The Bureau of Land Management's proposed Resource Management Plan would limit the ability of foresters to ensure the health, resiliency and accessibility across much of the 2.5 million acres of Western Oregon O&C forests, according to a letter sent by the Oregon Society of American Foresters (OSAF) to BLM Director Neil Kornze. The society represents over 800 forestry professionals in the state.
OSAF expressed concerns with the agency's plan to set aside as much as 80 percent of the O&C lands in reserves, where limited forest management activities such as timber harvests and thinning would occur. The foresters say the plan's arbitrary and restrictive approach fails to recognize the diversity of the landscape and doesn’t consider the risks of wildfire, insects and disease to public and private forests within the O&C checkerboard:
"We believe that the creation of such large and fixed reserves with greatly restricted management options fails to consider natural perturbations such as fire, wind, and forest pests/pathogen outbreaks; fails to effectively use the array of silvicultural tools available to expedite attainment of old and resilient forest conditions; and also fails to account for the effects of, and effects upon adjacent private lands.”
OSAF urged the BLM to seek a better balance and give its foresters the flexibility to utilize proven silvicultural methods and new scientific information to ensure the O&C lands provide all the benefits the public expects, whether it's sustainable timber production, recreation or wildlife habitat:
"Forestry professionals have a great stake in the outcome of this planning process because, to a large degree, it will be forestry professionals that are responsible for successfully implementing the plan to effectively achieve its desired outcomes and benefits. We appreciate the complexities of land use planning at this scale and the need to make trade-offs to meet overall objectives. We firmly believe that your decisions must be based on sound science and should give your professionals the flexibility to implement adaptive prescriptions according to conditions on the ground."
Download the letter by clicking here.