Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown’s office announced on Saturday (10-30-21) that, after a year of negotiations and the deadline at hand for the timber industry and environmental groups to either reach a consensus, abandon the process, or move the deadline forward, an agreement has been reached to overhaul the management of 10 million acres of private forestland in Oregon.
The new plan will boost protection for vulnerable fish and wildlife while at the same time shielding the timber industry’s ability to log. In 2020, the sides each planned a series of competing ballot measures that could have turned into a costly political fight. Environmental groups sought strict limits on spraying of aerial pesticides and improved protection for forest waters. Meanwhile, the timber industry sought compensation for private landowners when state regulations limited their ability to log. Brown instead pushed for the two sides to negotiate.
In a statement, Gov. Brown said, “Today’s historic agreement is a perfect example of the Oregon Way — coming together at the table to find common ground, to the mutual benefit of us all.”
Jim James with the Oregon Small Woodlands Association also praised the compromise saying, “We were able to put down the contentious situations that we’ve had in the past and we had a continuous agreement to move forward.”
Speaking on behalf of the timber coalition, Adrian Miller, with the Florida-based forest products company Rayonier, said Saturday’s agreement gives timber operators a sense of security going forward. “I think we’re all really proud to be part of a new era of forestry in Oregon.”
The next step will be to introduce a bill in the Oregon legislature to make significant changes to the Forest Practices Act to protect riverbanks and stream sides, improve forest roads, and allow for adaptive management of private forests.
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Agreement overhauls private forest management in Oregon