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Private forest owners have started salvaging timber burned this summer

 Posted: 4:50 PM December 31, 2013

GLENDALE — Salvage logging on land burned by last summer's Douglas Complex wildfire in southwestern Oregon is in full swing in privately owned forests, but not in federal ones.

Roseburg Forest Products has cut 8 million board feet of timber from its lands outside Glendale and plans to cut 32 million board feet more, the News-Review reported. One million board feet is roughly enough to build 50 homes.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is still deep in the planning process and has no firm timber targets for the public land.

The difference highlights the contrast between industrial logging under the Oregon Forest Practices Act and logging on public land that must conform to federal environmental laws.

Phil Adams, timber manager for Roseburg Forest Products, said the company wants to harvest dead trees quickly before they lose value from rot. He is afraid that burned timber on BLM lands will turn into brush and stands of dead trees unless they are aggressively managed.

The company plans to spend $6 million planting seedlings and doing other restoration on 8,000 acres. He said that investment would be at risk if fire breaks out in the dead trees on BLM land.

The Douglas Complex fire burned 48,679 acres. Of that, 23,000 acres is private land held by 27 landowners. The rest is in the BLM's Roseburg and Medford districts. Most of the 19,000 acres in the Medford District is classified as matrix, where timber production is the primary goal. Most of the 6,000 acres in the Roseburg District is old growth forest reserve, where fish and wildlife habitat is the primary goal.

BLM Roseburg District spokesman Cheyne Rossbach said any salvage logging was likely to come from matrix lands. It would be late summer or fall before an environmental assessment is completed on those lands.

— Associated Press

Information from: The News-Review, www.nrtoday.com


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