Background on Strategy A
|Promote a sound legal system, effective and adequately funded government, leading-edge research, and sound economic policies
Do we have the basic institutional framework we need?
Achieving a win-win solution
The institutional framework in place outside the forest greatly affects what happens within it. The soundness and effectiveness of our laws, government processes, research institutions, and economic policies will determine our success or failure to define and achieve sustainability. If we fail to provide an adequate and appropriate institutional framework for the management of our forests, we will significantly reduce our ability to achieve any of the strategies proposed in this Forestry Program for Oregon.
Many of the existing forestry laws and institutions were created to address past management practices, provide for economic development, or address catastrophic events such as wildfire. These laws and institutions have evolved significantly over time. While Oregon has well-developed legal, institutional, and economic systems, some elements of our current framework with regard to forest policy and practice are inadequate. These shortcomings make it difficult to address larger landscape-scale forestry issues or issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries. Our laws, policies, and economic traditions have not always kept pace with scientific advancements, and many progressive efforts are under-funded. Because it has evolved to meet changing objectives over time, our institutional forestry framework contains internal contradictions. Perhaps most important, this framework is based largely on an ideal of maintaining static conditions in a dynamic environment.
One of the greatest challenges facing the board in defining sustainable forest management for Oregon is the conflict over active management of forests, both public and private. This conflict began in the 1970s, with environmentalists expressing legitimate concerns over forest management practices and the future of sensitive species, and the forest industry, which had served as the foundation of the state's economy, equally concerned about increasing government regulation and a shrinking supply of logs for its mills. This conflict has become a polarized debate, with most Oregonians, as well as more moderate elements from the environmental and forest industry organizations, caught in the middle.
Oregonians view this conflict as a major problem. Polling results show the public is frustrated with the stubborn posturing and endless bickering on both sides and wants better-integrated, politically sustainable solutions. Such solutions are being explored. Private companies are looking at market-based management systems like forest certification to document that their forests are well managed, or to regain credibility with the public, or both. Many private and nongovernmental interests are willing to work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop policy. However, other parties use litigation or civil disobedience to stop or delay activities that are planned and permitted.
This conflict raises a fundamental question: Is it possible to develop "win/win" solutions in the forest policy arena? We believe the Board of Forestry is positioning itself correctly to bring interested parties to the table to strengthen what is developing as a powerful new "center." We would point to successes such as watershed councils, the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, and other grassroots efforts in which participants favor and/and solutions (meeting environmental and economic and social goals) over either/or solutions.
The evolving "contract with rural America"8
Because rural economies in Oregon have been affected more than urban and suburban economies by changes in forest policies, the board has taken a special interest in the changing "contract with rural America." The rural policies of the United States date back to the colonization of undeveloped lands following the Declaration of Independence. More recently, rural policies have included the Homestead Act of 1862, the creation of land-grant universities and the Extension Service, intercontinental and interstate transportation systems (first with railroads, later with highways), the development of mineral, grazing, and timber resources on federal lands, and rural electrification in the mid-1900s. The development of dams and irrigation systems was also an important part of evolving rural policies.
Many of these policies had agricultural development as their goal-providing the country with abundant food. That policy evolved in the later part of the 1900s to supplying surplus food to a hungry world. Through the early 1960s, these policies stood as a well-defined and established "contract," with the federal government and urban residents being one party and rural America the other. This contract promoted agricultural and natural resource development and created longstanding expectations and investments.
With the beginning of the environmental movement in the 1960s, many of the goals and practices of the development of rural America were questioned. Traditional western rural policies, such as laws relating to water use and management of federal lands, were challenged politically and legally, and in some cases changed. The urbanization of the West created another set of challenges to traditional rural policies. Urban populations and new rural residents often embraced the environmental and social values of rural lands, but viewed traditional economic uses as harmful to their values and interests.
Ironically, those who object to economic uses of rural lands often have consumption habits that belie their convictions, such as owning large homes and driving big cars. This apparent mental disconnect between production and consumption of natural resources is evidence that the social contract between urban and rural America no longer exists.
As a result of these combined pressures, the management of federal forestlands has radically changed. Timber harvested on federal lands in Oregon came to 5.5 billion board feet in 1972 and 4.3 billion in 1989. Restrictions due to concerns over the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and other old-growth-dependent species on federal lands led to the Northwest Forest Plan in 1993. As a result, in 1994 the federal harvest in Oregon dropped to 687 million board feet. The decreased federal harvest in Oregon stayed relatively stable until 1998. Then, because of lawsuits against the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for failing to adequately survey rare and uncommon species before harvesting, the volume offered under the Northwest Forest Plan was reduced to 173 million board feet in 2001.
As the contract with rural America has eroded, the traditional practices of both agriculture and forestry have increasingly come under public disapproval. Tools and strategies that rural landowners and managers once took for granted have been prohibited or severely regulated, or have become economically out of reach. Rural Oregon is at risk of losing its middle class and becoming home only to the very rich and the very poor. The social fabric of many of the state's rural communities is not sustainable under such conditions.
To solve these ongoing federal land management conflicts and the challenges facing private forest landowners, we must develop a new rural policy and gain public agreement on its key benefits to society. These benefits might include promoting the survival of the rural middle class, reducing rural poverty, and sustaining and improving the quality of the natural environment.
What is the current legal and institutional framework for forest policy?
The United States Constitution and Oregon State Constitution and the statutes developed under them provide our legal and institutional foundation for forest management and regulation of forest practices. They establish the distribution of powers and authorities among federal, state, and local governments, each of which is involved in establishing forest policies. This section describes and gives examples of how federal, state, and local laws and institutions affect forest policy.
The state and federal constitutions permit governmental regulation for a wide range of public purposes. There are, of course, limits on the exercise of governmental power. One of the most important limits on land management regulation is the requirement that private property not be taken for public use without just compensation. There is considerable debate in academic circles and the courts over the meaning of this limitation and the circumstances in which regulation rises to the level of compensable "taking." This debate has very real significance in the forest practices regulatory arena.
Congress affects forest policy through federal laws that set standards of performance and prescribe mechanisms of enforcement. Congress has broad authority to adopt regulatory programs. Key federal laws related to forest policy processes are the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Clean Water Act. Key federal laws related to federal land management policy are the National Forest Management Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
In most cases, Congress delegates to the federal agencies the authority to adopt rules to implement regulatory and land management policies and programs. The federal rulemaking process affecting Oregon forests takes place in Washington, D.C., where federal administrative law provides the context within which these rules are adopted.
In some cases, federal regulatory programs are delegated to the states; implementation of the federal Clean Water and Clean Air Acts are two examples. In addition, Congress affects forest policy through its spending power and allocation of funds to support federal and state programs. Examples include fire suppression, forest restoration, reforestation, and road maintenance budgets on federal lands and funding for stewardship incentives and for technical assistance programs for family forest landowners.
The executive branch
The executive branch has significant discretion under the various policies to direct federal agencies to adopt policies or take actions that best reflect the executive branch's viewpoint. The federal Northwest Forest Plan was developed by the Clinton Administration after the USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management were both successfully challenged in court for failing to comply with their governing federal statutes. Congress has also given the executive branch the power to protect certain lands through special designations such as National Monuments.
The judicial branch
The judicial branch provides significant oversight of federal policies and laws, because most of the major forest and environmental policies grant considerable opportunity for judicial review of proposed federal agency actions. Oversight can also be initiated by third-party lawsuits.
The federal government maintains a trust relationship with tribal governments. This trust relationship affects the management of federal and tribal forestlands and of fisheries.
The USDA Forest Service maintains a system of eight research stations that conduct basic forestry and forest products research. The Pacific Northwest Research Station headquartered in Portland, is one. The goal of this research is to expand our knowledge about biological, physical, ecological, social, and economic aspects of forests and forest management and make that information readily available to resource specialists, managers, scientists, and the public. This information is crucial to ongoing monitoring and assessment work and may provide the foundation for future legislative and policy development at both state and national levels.
A number of nonregulatory federal incentive programs are in place to encourage sound forest management. These have traditionally taken the form of federal cost-share funding of management practices. These programs are typically administered by state agencies, including the Department of Forestry.
The first forest-related laws in Oregon were regulations adopted in 1911 to protect Oregon's forests from uncontrolled wildfire. Since that time, Oregon has adopted forest protection laws, including the 1941 Conservation Act, an early reforestation law (see Strategy F).
The Forest Practices Act
Oregon was the first state to enact a comprehensive forest practices law. The Oregon Forest Practices Act, adopted in 1971, regulates harvest practices and other forest operations to protect forest resources including timber, water, soil, and fish and wildlife habitat. A key purpose for which the law was enacted was to ensure that forest operations are conducted to meet state water quality standards adopted under the federal Clean Water Act and implemented by the Department of Environmental Quality. The Forest Practices Act promotes compliance through prevention and education, but it is also enforceable through both criminal and civil processes. Under either approach, operators are required to repair damage to the extent practicable. Surveys for forest practices show high levels of compliance with the law.
The Oregon Board of Forestry, under ORS Chapter 527, has authority to make regulations to implement the Forest Practices Act. ORS 527.714 requires the board to satisfy specific requirements and findings before adopting new forest practice regulations under its broad rulemaking authority.
The Oregon Endangered Species Act
The Oregon Endangered Species Act applies to actions of agencies responsible for managing state-owned or -leased lands. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for wildlife protection and the Oregon Department of Agriculture is responsible for protecting plants. Once a plant or wildlife species is listed, these agencies are required to develop and implement plans to ensure that listed species are not harmed by any state agency actions.
Other state laws and regulations directed at protecting environmental quality may also apply to forestlands and forest operations. These are listed on page 23 along with the Forest Practices Act and the Oregon Endangered Species Act.
Land-use planning rules
Oregon's statewide land-use planning program was created in 1973 with the enactment of the Oregon Land Use Act. The program's mission is to conserve farmland, forestland, coastal resources, and other important natural resources; encourage efficient development; coordinate the planning activities of local governments and state and federal agencies; enhance the state's economy; and reduce the public costs that result from poorly planned development.
State responsibilities under the program are to set statewide planning goals, develop guidelines for meeting goals, review city and county comprehensive plans, and review appeals of land-use decisions under the Land Use Board of Appeals. The program requires all cities and counties to adopt comprehensive plans to meet state standards. The standards consist of nineteen statewide planning goals that deal with land use, development, housing, transportation, and conservation of natural resources. State agencies are also required to adopt and implement their programs in a manner compatible with local government plans.
The land-use program has generally worked well to protect forestland from outright conversion to other land uses, but it may be less successful in managing development that conflicts with forest uses. In the wildland-urban interface, for example, poorly sited dwellings may be vulnerable to landslides and wildfire and make suppression of forest fires more difficult and expensive (see Strategies C and F).
Sustainability in government
As state government's first step toward meeting the goal of sustainability, state agencies have been directed by statute, ORS 184.421, to focus on improving the sustainability of their internal operations. "Sustainability" is defined as "using, developing and protecting resources in a manner that enables people to meet current needs and provides that future generations can also meet future needs, from the joint perspective of environmental, economic and community [social] objectives." Local governments have adopted similar sustainability efforts and have led with innovative practices to collect and recycle materials such as glass and plastics. Several Oregon cities have adopted purchasing policies favoring sustainably produced commodities.
Boards and commissions
Oregon's legislature has delegated significant policy-making authority to various boards and commissions. Policies, programs, and laws at both the state and federal levels are subject to swings in political power that can create problems for a long-term activity like forest management. The board-and-commission system provides some policy stability by mitigating these political shifts.
The Board of Forestry has been delegated both broad policy authority and specific regulatory authority, as well as some quasi-judicial powers. Oregon requires an open and transparent rulemaking process that is simpler than federal processes and that requires significant public involvement. The Oregon Board of Forestry, like all boards and commissions, follows the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act9 and often uses public advisory committees in developing rules and other policies.
State law requires that the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Administrative Services collaborate to help state agencies resolve disputes without resorting to litigation. The Department of Forestry has utilized alternative approaches in resolving forest practice violations and contract disputes.
State government maintains forest research and extension programs through its land-grant university, Oregon State University. Forest research has generated key information for policy-making as well as for land management. Extension provides a means of transferring knowledge to forest landowners and others concerned with the field application of research. Research and extension at the state level are coordinated with the companion federal effort.
Besides leading in research, Oregon State University, along with other Northwest universities, has the capacity to educate enough natural resource specialists such as biologists, geologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, forest managers, and engineers to meet the growing demands of managing our forests.
Oregon Forest Resources Institute
The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) was created by the Oregon Legislature in 1991 to improve public understanding of the state's forest resources. OFRI's mission is to provide information on Oregon's forest practices and encourage sound forest management. The Institute is funded by a tax on forest product producers.
Oregon owns and manages a limited amount of forestland (three percent of Oregon's total). Most of this land is owned and managed by the Board of Forestry under a "greatest permanent value" policy10 that requires the board to manage for a variety of values "over time and across the landscape." Board of Forestry forestlands provide revenue for schools and other taxing districts in the counties where the forests are located. The remaining lands are Common School lands managed by the Department for the State Land Board. Common School forestlands provide revenue for schools, pursuant to the federal Oregon Admission Act of 1859.
Nine federally recognized Indian tribal governments are located in Oregon. Oregon has formalized its relationship with tribal governments in law to provide a process to resolve potential conflicts, maximize intergovernmental relations, and enhance the exchange of ideas and resources. State agencies are required to consult with tribal governments in developing state policies that may affect tribes.
Oregon, like many states, uses strategic planning to develop and implement its programs. Oregon is unique, however, in the establishment of "benchmarks" (indicators of environmental, economic, and social health) to track progress. The Oregon Progress Board is an independent state planning and oversight agency charged with developing and tracking the Oregon Benchmarks. This Forestry Program for Oregon is one example of strategic planning undertaken by a state board to document its mission, strategies, vision, values, and actions to address issues and opportunities.
Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds
In response to the federal Endangered Species Act listing of salmonids across most of Oregon, the state in 1997 developed the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds to recover salmon and other native fish and to improve water quality. The Oregon Plan has a regulatory foundation, but it relies heavily on cooperation and voluntary activities for its success (see Strategy D).
One of the Oregon Plan's strengths is its encouragement of a local, grassroots approach through state support of watershed councils and other local institutions. Watershed councils are charged with assessing watersheds and developing local, collaborative, watershed-based restoration plans. The Oregon Plan legislation also created the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (from the former Governor's Watershed Enhancement Board) and charged it with supporting watershed councils and restoration projects. In 1999, Oregonians passed a ballot initiative guaranteeing a portion of lottery receipts to fund Oregon Plan efforts.
Local governments (counties and cities) operate in a manner similar to Oregon state government. However, with regard to forest policy, Oregon has established clear limits on the ability of local governments to regulate forest practices. Local government may regulate forest practices only within Urban Growth Boundaries. Some counties own and manage forestland of their own, but management of these forests is regulated under the Forest Practices Act.
Local governments play an important role in implementing the state's land use planning program. Local governments also manage urban and community forests, the mosaic forest of the planted landscape and the remnants of native forest left behind as our cities developed. These are forests where people are not just visitors, but rather where most Oregonians live. Urban and community forests make very important contributions to the environmental, economic, and social health of the state. Among other benefits, forests in and near cities absorb carbon dioxide and air pollution while releasing oxygen. They help conserve energy and maintain water quality. These forests also increase property values and generally enhance the quality of community life.
An important trend is the growing number of regional institutions or regional planning frameworks. The Bonneville Power Administration and its outgrowth, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, were established to address regional power issues. These authorities indirectly affect forestlands through projects to restore wildlife habitat. Federal agencies recently partnered with Pacific Northwest state and local governments in a planning process to address the management of federal lands in the interior Columbia Basin region. A growing region-wide focus in forest policy issues is now represented by the Western Governors' Association's work on such concepts as the Enlibra principles11 (see Value Statement 8).
Private forest institutions, both industrial and nonindustrial, have a long-standing and important role in the evolution of Oregon's forest policies. Many private forest products companies own both forestland and manufacturing facilities. Nonindustrial owners are a diverse group of individuals, families, and organizations that own forestland for a diversity of purposes. Both industrial and nonindustrial owners have associations to represent their political interests.
Nonprofit institutions, with their range of views, objectives, and methods, are also important in developing forest policy. Most nonprofit groups work at the public policy level or through judicial actions to achieve their goals. Others are more directly involved in land management, acquiring lands or easements to fulfill their organizational mission.
Various forest certification systems represent a new type of nongovernmental institution. Certification is evolving as a market-based incentive, encouraging products that are guaranteed to have met certain environmental, economic, and social standards in their production. Interest in forest certification in this country first emerged through pressure applied on retailers by nonprofit institutions to make certified products available. More than 50 forest certification systems have been developed internationally. This new trend is evolving rapidly, and there is increasing effort to develop reciprocal arrangements among the certification systems.
Finally, working outside the framework of legal institutions, some activist groups and individuals on the extremes of various issues have engaged in unlawful activities such as eco-terrorism to promote their interests. Unlawful activism has become an increasing problem both in Oregon and nationally.
What are the main issues surrounding Oregon's legal and institutional framework?
Federal forest management and local collaboration12
Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the USDA Forest Service, envisioned that federal land management decisions would be made at local levels. However, because of the way federal laws have evolved toward more centralized decision-making over the last century, decisions are now made primarily at the national level, with very little decision space for local federal forest managers. While national laws are the result of mutual agreements at national level, similar agreement with these laws is often not achieved at local scales. In some cases the broad implementation of national forest management standards has caused unintended harm to local forest resources and forest-dependent economies and communities.
Local efforts to collaborate on natural resource and sustainability issues are springing up throughout the American West, especially in Oregon. The impetus behind the local collaboration movement has little to do with seizing power and control. Instead, it is more often about the very survival of rural communities. Many rural communities in the western United States are not interested in gentrification or retirement communities. Their citizens want to continue to work on and with the land. However, where federal lands and federal laws are involved, local collaboration to achieve a desired future is often stifled by a lack of flexibility and a lack of decision space for local federal officials.
A national discussion is needed to resolve the tension between national interests and local interests in the management of federal forestlands. People living near federal forests need to be empowered to take part in decisions affecting the forest's future, so intimately tied up with their own. Society must acknowledge that centralized national decision-making processes and local collaboration processes are inherently incompatible models. National-scale decisions frequently lead to litigation and a resulting low level of satisfaction for all stakeholders. While they may lend themselves to a formal process of public involvement, they are not well suited for the give-and-take of complex problem solving. In contrast, local collaboration can be an effective problem-solving process.
Americans are not ready to turn entire national forests over to local collaboration, but perhaps the collaborative model could be tried experimentally in a small number of places to work out the practical difficulties and to build public trust. New initiatives have been proposed to allow stakeholders in certain localities to prove their stewardship of federal forestlands. Governed by local boards of trustees approved by Congress, and operating under a framework of national standards and monitoring requirements, local collaboration groups should be given an opportunity to show what they can do.
The federal Endangered Species Act
Under the ESA, to "take" a species listed as threatened or endangered means to harm an individual of the species in such a way that injury or death results. "Taking" listed species is prohibited (subject to certain qualifications), and a violation may result in significant legal consequences. The continuing debate about what constitutes "take" of federally listed threatened and endangered species under the ESA creates uncertainty about landowner requirements and expectations. The ESA allows people to better understand, protect, and monitor the status of species at risk. However, uncertainty about regulations, current and future, has left landowners reluctant to produce or retain forest habitat that could be occupied by wildlife of a federally listed species, such as the northern spotted owl, because if one of these species did occupy a site it would severely limit a manager's future options.
Scientific debate over the meaning of "take," as well as legal proceedings to prevent or punish alleged instances of "take," may directly affect the board's policymaking activity. Protection of listed species remains at the heart of many debates over forest management practices (see Strategy E).
Lawsuits by nonprofit environmental groups, industry and landowner associations, and citizens have increasingly involved the federal court system in the interpretation and application of federal environmental laws. These lawsuits can be initiated at little or no cost to the plaintiffs. Even federal programs with substantial public support, such as the Blue Mountain Demonstration Project and the Northwest Forest Plan, have not been fully implemented because of process constraints or the threat or reality of lawsuits. Part of the problem may be that regulatory and planning laws do not provide an effective means for forest managers to take action that would pose short-term risks to forest resources in order to maximize long-term benefits. Lawsuits are costly to government agencies and divert resources from other important work. Litigation has not proved to be an effective tool in developing lasting policy solutions to complex natural resource problems.
Segregation of laws and programs
A serious weakness of both the state and federal legal frameworks is that recent laws have not been well integrated with older ones. For example, the federal Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act conflict in some respects with earlier legislation such as the 1897 Organic Act, which mandates a continuous supply of timber from federal lands.
Similar problems exist with coordination of state laws and with integration of state and federal laws. The Forest Practices Act is an exception to this general observation in that the Legislature passed specific statutes (1987 and 1991) to integrate it with Oregon's land-use, air-quality, and clean-water programs. While forestlands have a regulatory framework of best management practices to implement the requirements of the water quality standards, other land uses have more limited frameworks. This creates issues of equity and may create a disincentive to retain private forestland for forest uses.
Federal agencies have at times tried to influence state programs such as the Forest Practices Act to implement federal Endangered Species Act standards. Yet, often, the standards applied through state programs already go beyond the basic federal "take avoidance" standard required on non-federal lands. They are more comparable to the higher levels of protection found in federal habitat conservation plans.
Regulation, incentives, education, and research are all important tools for achieving public policy goals, but they are often used in uncoordinated ways. For example, prior to 2003, the Department of Forestry's regulatory program was administratively separate from the landowner assistance program. This separation hampered coordination of policy on regulation and incentive approaches to resource protection and customer service, and resulted in program inefficiencies. At the federal level, the USDA Forest Service provides private landowner assistance, while other agencies regulate programs such as the federal Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.
Forestlands have fewer federal cost-share programs than agricultural lands (for example, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is not applicable to lands that are already forested). This may be the result of existing regulations for forestlands, while comparable regulations are lacking for agricultural uses.
What is our current economic framework for forest policy?
The U.S. economic system is market-based, but natural resource values cannot always be quantified in dollars and cents. Regulations are used to ensure that non-market resources are given appropriate value. When they develop regulations, policymakers often want cost/benefit analyses. Generally, the costs of proposed regulations are much easier to quantify than the benefits. Many natural resource benefits cannot be valued in our economic system because no cause-and-effect relationship can be identified that can clearly links the proposed change to a quantifiable benefit. For example, in developing rules to leave more trees along streams, it is fairly easy to determine the costs, but it is difficult or impossible to determine how many more fish might be produced or what water quality benefits might ensue. Research is rarely directed at developing this information.
Under a market-based system, consumption choices are left to the individual. Consumers are often unaware of the market and environmental tradeoffs of their behaviors and choices. As a result, public opinion and public behavior are often in conflict.
Taxation is a major policy tool used to encourage management and retention of lands in resource uses. Income taxes and property taxes make up the majority of state government revenues. "Payments in lieu of taxes" are federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes because of the presence of nontaxable federal lands within their boundaries. However, the ability of tax policies to support non-timber goals remains limited due to budget and political constraints.
Major opportunities exist to process small-diameter logs and economically accomplish work to improve forest health. Forest industry-related manufacturing capacity has retooled over the past 20 years to process second-growth wood into an array of solid, engineered, and composite wood products and pulp. Capacity to handle large trees has been substantially reduced, and past market premiums for large-diameter logs have disappeared. Due to limited log supplies from federal forests, manufacturing capacity in eastern Oregon has been substantially reduced. However, much forestland in that region is in need of management to improve its vigor and its resistance to wildfires and insect and disease infestations. An assessment of how much and what kind of wood should be removed from these forests could serve as the foundation for reviving the industrial infrastructure and achieving both more vital forests and more vital communities.
With major changes in federal land management policy and improved efficiency in industry, the forest products workforce has changed. While highly skilled workers are still needed, there are fewer jobs for skilled workers and fewer small businesses that support forest management and manufacturing. Federal efforts to retrain displaced workers into "ecosystem workers" has had limited success.
Market-based forest certification systems are being used by some parties to promote their desired environmental or market outcomes. The certification systems are still evolving, and the long-term role they may play in promoting sustainable forestry is still unclear.
What are the main issues surrounding Oregon's economic framework?
Under current land management policies and projections of population growth, Oregonians living today may see a time when the state will no longer be producing enough forest products to meet its own needs.13 Reflecting global economic pressures, between 1980 and 1995 the world's forests were reduced by 12 million hectares per year. That is equivalent of 30 million acres, more than the total amount of forestland in Oregon. During this period, the amount of forestland increased in the industrialized countries by 20 million hectares. Clearly, the sustainability of forests in developing countries is most at risk. Therefore, it is important to ensure that Oregon's forest resource policies, which may make sense within our state's borders, do not result in unintended adverse effects to the global environment or place Oregon forest landowners and businesses at a disadvantage in the global marketplace (Figure 4).
International political and economic forces are now affecting governmental policymaking at the national, state, and local levels. International political goals are focused on sustainable development. Global economic pressures are reducing some of the historical competitive advantages of timber produced in the Northwest, and may also be lowering the value of larger-diameter timber in the global marketplace. Rotation ages on Oregon industrial timberlands are declining as managers produce smaller trees to maintain global market access.
In the meantime, per capita consumption of wood in the United States continues to increase. Domestic consumption has exceeded domestic production since at least the late 1950s. There is a lack of consistency between public opinion about forestry issues and public consumption of forest products. Until the existing systems can provide for reconciliation among these factors, unsustainable practices will be encouraged in other parts of the world.
What are the key interactions of this strategy with other strategies?
The promotion of a sound legal system, effective government, excellent research institutions, and sound economic policies strongly affects, and is affected by, all other strategies and policies for managing Oregon's forests.
What are potential indicators to measure progress toward this strategy?
1. Capacity to undertake forest-related planning and assessments
2. Capacity to measure and monitor changes, including the availability and extent of data measuring the indicators for all seven Forestry Program for Oregon strategies.