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Forestry > Production
Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems
Some of the most productive forests
in the world can be found in western Oregon, particularly
in the northern part of the Coast Range. This sustainability
criterion measures the area of forest land available for
timber production, the amount of growing stock (volume of
wood present), and the annual removal or harvest of both
wood and non-wood products.
for wood products is increasing. People are building bigger
houses, and using more lumber to build them. It takes about
13,000 board feet of lumber to build an average house in
the U.S. Oregon's forests provide some of that lumber.
In the past, as much as 9.8 billion
board feet of timber was harvested in Oregon in a single
Map courtesy of Oregon Department
Since the early 1990s the harvest level
has greatly declined, mostly due to decreased harvesting
in federal forests under the Northwest Forest Plan. The
present harvest level (2002) is only about 3.92 billion
board feet per year, most of which comes from industrial
land and small woodlots.
Meanwhile, Oregon's forests keep growing.
Estimates of sustainable levels of harvest range from 4.2
billion to 7.4 billion board feet per year. All of these
estimates are well above the level currently being harvested,
on both private and public lands. And the current harvest
is far below the states maximum potential to produce
wood on forestlands not Congressionally withdrawn for other
uses, estimated at 9.25 billion board feet per year (2003
Forestry Program for Oregon). Most people would agree that
Oregon's timber is being harvested at a sustainable level.
products: We don't know the quantity of mushrooms, floral
greenery, and other non-wood products that can be sustainably
harvested, or even how much is actually being removed from
our forests each year.