The right forest policy will build healthy forests and communities

Rep. Dennis Richardson

Rep. Dennis Richardson

Summer is here and we are reminded of the catastrophic devastation caused by destructive forest fires and the blights of diseased forests and rotting biomass which has led to Oregon’s crisis in forest health.  In addition, we are reminded that our ineffectual forest policy has caused the economic pain, unemployment and financial desperation our rural forest communities are experiencing.

Fifty-three percent of Oregon is under federal ownership. That means 53 percent of our state’s landmass is controlled by Washington, D.C., bureaucrats. Therein lies the genesis of our problem.

For the past 20 years we have watched Oregon’s federal forestlands be “reserved” by locking out Oregon’s forest products industry. The result of the failure to actively manage our forests using environmentally sound practices has been (1.) the build-up of highly flammable forest refuse resulting in reoccurring, catastrophic forest fires, and (2.) the economic devastation in O&C counties and rural communities whose forest-related jobs sustained their local economies for generations.

We can learn from our experience, change our viewpoint and promote a rational forest policy that will result in healthy forests and healthy rural forest-community economies.  By promoting a plan where local workers harvest highly-flammable biomass and small trees that compete with and starve larger trees of water and sunlight, we can restore the health of both our forests and our rural forest-county economies.

In sum, with innovative policies and local Oregonians doing the work, we can help restore healthy forests and healthy economies for our rural communities.

Watch my latest YouTube “Minute Update” video on this topic:

Read my extended newsletter on this topic.

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