Rosboro Lumber steals trees, logs some of last Willamette Old Growth in Blue River Face
Rosboro Lumber steals trees, logs some of last Willamette Old Growth in Blue River Face, putting a rare lichen in danger of extinction. Call Wyden, McKenzie RD, and Willamette NF, tell them to stop the theft before the rest is logged, and investigate the lack of Sensitive species protections for Pseudocephalaria rainerensis.
Rosboro Lumber of Springfield, is illegally taking hundreds of thousands of board feet of cedar and fir, destroying some of the last remaining old growth in the Mid Oregon National Forests, all because the Willamette National Forest's McKenzie River Ranger District is too lazy to do something about it.
In a sale that was touted as an example of the National Forests Service's adaptive management strategy, the Blue River Face Timber Sale in the Willamette National Forest was supposed to be an "understory thining project". The sale passed NEPA regulations and NFS timber sale requirements on the assumption that logging was going to be limited to thinning the understory of this old growth drainage by selectively cutting and dragging out a few of the smaller diameter (<2.5 ft) trees. As recently as a month ago, cutting hadn't been initiated, likely in part to mid-willamete valley residents' discovery of an extremely rare, and endangered lichen (Pseudosephalaria rainerensis).
Under rules in the North West Forest Plan's Survey and Manage program, logging is not permitted within ~180 feet of any known remaining populations of this lichen as it would likely go extinct without, and can only regenerate within, surrounding stands of old growth.
But just a few weeks ago, the Bush administration suspended those rules, and magically old growth trees marked to be saved (orange) in the Blue River Face timber sale were re-marked for cutting (blue). Ironically valley residents had just submitted several samples and verified with forest service biologists that rainerensis was in fact present in sale days before survey and manage rules were suspended. Since then, Rosburo moved in fast and began cutting.
Within a week Rosburo lumber cut as much as 60% of existing old growth in units 5c and 5e. Recent surveys of these units found that anything but understory thining occurred in Blue River Face. Douglas fir as large as 5.5 feet in diameter had been cut. Several trees were aged to over 400 years old! Greater than 50 trees in excess of 4 feet in diameter had been felled in this small subsection of the Blue River Face sale.
Aside from the size and age of the trees, recent survey of the sale identified the rare lichen, rainerensis, amoung the limbs of the fallen old growth trees. Some of what may very well be the last pockets of rainerensis in the Oregon Cascades now lie on the forest floor off of Highway 126, never again able to reproduce, soon to be trampled by heavy logging equipment.
When the regional forester (Monty Wilson out of the Mckenzie River Ranger District) was notified as to the presence of rainerensis and the logging of old growth in this "understory thining project", he refused to review the project and promised valley residents that this was a "properly managed" sale and that it is an example of "sustainable forestry". There was nothing sustainable about the logging in units 5 d and 5e. Even if the forest service leaves this area un-logged for the next 400 years to grow trees nearly as big as the ones they cut, there will be now old growth forest for thes new trees to grow into. The few remaining old growth trees will likely fall in the next 5 years during windstorms, and with them, the last of all the species that rely on a dense multilayered forest canopy.
When confronted about the cutting of any old growth in this sale, McKenzie District forester Monty Wilson said that Rosburo might need to make way 'corridors' for dragging out (yarding) the other logs cut in the "understory thining project". However, recent surveys into the area have shown that there is no rhyme or reason as to which old growth trees have been cut. There are no discernable 'corridors'. Some trees that were marked to save were cut, some that were marked to save were re-marked and cut, others that have no marking to save or cut were cut, and a few were left (both with and without marking). When pressed about the lack of corridor cutting patterns Wilson stumbled and suggested that maybe the corridors were larger because they now had to haul out the large old growth they had cut to make corridors in the first place. When asked why old growth had been cut on the opposite side of the road of the unit, he again mumbled about how Rosboro might need place guy lines for support towers to haul out the old growth that had to be cut to make way for a larger corridors that were needed to haul out the old growth trees that had to be felled to make a yarding corridor to haul out the trees cut from an "understory thinning project" all of which was designed NOT to log old growth, but instead IMPROVE forest health through adaptive management.
It should be noted that the amount of board feet of old growth felled (hundreds of thousands) in order to make way for the removal of the trees targeted in this "understory thinning" far exceeds the total board feet of those targeted "understory" trees. It is a sort of circular logic.
'We must log the understory to save the old growth. We must log some old growth to remove the understory we logged in order to save the old growth. We must log some more old growth, in order the remove the old growth that we logged in order to remove the understory that we logged to save the old growth.'
The result is clear. Rosboro takes home WAY more lumber than the sale listed for; McKenzie River Ranger District claims they followed the law; and one of the last stands of old growth in the public holdings of the Willamette National Forest is gone forever... .all at taxpayer expense. So much for multiple use. So much for wise use. So much for sustainable forestry. So much for NFS accountability.
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