Umpqua Watersheds Blog

President's Corner

President’s Corner

Published March 12th, 2024 in President's Corner

By Janice Reid

There are nearly 1000 non-profits or charitable organizations in Douglas County, Oregon. Umpqua Watersheds is the only non-profit in the county that has fought to preserve older forests. Other conservation or natural resources organizations have more specific missions, including fish or water protection. These organizations are dedicated and work hard for the resource, which is their main focus. At least one local organization has recently proposed to change historical oversight of federal forests and wants to take the reins on managing them. Still, the truth is that the organization, which is heavily funded, is interested in heavily impacting older forests. Ecologist Frank Edwin Egler says, “Nature is not more complicated than you think; it is more complicated than you CAN think.” UW believes the system, the old growth ecosystem, is functioning well and that any plans to put old growth on a rotational schedule are short-sighted and greedy. Unfortunately, those who want to liquidate and “transition” old growth believe an 800-year-old forest can be on a much shorter rotation. Any shortcut to “develop” heterogeneous complexity is likely to fail. The old-growth ecosystem supports a variety of plant and animal life, and manipulating the system without protecting and preserving significant amounts of older forests is likely to lead down the path of a trophic cascade. You cannot trade one old-growth tree today for 4 in 350 years. No agreement or forest plan lasts that long. The Northwest Forest Plan is 30 years old and is currently being targeted for revisions, ones that will likely lead to less, not more, protection for the old-growth forests. But UW will be there fighting to make our voices heard along with many other groups outside of Douglas County.



Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)