When opposing sides work together, it helps solve some of the most pressing issues facing Oregonians today.
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Oregon’s working forests— forests that are planted, cultivated, harvested, and replanted in a sustainable cycle— absorb significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. More than half of Oregon’s annual human-caused carbon emissions are captured and stored by its 30 million acres of forest, helping keep our atmosphere clean. When trees are harvested for lumber, the stored carbon remains locked up for the life of the product. And sustainable forestry practices ensure this cycle continues by requiring harvested areas be replanted. In fact, Oregon foresters plant roughly 40 million trees every year – at least three trees for every one tree that is harvested. Similar to children, young trees’ growth requires a lot of energy to grow. By harvesting older trees that have already stored tons of carbon as wood, we make room for these new forests of young trees that pull carbon out of the air at a faster rate.
Buildings can be constructed using a variety of materials, including concrete, steel, and wood, but only one material is renewable. Trees can be replanted. Steel cannot. Plus, wood can be repurposed from one building to the next, all while the carbon remains safely stored. By promoting the use of renewable wood products instead of carbon-intensive alternatives, Oregon can continue to be part of the solution to climate change.
Evidence-based forest management practices are key to preventing wildfires. With the risk of devastating wildfires expected to increase in the coming decades, implementing these practices is more important than ever. Some methods used to prevent devastating wildfires include mechanized harvest, tree thinning, and controlled burning.
An additional benefit of managed forests in the efforts to fight wildfires, is the extensive and well-maintained network of roads that foresters create and use. Roads ensure reliable, steady access to forests . When a fire does occur in a managed forest, it is more easily put out, because firefighters have easy and quick access to the fire.
Forest management also focuses on creating and sustaining wildlife habitats. This is done by maintaining a mosaic of forest types across the landscape. For exacmple, young forests with open canopy provide habitat for migratory songbirds and pollinators, and provide forage for deer and elk, as well as hunting ground for birds of prey. Older forests, on the other hand, offer cover where wildlife can rest, and nesting opportunities for birds that need closed canopy forests. Managed forests also provide habitat for aquatic species such as beaver and salamanders, plus critical spawning areas for salmon and other fish native to Oregon. Maintaining a variety of forest types ensures all of Oregon’s wildlife have the habitat they need to thrive.
Studies have shown that, time spent in nature results in a variety of cognitive and emotional benefits. Being surrounded by trees increases feelings of calm, endorphin levels, and the capacity for concentration, as well as reducing anxiety, depression, and the stress hormone cortisol. Hiking, camping, cycling, hunting, and fishing are just a few of the possible activities Oregonians can enjoy in our forests. Often, private forestland owners open their lands to recreationalists because they know Oregonians benefit from ample recreation opportunities. Not only do professional foresters work to manage the land, timber, and other resources for future generations, but they, too, enjoy the beauty and benefits of the forest.
Protecting human lives, property, and timber-producing forest
Oregon’s forests produce the highest quality water in the state
Supporting communities and the environment
Working forests are key in the fight against climate change
Offering a career path and future for everyone
Forest practice laws safeguard water, fish and wildlife
Different forest types create and maintain wildlife habitats
Oregon has the same amount of forestland now as 100 years ago