"We do forestry right in Oregon, and we should all be proud of that."
That's what Sara Wu, the director of the World Forest Institute, said when accepting the International Business Award from the Oregon Consular Corps (see story).
What a refreshing comment. In an era where lawsuits against forest landowners still make headlines, Sara's comment is a great reminder of how far the forest sector has come. That's not to say we always get it right or there isn't more to learn. We're learning every day, and forest practices change to keep up with the times.
As we built our new website, I was amazed to learn that the Oregon Legislature has amended the Oregon Forest Practices Act 20 times since it was first passed in 1971. And the Oregon Board of Forestry has modified the administrative rules and regulations dozens of times to meet the law's requirements.
That means that as new science and experience have come to light, our citizen legislature and citizen board - as well as forest landowners - have embraced change to make sure we protect our precious natural resources for future generations. That the act has changed and become stronger is a sign of health.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that forestry scholars from around the world come to Oregon to intern at the World Forest Institute, located at the World Forestry Center near Washington Park. Oregon is "ground zero" for advanced forest management practices. What we do here has influence far beyond our state borders. And that's something of which we can all be proud.
- Paul Barnum