On October 10, 2018 Oregon Wild released a new report, “Forest Defense Is Climate Defense“, about the fascinating relationship between our forests and the climate. The report compiles the latest research on forest-carbon and explains how the single most impactful action Oregon can take to combat climate change is to change our forest policies.
The report contains the following sections:
- Forest-Carbon 101
- Solution #1: Modernize Oregon’s Logging Laws
- Solution #2: Protect Our Public Lands
- Adapting to Climate Change
- Take Action!
Download the report here: FOREST DEFENSE IS CLIMATE DEFENSE (pdf)
1. Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests – Law, Beverly E. (Oregon State University), et al. (2018)
- Logging is Oregon’s largest source of carbon emissions.
- Between 2011–2015, forest fires only accounted for 4% of Oregon’s total carbon emissions each year, whereas logging accounted for roughly 35%.
- The Pacific Northwest represents some of the highest carbon density forests in the world, which can store carbon in trees for 800 years or more.
- Extending the harvest intervals on private lands would have major climate benefits.
- Cut logging on public lands in half would have huge climate benefits.
2. Severe fire weather and intensive forest management increase fire severity in a multi‐ownership landscape – Zald, Harold S. J., et al. (2018)
- Old-growth forests are much more resilient to forest fires compared to young, dense tree plantations.
3. Summer streamflow deficits from regenerating Douglas-fir forest in the Pacific Northwest, USA – Perry, Timothy D., and Julia A. Jones (2016)
- Old-growth forests are much better at storing and releasing water than timber plantations.
- Average daily streamflow in summer (July through September) in basins with 34 to 43 year‐old plantations of Douglas‐fir was 50% lower than streamflow from reference basins with 150‐ to 500‐year‐old forests dominated by Douglas‐fir, western hemlock, and other conifers
- Reduced summer streamflow in headwater basins with forest plantations may limit aquatic habitat and exacerbate stream warming
- Legacies of past forest management or extensive natural disturbances may be confounded with effects of climate change on streamflow in large river basins.
4. High-Biomass Forests of the Pacific Northwest: Who Manages Them and How Much is Protected? – Krankina, Olga N., et al. (2014)
- The level of protection for high-biomass forests varies by state, for example, 31% of all high-biomass federal forests in Washington are in high-protection status compared to only 9% in Oregon.
- The forests of the Pacific Northwest are among the most carbon dense ecosystems in the world.
5. Roadless areas and clean water – DellaSala, Dominick, et al. (2011)
- Healthy watersheds with low road density and mature trees store and filter water.
6. Spatial models reveal the microclimatic buffering capacity of old-growth forests – Frey, Sarah, et al. (2016)
- Mature and intact forests also provide shade that keeps streams cool and oxygenated for salmon and trout.
7. Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest – US Fish & Wildlife Service (2011)
- As the climate warms, Oregon will continue to see more precipitation falling as rain instead of snow, more floods and landslides, and more frequent and prolonged droughts.
8. Forestry, Landslides, and Public Safety – Oregon Board of Forestry (2001)
- Healthy forests with low road density and mature trees reduce the risk of landslides.
- Oregon lags far behind its neighbors in protecting public lands.
- 4% of Oregon has been designated as protected Wilderness, compared to 10% in Washington and 15% in California.
10. Rate of tree carbon accumulation increases continuously with tree size – Stephenson, Nathan, et al. (2014)
- Old forests store far more carbon than young forests.
- Large, old trees do not act simply as senescent carbon reservoirs but actively fix large amounts of carbon compared to smaller trees; at the extreme, a single big tree can add the same amount of carbon to the forest within a year as is contained in an entire mid-sized tree.
11. Achieving climate connectivity in a fragmented landscape – McGuire, Jenny, et al. (2016)
- Large, intact wild areas facilitate the migration of species to higher latitudes and elevations where they can find cooler areas or more suitable habitat.
- Facilitating movement will be crucial for preventing biodiversity losses in the climate change era.
12. Protected areas: providing natural solutions to 21st Century challenges – Lopoukhine, N., et al. (2012)
- Protected areas, when integrated into landuse plans as part of larger and connected conservation networks, offer practical, tangible solutions to the problems of both species loss and adaptation to climate change.
13. Oregon has the weakest logging rules in the region. The neighboring states of Washington, California, and Idaho all do more to protect streams and communities from the impacts of logging practices like clearcutting and the aerial spraying of herbicides.
- Oregon lawmakers propose tightening West Coast’s weakest weed killer aerial spray laws – The Oregonian (2/10/15)
- Do Oregon’s clear-cut and pesticide buffers protect drinking water from creeks, rivers? – The Oregonian (8/20/13)
- Oregon Environmental Groups, Lawmakers Target Logging Rules – Oregon Public Broadcasting (2/22/17)
- Comparisons between Oregon Forest Practices and Other State Forest Practices – Oregon Stream Protection Coalition (2014)
14. Graph: Oregon’s Annual Carbon Emissions (2011-2015)
- Data from Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests – Law, et al (2018), and the Oregon Global Warming Commission
15. Graph: Fate of Carbon from Harvested Wood
- Data from Methods for calculating forest ecosystem and harvested carbon with standard estimates for forest types of the United States – Smith, et al. (2006)
- Data also from Patterns and mechanisms of the forest carbon cycle – Gower, et al. (2006)
- Design by Jarrett Matthews
Photo by Eric DeBord
This sadly powerful Letter to the Editor from Dixie Wilks-Owens was published in the Sept. 6 Daily Courier.
The courts may overturn a woman’s right to a doctor administered abortion. But that will not end abortions. Look back to our history, and see how many women died in unsafe, back-alley abortions. Reversing Roe Vs Wade will simply send young women into those unsafe conditions again. The wealthy will send their daughters to countries that will provide doctor-administered abortions while the poor will have unsafe abortions and thousands will die.
Here’s a true story: 58 years ago, my beautiful Aunt Kay, only 26-years-old, a mother of two small babies, learned that she was 10-weeks pregnant. She also learned that her husband was leaving her for another woman. Employers wouldn’t hire pregnant women. She also knew she had to work to support her two babies. She borrowed $300 and met a contact person at a restaurant. Guess what? She died and was left on the bed of a cheap hotel. Her two little babies were motherless. Will history repeat itself?
Keep writing those letters to the editor, folks. Following is one that was published in the the Courier recently. If you’ve had a letter published anywhere, email it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. And I’ll post it on our website.
From Anita Savio. Pub. Aug 21.
A Bend Bulletin editorial, recently re-published by the Courier, argued it is unfair for the state to deduct union dues from state employees’ pay. Those employees who value the services of the union, asserted the editorial, will ante up their dues without being forced.
But this ignores what economists refer to as the “free rider effect.” It operates something like this: I’m a state employee and, gee, I really like how our union advocates for me and my fellow employees. So I should chip in my share of union dues. And I will. I intend to. But right now I’ve got other expenses that are more pressing. And let’s face it, I’m forced to pay my mortgage or rent, utilities, car insurance, food and clothing. If I want to go see a movie or eat out with friends, well they won’t let me in the movie theater if I don’t pay, and I’ll get arrested if I don’t pay the restaurant bill.
But I still get the benefit of union representation even if I don’t pay. So I will get around to paying my union dues. Really. I will.
That’s the free rider effect.
Letters to the editor are one of the ways we get our point of view across in the community. Below are two letters from our members that the Courier recently published.
From Jean Mount. Pub. July 4.
County is overreaching with firearms ordinance
Most Oregonians want reasonable gun safety measures. And in 2017, one reasonable gun control law was passed by the legislature. This law, SB 719, allows “extreme risk protection orders” and temporarily forbids a person from possessing or purchasing deadly weapons if they are deemed an imminent threat to themselves or others. But that protection law may not be enforced in Josephine County.
At a county hearing Tuesday, a firearms ordinance was approved by the commissioners that would restrict reasonable gun control measures. It prohibits the use of public funds, personnel or equipment to investigate, detect, apprehend or incarcerate persons related to defined firearms situations. Ordinance 2018-002 is unnecessary and is an overreach of county authority.
This county firearms ordinance is likely to be found invalid, which will result in more cost to the taxpayer. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not give unlimited rights; it’s within the rights of the electorate to regulate arms. And county law does not supersede state or federal law.
Ask your commissioners to not approve the second reading of this ordinance on July 25.
From Anita Savio, Pub. July 5.
Praise for an objective, professional newspaper
This is just too ironic. Letter writer Martin D. Zottola expressed concern that journalists, including Courier editor Scott Stoddard, may not be trusted to do their job “objectively and professionally” in this “climate of false reporting (Letters, July 3).” Yet lo and behold, the Courier publishes Mr. Zottola’s critical letter. I think the Courier, under the guidance of Stoddard, just demonstrated the difference between false and tendentious journalism and journalism that epitomizes objectivity and professionalism. Kudos to Stoddard and the Courier!
The Courier accepts letters of 250 words or less. Writers are limited to one letter every 30 days. There’s a convenient online form for submitting letters: http://web.thedailycourier.com/customer_service/letters_policy/
Printed in the Courier 11-12-17
Rep. Greg Walden is at it again. First, he complimented President Trump on his financially impotent “step in the right direction” when he declared opioid abuse a “national public health emergency.” It provided only $57,000 of Health and Human Services re-allocated money toward a just-say-no ad campaign. Walden said “more people died in Oregon last year from overdoses than from car accidents,” enabling Trump’s paltry declaration. Thanks a lot — we already know opioid abuse is a huge problem — people are dying. We need funding, not empty words to fight the problem.
Next, he supported for the fifth time a forest management bill that is disguised as “reducing the risk of forest fires.” In fact, it just cuts regulations to benefit the timber industry that supports his campaigns. Rep. Peter DeFazio voted against it because it doubles the amount of land exempt from environmental review and doesn’t provide a way to pay for forest thinning. There’s good reason it failed four times before.
And finally, Walden voted to fund CHIP, the effective program that lapsed which provides health care for 9 million children. It’s a great program, but this time it’s being partially paid for by a $10 billion cut to public health funds and shortening the grace period for Obamacare enrollees who can’t pay their premiums. About 700,000 people would lose their health insurance as a result. Another sneaky way to continue sabotaging the ACA.
We need to replace Walden with better representation from Oregon to stand up for our state’s real needs.
Printed in Courier on 11/8/2017
Don’t believe the hype. The GOP’s proposed “tax reform” is not going to help small business owners like me. I’ve owned and operated a motel in Grants Pass for more than 17 years. It’s a good business, but the Republican plan to cut the tax rate for “pass-through” corporations to 25 percent won’t affect most businesses like mine. It’s not going to affect my local grocer or my local mechanic. That’s because most small business owners like me aren’t making enough of a profit to even pay a 25 percent tax rate.
The proposed corporate tax cuts will benefit hedge fund managers, Wall Street lawyers and real estate investors. The Trump administration plans to cut $5.8 trillion from Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, education, employment and training, food and housing assistance, and infrastructure programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In short, this “tax reform” is a giveaway to the largest and most profitable corporations and the wealthiest of Americans.
Oregon and Grants Pass can’t afford these cuts. Our transportation and telecommunications infrastructures need an upgrade. Many of our residents rely on programs like Medicaid for health care. We need to better train and educate our workforce to attract more companies to the area. My small business can only survive and thrive if we invest in the local community.
This “tax reform” is bad news for our community and for Oregon’s small businesses.
Printed in Courier on 11/9/2017
I just received an e-mail from Congressman Greg Walden brimming with good news about “tax reform.” Walden explains that, “While reform is never easy, and always subject to partisan hyperbole, we do know two important facts about this draft plan courtesy of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation analysis: (1) Annual, after-tax income for the middle class will rise in every state; (2) the U.S. economy will grow by 4 percent and create 975,000 new jobs as a result.” Not a speck of partisan hyperbole there. Although, curiously, this is the first time I have realized that economic prognostications based on hypothetical models, formulated by a foundation known for its pro-business, anti-tax bias for 80 years, have magically become “facts.”
In spite of these misgivings, I’m planning to spend all of that extra after-tax income soon — in supporting a qualified, intelligent candidate not prone to misrepresentation, misinformation and outright lies to replace Walden. The fact is, it can’t happen soon enough.
Letter to the Editor, published in the Mail Tribune (9/27/17). Courier did not print.
There is no equivalence between hate groups and those who oppose them. I, along with other Americans condemn the recent racist and violent events in Charlottesville. These hateful actions contradict our democratic values of equality and Rights for All.
We are stronger because of our diversity of race, culture and ideas.
Locally, Democrats and progressives are working together to improve our community in the areas of education, health care, jobs and the environment. We ask others to work with us and contribute their ideas and energy.
Congressman Walden gave a generic response when he condemned the hateful groups at Charlottesville. But this is not enough. His actions over the past months have caused us harm and division. He voted for special interests when he voted to defund health care and is not representing citizens well in Oregon’s second district.
Southern Oregon Democrats ask you to join with them in working on local, state and national issues that impact our daily lives. Join us at our next meeting.
— Jean Mount