Oregon Board of Forestry approves labeling parts of five state forests as 'high value conservation,' but stakeholders are concerned about 'mission creep' and a commitment to 'real conservation measures'

LOS ANGELES , July 30, 2012 () –

Oregon’s Board of Forestry approved by a four-to-two vote on July 26 its plan to clearly designate parts of five state forests as areas of “high value conservation,” Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported on July 27.

Some of the conservation areas were “deeply affected, in fact destroyed by past logging operations,” said Bob Van Dyk, with the Wild Salmon Center and one of more than 100 spectators who attended the meeting to express their viewpoints.

These sections are now in recovery, but “management is needed to help recovery,” said Van Dyk, OPB reported.

The Dept. of Forestry had intended not only to recommend labeling for certain areas of the state’s forests, but also to discuss the process for classifying the land long-term and possibly including protected areas. However, that discussion was postponed.

The new labels are not likely to be applied to forest maps for months because the department must first write new rules, reported OPB.

The new designations should clarify existing zoning in the affected areas, but the emphasis should be on environmental results rather than drawing specific borders, said Nils Christofferson, a board member and operator of forestry nonprofit Wallowa Resources.

A concern mentioned by Tillamook County Commissioner Tim Josi is that the labeling “doesn’t have a ‘mission creep’ just kill us over time,” referring to the possibility that more areas would be withheld from logging, OPB reported.

The labeling system was recommended by Mike Bordelon, the agency’s Northwest-area director, who indicated the labels would not change “the outputs or outcomes associated with the forest management plan.” Bordelong said the agency had been trying to be as transparent as possible, OPB reported.

The primary source of this article is Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland, Oregon, on July 27, 2012.


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