Communities that depend
on the forests
Many communities throughout Oregon, especially those in rural areas, depend on forests for their livelihood. According to the latest statistics, Oregon's forest sector still supports over 61,000 jobs, with an average annual wage of $50,000.
Rural communities have logged and cared for nearby federal forests for decades. These forests provided jobs for the community, and through an agreement with the federal government, 25 percent of all timber revenue went to help fund education, road construction and fire and police protection. However, since the implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994, timber harvesting has decreased significantly, leaving many people without jobs and the community without the same amount of monetary support for essential services. A decline in forest health and fire resiliency is a direct result of passive management, especially in Oregon’s dryer eastern forests. Increased active management of federal forestland can improve the overall health of a forest ecosystem, while leading to stronger, healthier communities that make a positive contribution to the state’s overall economy.
Federal programs designed to help support these communities financially expired in 2015, resulting in a situation where untouched federal forestlands grow increasingly susceptible to fire and insect infestation, while communities of forest professionals leave to find work elsewhere.