Keeping forestlands viable
Conversion takes place when forestland is developed for some other use, such as agriculture, home development or even a vineyard. Also known as deforestation, once forestland is converted, it rarely returns to forestland, and with it goes the benefits of cleaner air, cleaner water and wildlife habitats. Converting forestland can also cause habitat fragmentation and migration barriers for wildlife.
Across the world, a shocking 50 percent of forestland has been converted to some other use, primarily for agriculture. However, in Oregon the statistics are much different. It is estimated that only 8 percent of Oregon’s forestland has been converted to non-forest use since 1630, while our population has increased tenfold. And modern statistics show that since 1953, less than 1 percent of Oregon’s forestland has been converted.
Often, conversion takes place because economic or regulatory issues make owning and maintaining the land as forest no longer financially feasible, particularly for family forestland owners. Their only alternative is to sell or convert the land to some other use.