Salvage logging in private forests in full swing

BLM still in planning stages for cutting timber on public lands

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GLENDALE, Ore. (AP) — Salvage logging on land burned this past summer by the Douglas Complex wildfire in Southwest Oregon is going strong in privately owned forests, but not in federal ones.

Roseburg Forest Products has cut 8 million board feet from its land near Glendale and plans to cut 32 million board feet more. But the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is still in the planning process and has no firm timber targets for the public land.

The difference highlights the contrast between industrial logging under the Oregon Forest Practices Act and logging on public land that must conform to federal environmental laws.

Phil Adams of Roseburg Forest Products said the company wants to harvest dead trees quickly before they lose value from rot.

The company plans to spend $6 million on planting seedlings and other restoration on 8,000 acres. He said that investment would be at risk if fire breaks out in the dead trees on nearby BLM land.

The Douglas Complex fire burned 48,679 acres. Of that, 23,000 acres is private land held by 27 landowners. The rest is in the BLM's Roseburg and Medford districts. Most of the 19,000 acres in the Medford District is classified as matrix, where timber production is the primary goal. Most of the 6,000 acres in the Roseburg District is old-growth forest reserve, where fish and wildlife habitat is the primary goal. BLM Roseburg District spokesman Cheyne Rossbach said any salvage logging was likely to come from matrix lands. It would be late summer or fall before an environmental assessment is completed on those lands.

Federal laws require public participation, which can create a lengthy planning process. Private timberland owners can start logging within 15 days of filing a plan with the Oregon Department of Forestry.