Forest Ecosystem Health
Unhealthy Federal Forests Are a Huge Problem
Maintaining a healthy forest is essential to the economic vitality and environmental
quality of life to which Oregonians have become accustomed. Forest health is a condition
of forest ecosystems that sustains their complexity while providing for human needs.
A huge forest health and wildfire risk exists on federal forests across Oregon.
Over the past ten years, 7 million acres of forest have been impacted by pest infestations
- this amounts to 25% of the state's forest base and 60% of northeast Oregon's national
- Millions of acres of trees are excessively crowded on national forests - making
them susceptible to insect and disease mortality and destructive wildfires.
- Each year, the timber killed by insects and fires in the state - about 1.5 billion
board feet - is three times greater than the amount of federal timber sales offered
- Wildfires in these dead and dying trees can be uncontrollable, threatening human
life and property. Also at risk are valuable forest resources such as fish, wildlife,
timber, clean water and productive soils.
- Careful management can significantly improve Oregon's unhealthy forests. Scientific
forestry, involving timber harvest would return overcrowded and dying forests to
a healthy condition.
- Contradictory federal laws and policies - and contentious environmentalist views
toward forestry - have prevented US Forest Service and BLM professionals from conducting
necessary thinning, salvage, regeneration, and prescribed burning.
- Without action, these forests will continue to die and burn. Unhealthy forests are
not sustainable. Conflicting federal land management laws prevent the aggressive
action by professional loggers and foresters to remedy the problem.