The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (FERRA) which has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Forests for Future Generations Act which has been introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide our federal land managers the tools and resources necessary to complete a swift and thorough evaluation of forest conditions after a wildfire, an ice storm or other catastrophic event and allow for expeditious plans to recover the health of these lands and to provide for their rehabilitation. Further these rules encourage public participation, follow an overwhelmingly bipartisan appeals and litigation process, and require collaboration with states, local governments, tribes, colleges and universities and other interested parties.
WHEREAS, natural disasters such as tornadoes, wind storms, and insect epidemics are frequent occurrences in the forest of the United States. Large-scale catastrophic wildfires have become more common in recent years and are expected to continue until the health of our forest is restored. With approximately 190 million acres of federal land at high risk of catastrophic fire, restoration of forests will take many years.
WHEREAS, because of catastrophic events, there are now over one million acres on our national forests in need of reforestation-and this number is increasing. Rapid assessment of damage, quick action, and funding are needed following catastrophic events to restore landscapes and prevent additional reforestation backlog.
WHEREAS, the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act and Forests for Future Generations Act would address these concerns by requiring that any catastrophic event over 1,000 acres must be quickly evaluated and restoration recommendations made. At that point, the Secretary could use existing law to address the problem, or if expedited restoration work is needed, expedited environmental review of proposed actions would be performed by the agencies and would include full public notice and participation. Emergency reforestation and restoration projects would then commence using funding sources for both federal and non-federal land, including annual appropriations.
NOW, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Oregon Logging Conference and its members go on record in support of both the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act and the Forests for Future Generations Act. These acts would greatly help to reestablish forests after catastrophic events. By using rapid assessment of conditions, quick action to assist in recovery, and additional funding sources, further degradation of our forests would be prevented and faster reforestation efforts would take place.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these acts increase the opportunity for timely salvage of timber following catastrophic events which will provide for better utilization of fiber, quicker rehabilitation of the forests, and for maintaining critical forest products jobs.