Oregon is a wonderful, green landscape to settle down in, and that’s what many people have done. And yet, a shocking amount of trees have been cut or burned throughout the years. Oregon produces the most lumber of any state, accounting for about one-fifth of the country’s wood supply, although clear-cutting, which is the most widely used form of logging, is not sustainable for forests or wildlife. Deforestation, the overharvesting of trees, is a big problem in Douglas County.
In the words of Krystal Alvey, a teacher at Roseburg High School, “The most obvious negative impact is that it takes habitat away from wildlife such as birds, squirrels, weasels (such as martens and fishers) and SO much more.”
Private companies own over 10 million acres of Oregon’s 30 million acres of timberland. Many of these companies participate in clearcutting. This causes detrimental effects on ecosystems in forests and can make forest fires spread more quickly.
As many Oregonians know, in recent years fire season has been starting sooner and lasting longer than it has in past years. The most recent local fire incident was the Archie Creek fire of 2020 located in Glide, Oregon which burned over 130,000 acres of forestland.
While many people believe deforestation is an issue, there are people that don’t see the problem; this can be because logging has played a huge role in Oregon’s economy for many years. According to the Oregon Employment Department’s covered employment statistics, in 2020, 772 forestry and logging firms employed 9,041 workers statewide and added $589 million in payroll to Oregon’s economy.
Saying logging should be stopped in Oregon is not my intent, but doing it more sustainably will help forest ecosystems in the long run. Selective cutting, the select cutting of trees in a forest to not affect the growth of other trees, would majorly improve habitats and forest health.
While forestry companies are required to replant trees for what they cut down, the majority of the trees replanted are Douglas Firs, which kills biodiversity in forests. Biodiversity is important to the health of forests and soil health.