25th anniversary of spotted owl listing: fewer owls, less timber industry – PDN

While there is less timber industry, the reduction in jobs is likely from automation, not environmental protection. And many other factors. In short, it would have happened anyway. The Spotted Owl was and is a convenient target. I just returned from a road trip, and saw lumber mills of various types from Central Oregon, to Sacramento, and over to the North California Coast and  back to Grays Harbor. Everywhere, at every single mill, are more log stockpiles than I’ve seen since the shipping of raw logs to Japan in the early 80s. In one morning, I counted 8 full logging trucks in less than 10 minutes heading into a mill near Astoria. It’s just not true to say that the Spotted Owl regulations is stopping logging. It apparently was 13% of the timber on the Olympic Peninsula, yet is blamed for an almost 70% drop in logging. Not possible. It was so many more things, though it contributed. Perhaps the local independent loggers  would have been better served coming to a solution sooner, rather than blaming the environs. Good work by George Erg. More on this next week.

The heated debate over whether to curtail the logging of old-growth forests to protect the northern spotted owl was at full throttle when the federal government declared the bird a threatened species June 22, 1990. At the time, environmentalists worried that the federal plan would fall short of saving the spotted owl.  Timber interests worried that a wave of environmental rules would gut the Olympic Peninsula’s wood-products industry and devastate communities. Twenty-five years later, the effects of the landmark decision can be seen in the reams of economic, industry and environmental data routinely gathered by state and federal governments. The outcomes are by turns expected, disheartening and surprising. George Erb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Some of the findings are worth noting. For example…

The Asian log-export market also tanked after 1990, with log exports to Japan plunging 70 percent from 1989 to 2000, according to a U.S. Forest Service study. Asian companies were big buyers of private logs exported through the Port of Port Angeles and elsewhere.

Read a good summary of the findings at


One Response

  1. we see the same in Canada, the destruction of the Boreal forests across the country, old growth forests here on the coast, and now a portion of old growth left unprotected after the 90’s Clayoquot protests may be logged, as well as supposedly protected Great Bear Rainforest where the “sprirt” bear lives.

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