Forest Industry Remains a Boon for Oregon
Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Marvin Brown For The Register-Guard
A new study of the Oregon forest products industry's contributions and potential reaffirms the importance of our forest resources to the economic well-being of our citizens and our environment.
The study also illustrates why we need to set aside old conflicts and embrace a common vision - as the Oregon Business Plan suggests in calling for a statewide forest sector strategy.
The Oregon Forest Resources Institute commissioned the study, which evaluates opportunities to compete in a global market and build on a vision for environmentally, socially and economically sustainable forest management.
`The forest sector continues to be an important part of Oregon's economy,' notes E.D. Hovee, one of the study's authors. `It is especially critical to the prosperity of rural Oregon.'
The forest sector directly provides 85,600 jobs in the state, 4 percent of Oregon's employment. It accounts for industrial output of $12.6 billion and wage income of $3.5 billion. The average wage in the primary products sector is $49,800, which is 45 percent higher than the state's average.
Based on the forest sector's relatively high job multiplier, the sector produces more than 190,000 total direct and indirect jobs - 9 percent of state employment.
More importantly, with increases in sustainable harvest, another 45,600 to 76,800 direct and indirect jobs could be added - the bulk of them in rural Oregon, where family wage jobs are in short supply.
Opportunities for improved economic contributions center on:
Acceptance of intensive forest management on lands identified for wood production, complemented by other management objectives (wilderness, older forest habitat and recreation, for example) on other forest land.
Primary producers employing state-of-the-art technology to top-end products for a broader customer base, creating a market premium.
Secondary value-added producers encouraged to come or to expand in Oregon - backed by abundant in-state raw materials and a supportive infrastructure.
Complementary `cluster' relationships between the forest sector, high tech, manufacturing, and other economic sectors leveraged to enhance economic growth in Oregon.
A statewide conservation strategy integrating forest sector and other economic priorities. …