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Indicators for Strategy C: The Productive Capacity of Oregon's Forests
Background
Sustainable Forest Management Circle Diagram
These indicators relate to two major concerns – forestland remaining continuing to provide the benefits of working forests and projected, actual, and potential timber harvest levels from Oregon’s forestlands, and the potential impacts of the loss of these benefits to all Oregonians.
 
Forestlands provide a range of goods, values, and services, including clean water, biological diversity, and carbon sequestration.  The economic, environmental, and social benefits that Oregonians want from their forests are directly affected by forestland being converted to other uses.  Nationally, between 1982 and 1997, the amount of land deforested was equal in size to all of the forests in the state of Washington. More than 50 million acres of forestlands are projected to be converted to developed uses over the next 50 years – and the population in the Pacific Northwest (and subsequently, development) is expected to grow faster than the national average.
 
Forestland converted to development also complicates wildland firefighting in the wildland-urban fire interface areas.  Large fires that threaten dwellings are 48 percent more expensive to fight, and the likelihood of human-caused fires exponentially increases with the addition of each new home. 
 
For fish and wildlife, loss of forestland habitat to developed uses is generally permanent, with additional fragmentation that threatens species’ migrations and movement, spreads exotic pests and invasive species, and conflicts with the myriad of infrastructure that accompanies developed land.
 
The loss of forestlands also means lost future opportunities such as carbon storage and possible renewable energy sources - biomass, electrical generation, or bio-fuels - that would enable Oregon to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
 
Understanding historical, current, and future trends in changes in forestland ownership and use, statutory and policy change that could impact forestlands (such as the recent passage of Ballot Measure 37), and future projections of growth – including where that growth will occur – are all critical in understanding the Oregon’s forest landscape – and the losses and gains to all Oregonians that could result from reductions in our working forests.
 
Maintaining timber harvest levels, while also meeting other environmental, economic, and social needs, is critically important to Oregon – and Oregonians.  Comparing trends in projected and actual timber harvest levels for both public and private lands, as well as information on the potential of Oregon’s forests to grow timber, is valuable because of the economic importance of maintaining a viable primary forest processing industry in our state and local communities.

Indicators for Strategy C
A layered forest stand in northwest Oregon
A forest stand in a northwest Oregon working forest
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The following indicators have been approved to measure the progress towards achieving Strategy C of the Forestry Program for Oregon – “The productive capacity of Oregon's forests”, along with the targets* for each indicator.
 
*Note: Targets are specific socially-preferred outcomes or results for the indicators.  At this time, targets have been established only for Indicators C.a., C.b., and D.a.

Learn More . . .
For more information on Oregon's Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management, contact:
 
Brandon R. Kaetzel, PhD
Principal Forest Economist
Forest Resources Planning Program
Oregon Department of Forestry
2600 State Street
Salem, OR  97310
PH: 503-945-7413
FAX: 503-945-7490
E-MAIL: bkaetzel@odf.state.or.us
www.oregon.gov/ODF