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Oregon decides not to certify state forests

A dozen states have obtained independent certification that timber-cutting practices in their state forests meet the standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council and/or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

But Oregon is not among them.

The Oregon Department of Forestry, which manages 821,000 acres of land in its state forests, started discussing the idea back in 2001, says Tony Andersen, the agency’s public information officer.

Then in 2005 the agency studied whether to get Forest Stewardship Council certification for forest land in the Klamath Lake District, but decided against pursuing it, Andersen says.

by: STAFF PHOTO - oregon certificationThe agency decided that getting certification was too costly and would not allow enough flexibility to meet state mandates for timber production, among other factors.

State forests are bound by law to earn money for the Common School Fund and adjacent counties by selling timber. Those and other mandates can change year to year, and are subject to political pressures and budget considerations.

At the time the department analyzed applying for FSC certification, it cost an estimated $1 an acre, and independent audits would cost about 20 cents an acre, Andersen says.

“It’s just not penciling out at the moment,” he says.

Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee have certification for their state forests from the Forest Stewardship Council, according to Andersen’s research.

Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin have dual certification from the FSC and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.