Oregon State University expects to have nearly 200,000 visitors to its research forests this year. For many visitors, the impression they will be left with is increasingly one of large clear-cuts. Many folks just assume OSU's forest managers are experts and follow their Research Forest Plan. In news articles, the dean maintains they are following the principles of their 2005 plan, but, "That doesn't mean we follow it to a T" (The Oregonian).
A detailed assessment paints a very different picture. In the past couple of years, OSU staff have conducted eight large clear-cuts (ranging from about 15 to 31 acres in size) in the South Zone of the McDonald Forest. The 2005 plan designated the region from the Saddle down to Oak Creek as a "structurally diverse" zone, managed primarily for wildlife and recreational use. Under the plan, cuts in this zone are only allowed to be 1-4 acres in size. The current "Maple Syrup" cut along Road 610 is nearly eight times larger than allowed. Imagine if the police clocked you driving 160 mph in a 20 mph zone, and you tried to argue you were "following the principles of the law, just not to a T".
The 2005 plan also has a specific guideline to maintain the 1,585 acres of nesting-roosting-foraging habitat (NRF) for northern spotted owls in the South Zone of the forest. Many of the recent cuts (including the cutting of old growth) occurred in this zone, reducing the total NRF habitat by about 166 acres (more than 10%). Clearly, the cutting of old growth violated the 2005 plan by reducing NRF habitat!
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How can there be any trust for the dean and his staff when they so egregiously violate their own forest management plan? For more details go to: https://friendsofosuoldgrowth.org/2019/08/04/following-the-plan-just-not-to-a-t/
Corvallis (Sept. 10)
The author writes on behalf of the organization Friends of OSU Old Growth.