What is a Forest Management Plan?
State Forest Management Plans establish the goals and direction to manage state forests sustainably. State-owned forests provide environmental, social and economic benefits to all Oregonians. By law, the majority of revenue generated from state forests must be distributed to counties and schools and used to provide public services.
The current plan was adopted in 2010. It describes the forest resources, explains the concepts for integrated forest management, and presents management strategies. Goals and strategies are intended to achieve a proper balance between resources and achieve greatest permanent value.
Why is ODF revising this plan?
The Oregon Board of Forestry has set a goal for the revised plan to improve financial and conservation outcomes. Any new plan must achieve Greatest Permanent Value (GPV) mandates to balance the triple bottom-line: Financial viability, conservation, and recreational opportunities. The Board has directed the State Forests Division to propose a plan with the goal of improving financial and conservation outcomes.
Counties with state forestland rely on revenue from timber sales on these forests to pay for schools, public safety, and other vital services. Additionally, ODF receives no general fund dollars to manage state-owned forests, and the State Forests Division is funded by these same timber sales. During the Great Recession, severely reduced timber values and sales resulted in ODF laying off 30 percent of its State Forests workforce. As a result, investments in recreation, research and monitoring, forest inventory, silvicultural activities like pre-commercial thinning, and other key aspects of forest stewardship have been significantly reduced or put on hold indefinitely.
As a steward of public lands, ODF must balance these financial obligations and realities with its duty and desire to maintain threatened and endangered species, protect against fire, disease and insect pests, ensure healthy habitats for native wildlife, contribute to clean air, water and soil, and protect against floods and erosion.
An important component to meeting Greatest Permanent Value (GPV) is providing recreational activities in state forests. Most facilities like trails and campgrounds are within a two-hour drive of the Portland metropolitan area, and are seeing increased usage. Under the current funding scenario, ODF Is struggling to keep up with the current demands of our recreation program, and cannot invest in new amenities to improve the user experience and meet growing needs.
In forest management, there are inherent trade-offs between activities that do or do not produce revenue. ODF is taking special care to identify and recognize these trade-offs in a way that the public can understand and offer input.
What is Greatest Permanent Value (GPV)?
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 530.050) direct the State Forester to manage state forest lands “so as to secure the greatest permanent value of those lands to the state.” To achieve GPV, the State Forester is given authority to:
· protect the lands from insects, disease, and fire;
· sell forest products and conduct reforestation;
· permit the use of the lands for other uses, such as agriculture, recreation, flood protection, and habitat;
· sell carbon offsets; and
· take action for the management, protection, utilization, and conservation of the lands.
The Board of Forestry has further interpreted the GPV direction through the adoption of the GPV rule (OAR 629-035-0020). The GPV rule defines Greatest Permanent Value as healthy, productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape provide a full range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
· Sustainable and predictable production of forest products that generate revenues for the benefit of the state, counties, and local taxing districts;
· Properly functioning aquatic habitats for salmonids, and other native fish and aquatic life;
· Habitats for native wildlife;
· Productive soil, and clean air and water;
· Protection against floods and erosion; and
In order to meet GPV, the lands must be maintained as forest lands and be actively managed to provide sustainable timber harvest and revenues. Forest management should also:
· Result in a high probability of maintaining and restoring properly functioning aquatic habitats for salmonids, and other native fish and aquatic life;
· Protect, maintain, and enhance native wildlife habitats;
· Protect soil, air, and water; and
· Provide outdoor recreation opportunities.
What is the process for the Forest Management Plan revision?
Work will take place in five phases. The accompanying time ranges represent good-faith estimates based on present workload, project scope and input from the Board of Forestry. Wildfire seasons can also cause delays if critical staff are temporarily reassigned due to pressing needs associated with fire protection. The current plan aims to have FMP adopted as administrative rule by the end of 2020. The agency is currently in Phase 2 of the plan.
Phase 1 (1st half of 2018): This established the foundation for the planning. It will include defining financial viability and conservation in the context of greatest permanent value, which allows the Board of Forestry, ODF staff and stakeholders to understand these terms and what the Board of Forestry hopes to achieve.
Phase 2 (2nd half of 2018): ODF staff will draft recommendations for the Board of Forestry’s consideration. This allows the Board to discuss trade-offs associated with different policy choices.
Phase 3 (1st half of 2019): With direction provided by the Board, ODF will evaluate financial and conservation outcomes of the proposed strategies.
Phase 4 (winter 2019/20): Staff will present the draft FMP document for the Board’s review, feedback and revisions.
Phase 5 (spring-winter 2020): ODF will start the formal rulemaking process. The agency will solicit public comment and hearings, and the Board will have the opportunity to revise the plan to address public concerns. Once finalized, it will be adopted as Oregon Administrative Rule, replacing the current FMP.
Which areas are included in this revision?
The extent has not yet been determined. Most of the lands managed by the State Forests Division are located in Tillamook and Clatsop counties. However, all state-owned forestlands west of the Cascade Mountains may be included in this revision. If that is the case, the plan will cover just under 657,000 acres of state-managed forests: This represents about 90 percent of the total state forest land base* and generates more than 97% of revenue from Board of Forestry lands.
What does the Board of Forestry and ODF hope to achieve?
Any proposed revisions and possible outcomes will be compared to the current Forest Management Plan to understand the impacts and trade-offs being considered. The goal is to improve financial and conservation outcomes and provide the economic, social and environmental benefits associated with managing these forests to achieve greatest permanent value.
How can the public weigh in?
ODF is committed to an open, equitable, and transparent engagement process with stakeholders and the public.
ODF is hosting interested stakeholder meetings prior to each Board of Forestry meeting where anyone can attend, ask questions and get answers prior to Board meetings.
Each Board of Forestry meeting has a public comment period where anyone can provide testimony. As the process approaches key decision points, additional input will be sought via written public comment, community meetings and roundtables, and other venues.
The beneficiary counties, via the Forest Trust Lands Advisory Committee (FTLAC), have a special relationship, established in statute, with the Board of Forestry and Department:
ORS 526.156(3) The committee shall advise the State Board of Forestry and the State Forester on the management of lands subject to the provisions of ORS 530.010 to 530.170 and on other matters in which counties may have a responsibility pertaining to forestland. The Board and the State Forester shall consult with the committee with regard to such matters.
Providing accurate and timely information to the FTLAC ensures this group’s ability to provide timely and useful feedback to the Board of Forestry and the State Forester.
Additional opportunities for public comment will be made available during the public rulemaking process in Phase 5.
What happened in the Alternative FMP process that began in 2012?
The Board of Forestry directed ODF to pursue alternative Forest Management to improve financial viability and conservation outcomes. That process included robust stakeholder engagement, including a public survey, roundtables and community meetings. A stakeholder group was formed in 2013, consisting of two county commissioners, two citizens-at-large, two representatives of the conservation community and two industrial forest management representatives.