Wading out of the Tilla-Muck: Reducing Timber Harvests in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests, and Protecting Rural Timber Economies through Ecosystem Service Programs

By Wigington, Tim G. | Environmental Law, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Wading out of the Tilla-Muck: Reducing Timber Harvests in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests, and Protecting Rural Timber Economies through Ecosystem Service Programs


Wigington, Tim G., Environmental Law


  I. INTRODUCTION  II. THE ORS 530 LANDS OF THE TILLAMOOK AND CLATSOP STATE FORESTS      AND CONFLICT REGARDING THEIR MANAGEMENT      A. The Origins of the ORS 530 Lands and the Counties' Economic         Dependence on Them      B. Increasing Management Controversy III. THE STATUTORY FRAMEWORK: INTERPRETING THE MEANING OF GPV      A. Interpreting the GPV Mandate Under the State v. Gaines Framework      B. Statutory Interpretation Implications from Tillamook I      C. A Duty to Maximize Timber Revenues From Partnership Principles?  IV. DECOUPLING COUNTY BUDGETS FROM ORS 530 TIMBER HARVEST REVENUES      A. Economic Benefits of Decoupling.      B. Ecological Benefits of Decoupling         Correcting the Statutory Incentive to Maximize Timber Harvests      D. Socio Political Benefits of Decoupling   V. MODELING THE REVENUE GAP CREATED BY AN AGREEMENT TO MANAGE CRITICAL      HABITAT IN ORS 530 LANDS FOR PERMANENT CONSERVATION      A. Modeling the Revenue Gap That Results from Decoupling         1. Revenue Shortfalls in Clatsop, Tillamook and Washington            Counties Resulting from Decreased Timber Harvesting         2. Impact of Decreased Timber Harvesting on Timber Jobs      B. Impact of Decoupling on Statewide School Equalization Funding  VI. FUNDING OPTIONS FOR DECOUPLED LANDS: UPFRONT FUNDING INFUSION      AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICE MONETIZATION PROGRAMS  "      A. Upfront Funding Infusion      B. ORS 530 Land Revenue from Non-Extractive Ecosystem Services         1. Monetizing the Watershed Values of the ORS 530 Lands         2. Monetizing the C[O.sub.2] Sequestration Value of the ORS 530         Lands              a. Voluntary Carbon Offset Schemes in the United States              b. Regulatory Schemes to Trade Forest Carbon         3. Monetizing the Recreation and Aesthetic Values            of the ORS 530 Lands              a. Collection of State Forest Fees--Siuslaw National Forest                 Comparative Case Study              b. Salmon Surcharge on Sport Fishing Licenses              c. State Highway Toll for US 26 and US 6. VII. CONCLUSION 

I. INTRODUCTION

As a result of high moisture, moderate temperatures, and low fire frequency, the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests of the Oregon Pacific Coast Range (1) support a year-long growing season that produces a rich array of animal and plant species. (2) These same conditions also lead to the growth of large trees that are valuable as timber. (3) In many places within the forests, preservation of the biologically unique forest ecosystem cannot coexist with the long-entrenched timber harvesting industry. (4) In the late 1800s and early 1900s, exploitative and often fraudulent timber harvesting (and profiteering) dominated Oregon's economic and political landscape. (5) In an effort to provide a more measured alternative to true timber primacy, the state legislature passed a series of acts in the 1930s and 1940s instructing how to manage forestland acquired by the state in a more multi-faceted way. (6) As a result of this legislation, the counties that primarily house these state forests--Clatsop, Tillamook, and Washington Counties, hereafter referred to as the "counties" (7)--have relied on harvests to support their local budgets and thus have a vested interest in keeping harvests high. (8) Because of this interest, the counties have effectively lobbied the state to favor timber-centric management of these state forest units. (9) However, management that consistently allows for high harvest levels is not ecologically sustainable, and may not comply with Oregon's legal standards. As such, a change of course that monetizes non-timber values and creates proper management incentivizes is necessary.

This preference for timber-centric management of state forests dates back to Oregon's pioneer days, and is thus deeply ingrained in the region's conscience. Although timber harvesting in the Pacific Coast Range began in the 1830s, the industry expanded enormously around the turn of the twentieth century when market demand, railway improvements, and capital improved access to the timber supply. …

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