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An Analysis of the Effects of Northern Spotted Owl Conservation, Harvest Replanning, a Log Embargo, and Recession on the Northwest Log and Lumber Trade

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Protection of habitat for the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) became a major feature of land management and timber production in the Pacific Northwest in 1990, with designation of about 8 million ac as Habitat Conservation Areas (HCAs), mostly on public lands (USDA Forest Service et al. 1990). Additional owl-conservation provisions were recommended for half the forestland base outside HCAs, including private timberland. Concerns were raised immediately about impacts of these proposals, now being implemented, for the region's timber economy. Our study was aimed at portraying key economic effects of the owl conservation strategy--log and lumber price changes, production and export levels--within the context of rapidly changing policy and economic climates. We estimated the effects of new forest plans (most of which carry harvest reductions independent of provisions for the owl); a new embargo on exports of logs that affects timber from state lands; and the economic recession that continued from late 1990 into 1991. Effects of these conditions were gauged separately and in concert with owl impacts, for western Washington and western Oregon, here termed the fir region. We analyzed the degree to which lumber would substitute for logs in the export market, and likely interactions between domestic and offshore markets. We also assessed the degree to which the policy-driven timber supply changes can be expected to yield less-than-proportionate volume impacts and higher-than-proportionate price movements in the short run. West. J. Appl. For. 6(4):87-90.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 4043 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

Publication date: 1991-10-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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