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The 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon
A conversation about the future of Oregon's forests  

Oregon is a "well-loved place"-in large part because of its forests. Oregonians have always loved our forests and we continue to love them, for many reasons. With nearly 45 percent of Oregon's land base covered by forests, working forests-those on which we have depended to provide our economic well-being-historically have defined Oregon's environmental, economic, and cultural landscape (Figure 1).
However, as the state becomes more populated and its economic and cultural base changes, many people's connection to a working forest landscape grows weaker. Oregon's citizens have always expected their well-loved forests to provide values such as clean water and scenic beauty along with economic values. All these values are as important today as ever. But, in particular, the economic contributions of Oregon's forests are vital to our continued ability to live well in a well-loved place.
The challenge facing the Oregon Board of Forestry is not only to help all Oregonians see and appreciate what our forests have been, but also to involve them in developing and implementing a vision of what these forests can be. The future will depend on the choices we make today.
Recent polling tells us Oregonians want forests to provide clean water and air, fish and wildlife habitat, wood products, jobs, revenues, and recreation. They want all the benefits and values forests contribute to our quality of life. They want forest management that produces these benefits in an integrated way, now and for the future.
Until now we have lacked a common language in which to discover, discuss, and come to a common understanding about forest sustainability and the actions required to achieve it. With the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon, we hope to increase this common understanding by defining "sustainable forest management," in the context of Oregon's unique circumstances, through a public process designed to address the needs, challenges, and opportunities facing Oregon's forests.
The Forestry Program for Oregon represents our vision and guidance to the state forester, Legislature, governor, and the citizens of Oregon on important matters of forest policy. It guides our priorities and those of the Oregon Department of Forestry as we work with the public, the Oregon Legislature, the forest landowner community, non-governmental organizations, and other agencies to develop and carry out sound forest policy. We ask all Oregonians to help us with this task.
What's in this edition of the Forestry Program for Oregon?
In our "welcome" statement (p. 1), we introduced you to the main concepts of this edition of the Forestry Program for Oregon. In this section, we
  • Explain the Oregon Board of Forestry's role in overseeing state forest policy;
  • Tell how the Forestry Program for Oregon has evolved in response to changing knowledge and values about forests;
  • Give more detail about the board's adaptation of internationally recognized criteria as the framework for discussing and measuring forest sustainability in Oregon; and
  • Tell how the Forestry Program for Oregon will guide strategic planning for the board and for the Department of Forestry.
The next section, The Key Elements of the Forestry Program for Oregon (p. 11), is the meat of the document. We set forth the Board of Forestry's mission, vision, and values. Then we list the seven strategies, adapted from the international criteria, for achieving long-term sustainability of Oregon's forests. Under each strategy are listed the actions that will be needed to achieve the board's desired vision for the future of forests in Oregon. Some of these actions are deemed urgent enough to be called key actions; these are highlighted in the list.
Next, we provide detailed background information on each of the strategies (beginning on p. 19). Following the conclusion (p. 67) is a list of selected references for further study (p. 69). The appendix (p. 73) compares the seven strategies with the seven international criteria and explains how the Board of Forestry adapted the international framework to meet Oregon's particular needs. Finally, we provide a glossary of terms (p. 75).

What is the Oregon Board of Forestry?
The Board of Forestry is a seven-member citizen board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. It is empowered by the Oregon Legislature to oversee all forest policy within the jurisdiction of the State of Oregon. The board appoints the state forester, adopts rules regulating forest practices and other forestry programs, and provides general supervision of the state forester's management of the Department of Forestry. The board's leadership helps shape public debate and policy on state, private, and federal ownerships, addressing sustainable management of Oregon's 28 million acres of forests. Issues such as environmental incentives and regulations, management of state-owned forests, federal forest management, assistance to private forest landowners, and wildland fire prevention and suppression are common topics discussed and acted upon at the board's meetings.

The Board of Forestry is charged by law to represent the public interest. No more than three members of the board may receive any significant portion of their income from the forest products industry. At least one member must reside in each of the three major forest regions of the state. The term of office is four years, and no member of the board can serve more than two consecutive full terms.

The evolving Forestry Program for Oregon
Since the first version was published in 1977, the Forestry Program for Oregon has played an important role in shaping the Board of Forestry's strategic vision. Through each edition, the Board has tried to establish and further refine a pathway to ensure that the values we enjoy from our forests are sustained over time.

Forestry in Oregon has evolved significantly over time as each generation decides what set of values it wishes to emphasize and what pathway it will follow. Over the past 150 years, this emphasis has changed from unmanaged forest exploitation, to forest conservation, to managed forests as a source of wood for the post-World War II housing boom, to wilderness and environmental protection, to today's interest in sustainable forestry.

In the same way, the Forestry Program for Oregon has changed over time to incorporate new scientific information and to reflect changing public concerns. Still, the Forestry Program for Oregon has always been centered on the theme of sustainability. Early interest in a sustainable timber supply (1977 and 1982 editions) was followed by an interest in sustaining multiple values (1990), which evolved into an interest in identifying the cumulative effects of forest practices over time and across forest landscapes (1995).
Introducing a new framework
The 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon introduces a framework for organizing the board's strategies and actions by means of an internationally recognized language of categories and measurements. This framework also lends itself to organizing research information about forests and to supporting a dialogue about how they may be managed sustainably. Using this framework, the Board will be better able to communicate how Oregon's forests can be managed sustainably to meet short- and long-term objectives for the environment, economy, communities, and the larger society through a diversity of owners who manage for a variety of objectives and values (Figure 2).
Developing the Forestry Program for Oregon
The Board of Forestry adopted the criteria-and-indicators framework to better respond to legislative direction to assess and report on the cumulative effects of forest practices. In 2000, Oregon became the first state in the nation to publish a "first approximation report" to measure the status and trends of the state's forests against internationally recognized measures of conservation and sustainable forest management.
Oregon's First Approximation Report for Forest Sustainability provides a snapshot of Oregon's forests in light of these seven topics, and it provides a starting point for a conversation with Oregon's citizens about future forest sustainability. The report found much good news about Oregon's forests, including that they are among the best-managed in the world, that Oregon's strict reforestation requirements are effective, and that there is a growing commitment to restoration of watersheds. The report also identified challenges posed by global market forces, risks of harm to forests from wildfire and invasive species, business problems facing family forest landowners, and suburban-type development on forestlands.
The 2003 Oregon Forests Report continued the discussion that started with the First Approximation Report and identified "breakthrough" opportunities to continue or improve work toward sustainability of Oregon's forests. Following through on these opportunities could help accomplish genuine economic recovery for many Oregon communities, a stable return on Oregon's natural assets, and significant improvement in the health of Oregon's forests. Many of these opportunities have been incorporated into the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon in the form of actions to be undertaken over the next eight years.
The 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon also has been influenced by other scientific and policy developments since 1995. These include new incentive concepts; the latest scientific findings on forest practices; policies and plans for state-managed forests under the Greatest Permanent Value Rule2; the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds; the Northwest Forest Plan for federal lands; administration of the federal Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act; growing concerns about wildfires and forest health; forest certification; and discussions about sustainability.
In March 2001, the Board of Forestry chose "the conservation and sustainable management of Oregon's forests" as the central theme, and chose the seven criteria for sustainability as the basis for strategies for the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon.3 In October 2001, the board hosted a two-day symposium and workshop at Oregon State University to hear presentations on Oregon forest resource and economic and social trends and conditions, and to discuss potential policy changes with key opinion leaders. The public involvement process that began with the October 2001 meeting continued throughout 2002 and early 2003 through discussions at regular Board of Forestry business meetings, other public meetings and forums hosted by the board, an interactive website, newsletters, television and print media, presentations by Department of Forestry staff, interactions with key stakeholders, and other methods. This process has resulted in a document that reflects the opinions of a wide range of scientific, public interest, and forest landowner groups and addresses current environmental, economic, and social needs, opportunities, and concerns.
The conversation continues

The Board of Forestry has adopted the 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon based on its broad statutory authority. The Forestry Program for Oregon provides a coherent foundation for future board policy deliberation. It is neither a statute nor an administrative rule and, therefore, does not have, and is not intended to have, the effect of either a statute or an administrative rule on the board, the department, or forest landowners.
This Forestry Program for Oregon is not an end-product. It is the foundation for discussion and planning over the next several years. We would like this edition to be more widely read, understood, and used than past editions. We want it to show a clear connection between the board's strategies and actions, Department of Forestry programs, and the policies of other natural resource agencies with responsibilities that affect forestlands. Future board and department planning efforts will help complete these linkages.