I’m new to Oregon, having moved here two years ago. I was driving on Hwy 126 recently and noticed a large patch of forest had been clearcut. It was a lovely place and now looks like no man’s land from World War I. I drive by that open bleeding sore every day. It prompted me to look into the forest situation in Oregon, and what I found was not good; in fact it’s catastrophic.
In the 2020 fire season, Oregon lost more than 1 million acres. In the 2021 fire season we lost more than 80,000 acres. In 2019 we lost another 1 million acres. In 2018, 897,263 acres burned. So a rough total brings the figure to 4,726,206.
Since 2000, 522,000 acres of forest cover has been lost to logging in western Oregon. Adding to that, another 150,000 acres of forests has been lost to the logging road network. That brings the total to 5,398,206, and that’s not including fires from 2000 thru 2017.
The rate of clearcutting on state and private lands has far exceeded forest cover gain from replanting. Forest loss exceeds forest gain by 45 percent. It seems big timber companies in Oregon are going on a clear-cut rampage to feed the exports of raw logs to foreign buyers.
The Department of Forestry’s own analysis shows that current clear-cutting practices boost water temperatures by an average of 2.6 degrees F. This has a devastating impact on salmon runs which count on the clear, cool water of shaded streams in the forest to survive. The Center for Sustainable Economy analysis shows that over 40 percent of some key watersheds for salmon have been clear-cut over the past 15 years.
Clearcutting has to stop.
Saint John Hunt