CONSERVATION REPORT, April 94 Storm Petrel1
Clinton Forest Plan2 slashes logging 80% on Siskiyou Forest: 160 million board feet to 25. 92% of our Forest's 1 million acres off limits to most logging!
FINAL CLINTON FOREST PLAN WILL CAUSE SWEEPING CHANGES FOR THE SISKIYOU NATIONAL FOREST
The Clinton forest plan is slowly working its way through the administrative process. The last step in finalizing the plan, the issuance of a Record Of Decision, is due 4/12/94. While the plan does not solve the basic environmental problems caused by decades of over cutting the forests of the Pacific Northwest, it will cause dramatic and sweeping changes in our local Siskiyou National Forest.
The maps and other documentation we have seen indicate that the Siskiyou National Forest will likely have a fall-down in timber cutting of 80% – from around 160 million board feet per year to 25 million. Over 90% of the Siskiyou Forest's 1 million acres will either be closed to logging or placed in reserves where clear cut logging (or any logging at all) will be very difficult to do.
The Clinton plan creates complex new and overlapping classifications of land and new and complex rules and restrictions. The parties to this debate, including the Forest Service managers are still sorting them out and don%#39;t yet understand them fully. Suffice it to say that our particular Forest will be managed in an entirely different way: timber sales will be few and far between for the next several years, and possibly forever if this new plan is adopted.
A little discussed but significant change appeared in the final land classification maps for the Siskiyou Forest. The amount of land placed in ancient forest reserves, land basically off limits to logging, was significantly increased from about 430,000 acres in the draft to about 550,000 acres in the final plan. This increase was due to the placing of almost 100,000 acres of roadless areas, which were open to logging in the draft plan, into ancient forest reserves in the final plan. This is a serious development for the Siskiyou Forest because in recent years most of the timber sale planning in the Forest was devoted to 18 large scale timber sales in its 13 remaining roadless areas and these will presumably now be abandoned. The two timber sales most worrisome to forest activists, the Shasta Costa and the Canyon Roadless timber sales, which are close to being ready to sell will now probably never happen.
ACREAGE FOR THE SISKIYOU FOREST BY CATEGORY
Final exact figures await more detailed analysis as thousands of small pieces must be converted to digitized maps, analyzed and counted.
|Congressionally Withdrawn - areas such as designated Wilderness||253,000
|Late Seral Reserve – old growth reserve where logging is extremely limited||605,000 |
|Administratively withdrawn – unsuitable for logging||44,000|
|Riparian reserves (stream buffers) – more streams are protected in the Clinton
plan with bigger stream side buffers||110,000|
|Matrix lands – areas still open for logging||77,000|
|Adaptive management areas - areas where the land is turned over to local
control (generally referred to as "talk and log" areas.) Fortunately we have
little of this on the Siskiyou||1,100|
|Total Forest acres||1,100,000 |
A lot can happen between now and this plan becoming final - perhaps it never will be. Timber industry and environmental lawsuits will probably drag on for years; possibly this whole plan will be overturned. There are a lot of shortcomings in the Clinton forest plan, for example California lands are not as well protected as Oregon's. Also the Willamette Forest east of Eugene is scheduled for some heavy harvesting. Overall the Clinton plan does not provide the level of protection for forest related species that current law requires. So this plan is very unpopular in the environmental community.
Nevertheless, on a purely local level our Forest seems destined for a reprieve. The national and international attention that has been placed on this Forest and its outstanding values, particularly fish, seems to have gotten the planners attention. Increasingly the arguments for the need to curtail timber harvest are coming from the fishing community because they see that a major reason for the decline in fish runs is the widespread habitat destruction caused by decades of over-logging. On a strictly backyard basis we should keep our fingers crossed; so far so good. By the next newsletter the overall picture will have become clearer.