Update from the Committee for Family Forestlands

About the Committee for Family Forestlands

Established in 2000 by the Oregon Legislature at the request of the Oregon Board of Forestry, the Committee for Family Forestlands’ overall priority is to keep family forestlands in forest, by helping address the challenges to maintaining the viability of family forestlands.  The Committee advises the Board and the State Forester on matters such as developing financial incentives, maintaining infrastructure, preventing forest fragmentation and conversion, and the potential effects that changes in forest policy may have on family forestland owners.  The Committee also gives guidance to the Department of Forestry on efforts to provide and improve services to family woodland owners and to raise public awareness of the role that family forestlands play in maintaining a healthy forest environment, economically, socially, and ecologically. 

The Committee meets on a regular basis.  Members include four family forestland owners (representing small to large acreage ownerships in various regions of the state), a citizen at large, representatives of the environmental community, and a forest industry representative.  Ex-officio members include representatives from Oregon State University, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Associated Oregon Loggers, and the Department of Forestry.

By: Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension and Susan Watkins, Yamhill County Landowner, and Vice-Chair of the Committee for Family Forests

The Committee for Family Forestlands (CFF) provides a family landowner's perspective to the Oregon Board of Forestry and the State Forester.  The Committee’s work is guided by landowner inputs such as the 2005 Family Forest symposium and by emerging events. 

The CFF recently presented its Annual Report to the Board of Forestry.  The report provides details of the CFF’s work during the past year, and identifies issues likely to affect forest landowners in the year ahead. Here are some highlights.

FY 2010-2011 Activities

The continuing state budget crisis and projected Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) budget occupied much of the CFF’s time this past year, reflecting the Committee’s continued concern about the Department’s revenue sources and budget.  The Committee also provided comments on ongoing issues like the importance of forestry infrastructure and economic capacity, biomass utilization schemes, and forest protection and provided the Department with the small landowners' perspective during the search for a new State Forester. The CFF worked closely with ODF as an important emerging issue developed regarding the Department of Environmental Quality’s process for updating water quality standards.    

Looking ahead to FY 2011-2012

Consistent with the Board of Forestry’s policy objectives for Private Forests, "keeping family forestlands in forest (keeping working forests working)" will remain the key issue for the Committee.  In the coming year, the CFF plans to address a group of related issues that potentially affect family forestlands: 

  • developing new revenue & budget models to maintain and rebuild critical capacity at ODF maintaining the infrastructure & economic vitality of Oregon’s forestry sector addressing forest management issues for Eastern Oregon  
  • finding ways to help transfer family forest lands from one generation of landowners to the next
  • assisting the Department as it takes a strategic look at the way the Private Forests program delivers services

See related stories on the ODF’s rebuilding and the Governor’s request for a review of forest roads ruling.  The full CFF report to the Board of Forestry http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/BOARD/CFF/BOFATTCH_20110728_05_01.pdf is available on the Board of Forestry website  http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/BOARD/CFF/cff.shtml , which also provides links to past Committee work and an opportunity to send comments to the Committee.  The Committee welcomes your thoughts. Please share.