancy. “The program and its many supporters are charting a successful path forward for National Forest management.”
“This is an outstanding program because it simultaneously helps forests, water, and jobs,” said Kelsey Delaney of the Society of American Foresters.
“Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects are cost efficient, mostly because of their long time frame and larger scale,” added Scott Brennan of The Wilderness Society. “Selected projects are assured funding as long as appropriations are available until 2019, which provided certainty for businesses their banks and other investors, time for workers to be trained and become skilled, and for product markets to be developed and expanded.”
“Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration has shown that the critical importance of healthy and thriving forests can be a unifying force,” said Rebecca Turner of American Forests. “Our organization is proud to be collaborating with such a diverse collective of partners on a program that received bipartisan support from Congress to improve the health of our forests, as well as creating needed jobs.”
Dylan Kruse of Sustainable Northwest said, “Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration is about boots on the ground, creating jobs in rural communities. Now is the time to invest in rural communities and restore the health of our National Forests. CFLR does exactly that.”
CFLR is particularly valuable now, on the heels of the nation recording its third-largest wildfire year. A century of suppressing natural wildfires has resulted in unhealthy forests choked with small trees and brush that can lead to destructive megafires. Over the last 50 years the United States has had only 6 years with more than 8 million acres burned— all have occurred in the last 8 years (including 2012).
The conditions of our forests are further enflamed by pest and diseases, as well as climate change. All told, The Nature Conservancy estimates 120 million acres of America’s forests – an area bigger than the state of California – are in immediate need of restoration due to this “perfect storm” of threats.
The 23 sites to receive investment in 2012 were:
• Ozark Highlands Ecosystem Restoration, Arkansas, $959,000
• Shortleaf-Bluestem Community Project, Arkansas and Oklahoma, $342,000
• Four Forest Restoration Initiative, Arizona, $2 million
• Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group Cornerstone Project, California, $730,000
• Burney-Hat Creek Basins Project, California, $605,000
• Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project, California, $829,900
• Front Range Landscape Restoration Initiative, Colorado, $1 million
• Uncompahgre Plateau, Colorado, $446,000
• Accelerating Longleaf Pine Restoration, Florida, $1.17 million
• Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, Idaho, $324,000
• Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater, Idaho, $1 million
• Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Project, Idaho, $2.45 million
• Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration and Hazardous Fuels Reduction, Mississippi, $2.71 million
• Pine-Oak Woodlands Restoration Project, Missouri, $617,000
• Southwestern Crown of the Continent, Montana, $1.03 million
• Southwest Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, $392,000
• Zuni Mountain Project, New Mexico, $400,000
• Grandfather Restoration Project, North Carolina, $605,000
• Deschutes Collaborative Forest, Oregon, $500,000
• Lakeview Stewardship Project, Oregon, $3.5 million
• Southern Blues Restoration Coalition, Oregon, $2.5 million
• Northeast Washington Forest Vision 2020, Washington, $968,000
• Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, Washington, $1.63 million
The CFLR annual report was produced by the CFLR Coalition, which is comprised of 145 member organizations that include private businesses, communities, counties, tribes, water suppliers, associations, and non-governmental organizations.
Copies of the 2012 CFLRP Annual Report can be requested from Jon Schwedler of the CFLR Coalition at email@example.com.
Information on CFLRP can be found at the U.S. Forest Service’s website: http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/CFLR/
(One of my pictures from the Biscuit Fire)
From Greg Walden’s Facebook posting:
I just got off the phone with Kent Connaughton, the Forest Service’s Regional Forester for Oregon. In September, I brought Kent to Lakeview to meet with landowners who suffered horrible losses of timber and livestock during the Barry Point fire. These landowners are very concerned with how the Forest Service fought the fire and are trying to figure out how to cope with the losses they’ve suffered.Kent gave me a status update tonight, and here is what I learned:
1) The Forest Service is conducting an independent review of its own operations during the Barry Point fire. It is still in the works, but Kent believes it raises a number of unanswered questions, and he has asked for a more formal review by the states of Oregon and California. He will share a copy of the report once it is completed next month, and I look forward to getting to the bottom of these unanswered questions.
2) Kent has sent a special team into the Fremont-Winema National Forest to ensure there is no disruption in timber supply due to the fires. The Forest Service has also announced it will make 30 million board feet of timber available for each of the next two years, double the current production.
3) Kent also gave me an update on the Forest Service’s work with affected ranchers and landowners on recovery and repair to fences and property damaged during the fire. The Forest Service is putting $100,000 into the repair of fences destroyed during firefighting, and an additional $350,000 for materials to repair fences destroyed by the fire. Additionally, the Farm Services Administration is making $196,000 available to landowners for use in repairs.
It is good news that this fire recovery work continues, but we need to see it through to the finish. I will continue to work with citizens recovering from these wildfire disasters and make sure that all levels of government are helping with recovery as quickly as possible.
Here’s a guest post from Derek Weidensee, which started as a comment here in a previous thread, but the whole idea of what’s in the cut and sold report, and what it means, I think is worth its own post and discussion.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 USFS “cut and sold” report has just came out. The nine forests in Montana have sold the least amount of timber since 2007, and 40% less than 2009. When one looks back 10 years, one can see an inverse curve between “timber sold” in Montana and “money raised” by the Alliance of Wild Rockies. In 2007, when only 109 Million board foot was sold (MMBF), the AWR raised $255,000. The Wildwest Institute raised $136,000. There was much litigation then wasn’t there. In 2009, the AWR budget dropped to $83,000 (barely enough to cover Garrity’s salary) and the WWI to $33,000. In 2010, because of a “gift” from Carole King, the AWR budget bounced up to $380,000. Now here’s some research for you. Graph this one out. How many lawsuits were filed in the last few years, or more importantly, how many MMBF is currently litigated. How much of the 40% decline in volume is attributed to litigation? Why can’t the USFS tell us that? They know, and they could, but why wait for the Missoulian to get around to asking them. You can argue that it’s all about following the law, but who could be opposed to the public’s right to know. Let’s stop the dance here, we all know the litigation is all about soaking up person hours so less timber can be cut with the available budget, and with holding timber supplies in the hope some more mills will close. A tactic that has worked quite well in the past 30 years.
Here’s a few more fun “stat’s” from the cut and sold. Out of the 122 MMBF “sold” 25% was personal use firewood. Of the “commercial” timber, only 38%(47MMBF) of the 122 was “sawtimber” and 35%(43MMBF) “non-sawtimber,” in other words, trees less than 9″ DBH(there’s your hazard road timber sales). The mills can cut down to a 7″ DBH. In 2007, 70% was “sawtimber”. That means that in 2007 75 MMBF was sawtimber while in 2012 only 47MMBF was.
–Meanwhile,the Ouachita in Arkansas sold 90MMBF of which 65MMBF was sawtimber. One forest in the east sold more sawtimber than all nine in Montana.
–The three NF’s in Michigan sold 150 MMBF. Three million acres in Michagan sold more than 20 some million in Montana. Guess there ain’t much litigation in Michigan.
—The White Mountain NF in New Hampshire, barely 100 miles from Boston, sold as much timber as the Bitteroot in Montana.
—Colorado sold 105 MMBF, almost as much as Montana, when it has one mill just out of bankruptcy and another opening soon, while Montana has what, 7 mills of comparable size.
—The two one million acre forests in Minnesota sold 105 MMBF.
Keep in mind, that the above forests sell very little “personal use firewood”.
The whole Northern Region sold 206 MMBF. If the Obama administration wants to sell 350 MMBF as Tidwell talked of, they’ve got their work cut out for them.
Matthew, feel free to repost your comments on this on this thread.
Here’s the link to the Cut and Sold report.
A guest post from Felice Pace. You may have read his posts on the Range Blog of High Country News.
It does not appear that there has been discussion on this site about whether the main tool being used to implement forest restoration/fire risk reduction projects on public lands – the timber sale contract – is a good tool or even adequate for the task of forest restoration/fire risk reduction.
From my perspective (30 years of looking at timber sales), the timber sale contract is a good tool if the task is getting logs out of the woods and to the mill but a poor tool if the task is forest restoration (including fire risk reduction).
The problem is that when a timber sale is used to implement restoration – including when the timber sale is embedded within a stewardship contract – timber economics rules. Because public forests are remote and because production and transportation costs in the western US (where most US public lands are located) are high, economics dictates removing too many trees per acre and too many large (dominant) trees. This almost always frustrates the restoration objective.
For example, FS in the Klamath Mountains typically “thins” down to 40% or less canopy closure for restoration/fire risk reduction. But reducing moisture competition and opening the stands to sunlight to this extent results in accelerated sprouting of trees and brush. This in turn results in more fire danger – and a dense, highly flammable understory 8-30 years after the “treatment”.
If we really want to restore western forests we need a different, more appropriate tool. Restoration work should be funded up front and accomplished via straight up service contracts. Any commercial product which results can/should be sold separately from the log-sort yard.
Would it be possible during this new round of forest plans to try such an approach on at least one forest per region?
Felice Pace has lived in the Klamath River Basin since 1975. For 15 years, he worked for and led the Klamath Forest Alliance as Program Coordinator, Executive Director and Program Director. He remains part of the Alliance’s Core Group, and now consults with environmental and indigenous organizations on fund raising and program development. He currently resides at Klamath Glen, near the mouth of the Klamath River.
Note from Sharon: Many service contracts are out there.. some forests have mostly service contracts. I wonder if any forests have 0 timber sale contracts, I bet many districts, even in Colorado, do. I wonder if there is a table somewhere of mechanical treatment acres by service contract or timber sale contract by forest? Anyone?
Long but complete article from the Oregonian.
Here’s a link.
Below is an excerpt.
“Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be trying to keep a mill open in eastern Oregon, I would have said you’re crazy, but things change,” said Susan Jane Brown, Portland-based staff attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center.
The Malheur Lumber Co. sawmill, the last one still operating in Grant County, will remain open past its planned November shutdown after the Forest Service promised to speed up timber sales and take other steps to increase forest restoration projects.
The unlikely collaboration grew out of a growing sense that healing eastern Oregon’s overgrown forests can’t be done without sawmills, loggers and truck drivers to cut, remove and process logs.
Traditional foes who have fought bitterly in the past over forest management now widely agree that eastern Oregon’s unhealthy forests have become overstocked, bug-infested fuel factories for catastrophic wildfires. The status quo stems from harvest reductions designed to halt clearcutting and restore habitat and wildlife, including the northern spotted owl. Canopy closures now blot out sunlight across much of the region, reducing forage for deer, elk and ranchers’ cattle.
“We are pragmatists when it comes to restoration,” said Sean Stevens, executive director of the environmental group, Oregon Wild. Loss of the 29-year-old Malheur Lumber Co. mill would be “a sad turn of events,” he said.
Grant County has even offered the federal government what may be an unprecedented deal in hopes of keeping the mill open: a proposal to loan money budgeted for county roads to the cash-strapped Forest Service to finance more restoration, thus making logs available for the mill. The Forest Service doesn’t know if that’s feasible.
County landowners, at the same time, are offering to sell more private timber to the mill — trees previously withheld from timber sales because the economic winds have blown prices into a deep hole.
An ongoing shortage of timber from 1.7 million-acre Malheur National Forest continues to plague the mill. The local Forest Service budget has been too small to undertake forest restoration, cutting its supply.
There’s also an interesting sidebar about the changes in employment and volume harvested in Oregon.
You know, in this hyperpartisanised atmosphere it is refreshing when Rs and Ds can work together. They seem to be doing this in states with what I call “endangered sawmills” including Colorado and now, Oregon.
Press Release here
Wyden, Merkley announce Malheur Lumber to postpone closure
Washington, D.C. – U. S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced on Tuesday that Malheur Lumber has agreed to remain open past its planned November closure, thanks to a commitment by the US Forest Service (USFS) to make more timber volume available on the Malheur national forest.
In response to requests from Senators Wyden and Merkley, the Governor, county government, and local community groups, Regional Forester Kent Connaughton, who oversees Region 6, including the Malheur National Forest, said the USFS will accelerate timber sales and take other steps to speed up forest restoration work and provide a supply of timber for local mills, in letters to Senators Wyden and Merkley.
“Ochoco Lumber is a vital part of the John Day community and their mill represents the kind of infrastructure we can’t afford to lose if we hope to restore eastern Oregon’s overstocked forests,” Wyden said. “We have plenty of hard work ahead of us, but I promise to keep fighting with the rest of the Oregon delegation to get the Forest Service and the mill what they need.”
“I’m thankful to Regional Forester Connaughton for his swift reaction that indicates the Forest Service will take urgent action to provide more timber, and to John Shelk for keeping his mill doors open on this John Day institution. I am also grateful to the others in the state and community that have stepped up and demonstrated their support of this mill,” Wyden said.
“Closure of the mill would be devastating,” said Merkley. “The livelihood of so many families, the broader Grant County economy, and the vitality of our forests are all on the line. Thus, this reprieve is joyous and welcome news indeed. It must be recognized, however, that more work needs to be done. We need to fully secure a long-term, sustainable supply of sawlogs with the full commitment to the planning and field resources necessary to make that happen.”
“I continue to work on all options to create jobs in our forests and forested communities and provide more timber for mills across Oregon,” said Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “The crux of the problem is the need to reduce the regulatory gridlock that drives the cost of producing timber and jobs through the roof and largely prevents our land managers from doing work needed to improve forest health and create jobs in and value from our forests. Communities and businesses must have access to the natural resources that surround them to create jobs and reduce the risk and occurrence of wildfire.”
In light of the Forest Service letter (available here) as well as an outpouring of support for Malheur Lumber from the Oregon delegation, the Governor, county commissioners, the Blue Mountain Forest Partners collaborative and the John Day community, Shelk said Ochoco will put the mill closure on hold, at least for the next few months.
“This commitment is a good first step, and I’m thankful to Senator Wyden and the rest of the delegation for putting in the hard work that gives me the confidence to keep our mill running,” Shelk said. “Thanks to their efforts, and the outstanding community support over the past few weeks, we’ve authorized our foresters to buy enough public and private timber to keep the mill in operation past the planned November closure.”
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber: “Malheur Lumber is a key cog in the economy of eastern Oregon. I am gratified by the outpouring of support for Malheur Lumber and the Blue Mountain collaborative, and appreciate the work that the Forest Service and Senator Wyden are doing to keep this mill open. The state is working with Senator Wyden and the rest of the Oregon delegation to find solutions that will keep our vanishing mill infrastructure and jobs in place.”
It sounds like Ochoco Lumber employs about 80 folks, based on this news story. I couldn’t find the numbers on the company website, but it does seem to be locally owned (not multistate, nor multinational, it sounds barely multi-county)! They did have a link to the benefits here.