Forest Restoration and Industry Retention
Montana's forest industry is integral to forest management.
Millions of acres of forestland in Montana are impacted by forest insects and disease, which alters forest function (carbon sequestration, forest respiration, habitat) as well as adding to increased fuel loads. While there is much debate as to whether, in and of itself, dead forests are at increased risk for fire ignition, one thing is clear: if a fire becomes established in an area with heavy fuel loading and dead, dry timber, the intensity of the fire will be greater and more difficult to suppress.
Restoring forests is not an inexpensive proposition; costs-per-acre for treatments for fuel reduction work range from $500 per acre to several thousand. One of the best ways to offset the high costs of these restoration treatments is by harvesting commercial timber in addition to less valuable trees. In some cases, the value of commercial timber can easily cover the cost of the entire project. At a minimum, the costs are reduced. This, of course, depends on having a purchaser for raw materials.
Though there have been several mill closures in Montana in the past decade, the state's remaining logging industry and milling infrastructure is still intact and integrated. Montana mills can take all of the commercial logs from forest restoration projects, processing them into a variety of products and providing good paying jobs for Montanans. The equation is clear: healthy forests rely upon healthy mills. They are inseparable; Montana's forest industry is integral to our ability to manage forests for all of the benefits they provide.
Governor Bullock's Forests in Focus Initiative seeks to:
- Promote active forest management and adequate timber supply;
- Reinforce the importance of Montana's logging and milling infrastructure; and
- Promote new technologies and markets for a variety of products, including:
- Cross-laminated timber fabrication and construction;
- Wood biomaterials for organic flavorings and fragrance markets;
- Decentralized wood-heating systems for rural schools, hospitals and public facilities; and
- Cellulosic nanotechnology for a variety of uses.
The relationship between Montana mills and our ability to manage forests cannot be overstated. Simply put, you can't effectively have one without the other!
2705 Spurgin Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: (406) 542-4300
Fax: (406) 542-4217