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Benton County landowner named to Forestry advisory committee
May 5, 2010
Contact: Kevin Weeks (503) 945-7427
Forest landowner Sara Leiman has been named to a seat on the Committee for Family Forestlands, an advisory group that provides information about the concerns and interests of small-acreage and family forest owners to the Oregon Board of Forestry. Leiman co-owns and serves as general manager of her family forestland business, Coast Range Conifers LLC based in Monroe, managing 2,814 acres in Benton, Lane and Lincoln counties.
Membership of the 10-person Committee includes family forest landowners, forest industry representatives, environmental community and public members, and staff representing the Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute. Leiman’s appointment to the Committee was approved by the Oregon Board of Forestry at the Board’s April 22nd meeting in Salem.
Leiman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley and has served on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute since 2004. She has also served on many regional and local leadership boards. Leiman was named Benton County Tree Farmer of the Year in 2005.
Leiman assumes a Committee seat representing forest landowners in northwest Oregon, replacing Gary Springer who was recently appointed to the Oregon Board of Forestry.
The Oregon Board of Forestry at the April 22, 2010 meeting also named McMinnville resident Susan Watkins as vice-chair of the Committee for Family Forestlands.
Watkins moved to Oregon following a thirty-year career in municipal law in California and Washington. After Ms. Watkins and husband Arnie Hollander planted their small forest in Yamhill County in 1994, she became a Master Woodland Manager and is responsible for managing her family woodland. As a landowner representative, Ms. Watkins helped found the Family Forest Project, the public-private initiative that produces the Ties to the Land succession planning materials for landowning families. She has served on the Committee since September 2008.
Small-acreage private woodland owners and forest-owning families manage 4.7 million acres of Oregon’s forests, about 15 percent of the state’s forest footprint. A 2005 study by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute found more than half of Oregon’s family forest owners are over 65, with many in their 70’s and 80’s. Many thousands of acres of Oregon’s forest land are poised to change ownership within the next decade, with economic pressures driving both new and long-time forest owners to consider converting their forest to other uses, including residential development or commercial land.