Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 in Food For Thought |

Answering the Call –  The Fourth Challenge – Here in Oregon we have no excuse not to provide leadership in understanding and demonstrating excellent forestry; we have all of the ingredients – an ecological legacy of remarkably valuable and vibrant forests, a conducive climate, and a culture with enough comfort to allow for farsightedness.  But we’re not doing it.  Too often and in too many ways progress is blocked by crippling struggle and avoidable gridlock.  Why is this?  What holds us back?   A challenge and opportunity calls for our acknowledgement and attention; in most ways we are ignoring it.  It’s time to answer the call. Through time, as Oregon’s culture and forests have co-evolved with one another, we’ve faced and wrestled with a sequence of challenges.  Now a fourth challenge calls for – demands – our attention.  The degree to which we acknowledge and meet this challenge will powerfully influence the future of both the people and the forests.  Understanding the fourth challenge depends on first exploring the prior three.  Oregon is a welcomely diverse place and we should make clear that different groups have highlighted the importance of each of the three challenges and mustered the resources needed to meet them – at the same time that others worked to block their way.  I believe that there is reason to hope that all parties could see value in and benefit from acknowledging and working to meet the fourth challenge.  Will we answer the call? Challenge #1 – On their arrival in the Pacific Northwest, euro-americans stood in awe of many facets of the landscape, but none more than the size and majesty of the forests.  Though today we recognize that these forests provided humans with many things they needed – water, food, medicines… – the use that first captivated the newcomers was converting the trees to lumber, connecting the product with markets, and converting trees into money.  Working with rudimentary technologies, sketchily thin and often unreliable work forces, scarce capital and long, challenging hauls to markets all presented major challenges.  Step by step, subchallenges were faced and met – falling the trees, moving the logs, milling them into...

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