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Environment, Energy and Transportation

Developers Of The Northwest Forest Plan Urge Permanent Protection For Mature Forests

A northern spotted owl in the old growth forest of Oregon.
A northern spotted owl in the old growth forest of Oregon.

Johnson and Franklin say old trees should remain standing

The health and vitality of forest ecosystems in the Northwest, and how much timber should be cut from those forests, is laid out in the Northwest Forest Plan.

But that plan was created in the mid-1990s, and has not changed substantially since then, says Norm Johnson, one of its developers. He and his longtime colleague, Jerry Franklin, recently penned an opinion piece in The Register-Guard newspaper, opposing the planned logging of about 2,000 acres of mature trees (100-150 years old) in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest.

Johnson and Franklin say that in the time since the plan was written, forestry science has yielded a much deeper understanding of the ecological importance of these trees, including how they sequester carbon and provide habitat for countless species.

Johnson and Franklin joined OPB's "Think Out Loud" to discuss what’s at stake with this specific planned cut, and why they think new science should change the direction of forest management in Oregon.
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