Wild and Working Forests

Wild and Working Forests

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Throughout the United States, wild forest ecosystems – those that exhibit little or no human disturbance – make a vital contribution to economic wellbeing by providing a host of goods and services that sustain both rural and urban communities. They produce clean drinking water and water for irrigation. They absorb carbon emissions, build soil, support wild pollinators that bolster agricultural productivity, control flooding, produce a variety of wood products, provide sites and scenery for recreation and tourism, and provide essential habitat for wildlife, fish, and plants valued as food, medicines, and genetic reservoirs. Ecosystem services from wild forests are irreplaceable.

Tragically, throughout the US, they are being lost as more and more wild forest is converted into industrial tree plantations that provide few of these ecosystem service benefits. An increasing share of what is cut is being shipped overseas as raw logs, pulp and biomass so US citizens are left with damaged forests and lost ecosystem services without any benefits from consumption of the wood products derived.

ww_2On federal, state, and local public lands, CSE believes the overriding management emphasis should be protecting and restoring wild forests for these ecosystem services since these lands make up only 20% of the forestland base in the country yet bear nearly the entire burden of supporting uses like outdoor recreation and water supply. On private lands, we believe that state forest practices statutes and rules should create the enabling conditions for sustainably managed forests that are put to work earning landowners multiple revenue streams from wood products and non-timber goods and services but in a manner that protects public trust resources including soil productivity, water, wildlife, fish and a stable climate. But decades of damage will need to be undone to make this possible and thus there is an urgent need for landscape-scale forest restoration programs.

The Pacific Northwest’s vast and diverse endowment of wild and working forests is a proving ground for reform of policies that affect both public and private lands. As such, most of CSE’s work is centered here for the time being. We have three major components to our WWF program:

  • Pacific Northwest Forest Carbon Watch – If managed well, Pacific Northwest forest have the capability of capturing and storing more carbon than any other forest type on the planet. But industrial forest practices are thwarting progress towards this goal. CSE monitors the harmful impacts of clearcutting and other practices on the climate agendas for Oregon, Washington and California and develops innovative solutions for phasing these practices out and ramping up climate smart alternatives.
  • Oregon Forest Practices Act Reform – CSE is working with partners to modernize Oregon’s Forest Practices Act (OFPA) in order to meet the challenges of climate change, extinction, and rural poverty. We promote solutions based on sound science and sustainable economics and ones that are replicable in other states where harmful industrial forest practices prevail.
  • Forest Ecosystem Restoration – CSE is working with public agencies, non-profit land stewards, and private landowners to demonstrate the ecological and economic benefits of forest restoration. In Hawaii, we have partnered with the FARM Center to demonstrate bio-regionally appropriate agro-forestry solutions for restoration of lands in the arid tropics

PROGRAM NEWS AND UPDATES

Oregon Department of Forestry Fails to Step Up to their Climate Responsibility

Oregon Department of Forestry Fails to Step Up to their Climate Responsibility

Conservation groups and community members are sounding the alarm in response to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s woefully inadequate plan to meaningfully address climate change as they are required to do under Governor Brown’s Executive Order EO 20-04. In March 2020, Oregon Governor Brown issued EO 20-04 to prevent the ... Read More
An Oregon Logging Impacts Profile for 2020

An Oregon Logging Impacts Profile for 2020

Nearly half of Oregon is forested. Forests filter our drinking water, provide habitat for unique and threatened species, countless opportunities for recreation, and play a critical role in sequestering carbon and storing it safely in the ground. Every year, Oregon’s forestlands are degraded by tens of thousands of acres of ... Read More
Clearcuts and climate change: Oregon drinking water supplies under siege

Clearcuts and climate change: Oregon drinking water supplies under siege

This week, Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) and ten other watershed advocates filed protests with nineteen public water system managers across western Oregon asking them to use their legal authority and discretion to halt over 26,000 acres of clearcuts planned in drinking water supplies this summer and fall. As documented ... Read More
To save our climate we need taller trees not taller wooden buildings

To save our climate we need taller trees not taller wooden buildings

To many of us working at the intersection of forest conservation and climate stability recent opinions and news coverage of proposals to fill our cities with tall wooden buildings presents not a stirring vision of sustainability but a nightmarish scenario of a land base increasingly scarred by clearcuts, logging roads ... Read More
Protection vs. process: CSE's take on Governor Kate Brown's Oregon logging deal

Protection vs. process: CSE’s take on Governor Kate Brown’s Oregon logging deal

On Monday, February 10th, 2020, Governor Kate Brown announced an agreement between environmental and timber industry organizations to stand down on further advocacy for six ballot measures (3 from both sides) currently in the signature gathering phase in exchange for commitments from parties to support short term legislation on aerial ... Read More
REPORT: The harmful climate impacts of industrial tree plantations in North Carolina

REPORT: The harmful climate impacts of industrial tree plantations in North Carolina

Asheville, NC – A new report from the Center for Sustainable Economy and Dogwood Alliance puts a spotlight on North Carolina, and shows just how big of a climate catastrophe logging is in the state. The report finds that industrial logging is the state’s third most carbon intensive sector, just ... Read More
Oregon public water providers asked to intervene to halt over 18,000 acres of clearcuts

Oregon public water providers asked to intervene to halt over 18,000 acres of clearcuts

Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE) and local watershed advocates have asked 28 public water system providers in rural Oregon to intervene to halt the planned clearcutting of over 18,000 acres in surface drinking water supplies this year. The requests for intervention cite legal requirements of the Public Trust Doctrine, the ... Read More
Destructive federal timber sale program loses nearly $2 billion a year

Destructive federal timber sale program loses nearly $2 billion a year

In a new report released today, the Center for Sustainable Economy has documented taxpayer losses of nearly $2 billion a year associated with the federal logging program carried out on national forest and Bureau of Land Management lands. Despite these losses, the Trump Administration plans to significantly increase logging on ... Read More
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How Two Climate-Smart Forestry Bills Fared in the 2019 Legislature

By Alex Renirie In this historic year –the first legislative session after the International Panel on Climate Change warned in a special report in late 2018 that we have less than 12 years to make “rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities,” with human-caused CO2 emissions ... Read More
Top Climate Scientist Joins Coalition in Calling for an End to Clearcuts and Timber Plantations

Top Climate Scientist Joins Coalition in Calling for an End to Clearcuts and Timber Plantations

One of the world’s leading climate scientists joined a coalition of 18 conservation, scientific, and community organizations calling on Oregon’s new Carbon Policy Office (CPO) and the Department of Forestry (ODF) to do an about-face on the state’s evolving forest carbon policy and to immediately implement measures to curb the ... Read More
OSU Research Confirms that Big Timber is Oregon's Leading Source of GHG Emissions

OSU Research Confirms that Big Timber is Oregon’s Leading Source of GHG Emissions

A new study by researchers based at Oregon State University and the University of Idaho corroborates Center for Sustainable Economy’s 2015 and 2017 research demonstrating that logging is by far the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon and that changes in greenhouse gas accounting rules are urgently ... Read More
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Report: Climate legislation must include Big Timber

Carbon sequestration dead zones are expanding. Clearcutting is Oregon’s single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Millions of acres of industrial tree plantations present huge public health risks because they are far more susceptible to fires, floods, unhealthy water temperatures and droughts than the natural forests they’ve replaced. But there ... Read More
Forest Carbon Tax and Reward: Creating more jobs and carbon in the woods.

Forest Carbon Tax and Reward: Creating more jobs and carbon in the woods.

Deforestation, forest degradation, and unsustainable forest practices are major drivers of climate change. Deforestation and other land-use changes have released approximately 150 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere since 1850, roughly one-fifth of the current atmospheric total. The contributions from forest degradation (i.e. converting real forests into tree plantations) and ... Read More
Take Action to Protect Forests as a Natural Solution to Climate Change

Take Action to Protect Forests as a Natural Solution to Climate Change

by Samantha Krop, Wild and Working Forest Campaign Manager Forest conservation groups are raising the alarm in response to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s woefully inadequate plan to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goals required in Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-04 on Carbon Policy. The Executive Order calls on all ... Read More
Oregon climate bill leaves out Big Timber - the state's largest polluter - and instead rewards it with two more subsidies

Oregon climate bill leaves out Big Timber – the state’s largest polluter – and instead rewards it with two more subsidies

Extractive industries have proven adept at generating record profits, then using those same profits to protect themselves from any responsibility for cleaning up the mess they leave behind. Oregon’s timber industry is a case in point: it is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, the ... Read More
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Economists: New BLM Logging Plan Would Generate More Economic Harm than Good

Center for Sustainable Economy has teamed up with Ernie Niemi of Natural Resources Inc. in Eugene to lodge a formal protest of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new long-term logging plan for western Oregon on the grounds that the plan would create more economic harm than good and sabotage ... Read More

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