SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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SUBCOMMITTEE ON FOREST AND FOREST HEALTH
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE CONGRESS THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD MANAGE ITS PUBLIC DOMAIN NATIONAL FORESTS TO MAXIMIZE THE REDUCTION OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE AMONG MANY OTHER OBJECTIVES AND THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD SERVE AS AN EXAMPLE AND AS A WORLD LEADER IN ACTIVELY MANAGING ITS PUBLIC DOMAIN NATIONAL FORESTS IN A MANNER THAT SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE ADDED TO THE ATMOSPHERE
SEPTEMBER 18, 1997, WASHINGTON, DC
Serial No. 10561
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCRICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
LINDA SMITH, Washington
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN SHADEGG, Arizona
JOHN E. ENSIGN, Nevada
ROBERT F. SMITH, Oregon
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho
GEORGE MILLER, California
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
SAM FARR, California
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA CHRISTIAN-GREEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
LLOYD DOGGETT, Texas
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho, Chairman
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, Am. Samoa
BILL SIMMONS, Staff Director
ANNE HEISSENBUTTEL, Legislative Staff
LIZ BIRNBAUM, Democratic Counsel
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held September 18, 1997
Statements of Members:
Chenoweth, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Prepared statement of
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Statements of witnesses:
Department of the Interior, prepared statement of
Lyons, James R., Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, United States Department of Agriculture
Prepared statement of
Oliver, Chadwick D., Professor, University of Washington, College of Forest Resources
PerezGarcia, John M., Associate Professor, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington
Prepared statement of John M. PerezGarcia, Associate Professor, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington and Chadwick D. Oliver, Professor, University of Washington, College of Forest Resources
Ross, Gordon, County Commissioner, Coos County, Oregon
Prepared statement of
Affidavit of Gordon Ross
How Much Old Growth Can We Save?
Additional material supplied:
Evergreen, magazine, question and answer
Forest and Wood Products, Role in Carbon Sequestration, R. Neil Sampson
Text of H.Con.Res. 151
HEARING ON: H.CON.RES. 151, EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE CONGRESS THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD MANAGE ITS PUBLIC DOMAIN NATIONAL FORESTS TO MAXIMIZE THE REDUCTION OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE AMONG MANY OTHER OBJECTIVES AND THAT THE UNITED STATES SHOULD SERVE AS AN EXAMPLE AND AS A WORLD LEADER IN ACTIVELY MANAGING ITS PUBLIC DOMAIN NATIONAL FORESTS IN A MANNER THAT SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE ADDED TO THE ATMOSPHERE.
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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1997
House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Committee on Resources, Washington, DC.
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m. in room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Helen Chenoweth (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health will come to order. The Subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony on H.C.R 151. I would like to welcome our witnesses today. I am very pleased to be holding this hearing on H.C.R. 151, a concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that the United States should manage its public domain national forest to maximize the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere among many other objectives and that the United States should serve as an example and world leader in actively managing its public domain public forests in the manner that substantially reduces the amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.
[Text of bill H.Con.Res. 151 may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Chairman Young and I introduced this resolution along with Speaker Gingrich, Mr. Taylor of North Carolina, Mr. Herger, Mr. Peterson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Pombo, Mr. McInnis, Mr. Sessions, Mrs. Smith of Washington, Mr. Riggs, Mr. Cunningham, Mrs. Cubin, Mr. Nethercutt, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Lewis of California, Mr. Skeen, Mr. Schaffer of Colorado, Mr. Hansen and Mr. Radanovich.
Global warming has been an issue of great debate and discussion in Congress. Whether or not you believe human induced global climate change is occurred, this resolution deserves the support of everyone. Science has proven to us that carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, can be taken out of the atmosphere by allowing a young vibrant forest to absorb carbon through a photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide can also be kept out of the atmosphere by harvesting the forest before it begins to decompose or burn, thus storing the carbon in wood products that are environmentally friendly as well as providing an economic benefit to society and to communities.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the words of Gifford Pinchot quoting from his book Breaking New Ground, he states, ''the purpose of forestry, then, is to make the forest produce the largest possible amount of whatever crop or service will be most useful, and keep on producing it generation after generation.'' I agree with these sage words and feel that we must manage our forests better. One of the things that we must begin to do is to improve the management of the national forests to maximize the benefit to our environment.
In December of this year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change, which may commit the United States to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions, is expected to be signed in Kyoto, Japan. The ramifications of this treaty could be enormous for people in the United States, our economy and our way of life.
There are alternatives to mandatory reductions of carbon emissions. One alternative is to manage our public forests better in order to extract from the atmosphere and store more carbon dioxide than we currently do. This means giving and using the controls on greenhouse gases that mother nature gives to us rather than controls that government mandates this nation to follow.
President Teddy Roosevelt said, ''we have a right and a duty second to none, to protect ourselves and our children against the wasteful development of our natural resources, whether that waste is caused by the actual destruction of such resources or by making them impossible of development hereafter.'' Our charge then is to strike a proper balance in the management of our forests to maximize the benefits to the environment and prevent the wasteful development and destruction of our natural resources.
The thrust of this resolution is to direct the Federal Government to take the lead in managing our national forests to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By managing our public domain national forests to minimize additions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere we will improve air quality, the health of our Nation's forests and set an example for other nations as the world prepares for the negotiations in Kyoto, Japan.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Ms. Chenoweth follows.:]
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
I would like to welcome our witnesses out today. I am very pleased to be holding this hearing on H.Con.Res. 151, a concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that the United States should manage its public domain National Forests to maximize the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere among many other objectives and that the United States should serve as an example and as a world leader in actively managing its public domain national forests in a manner that substantially reduces the amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.
Chairman Young and I introduced this resolution along with Speaker Gingrich, Mr. Taylor of North Carolina, Mr. Herger, and Mr. Peterson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Pombo, Mr. McInnis, Mr. Sessions, Mrs. Smith of Washington, Mr. Riggs, Mr. Cunningham, Mrs. Cubin, Mr. Nethercutt, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Lewis of California, Mr. Skeen, Mr. Schaffer of Colorado, Mr. Hansen, and Mr. Radanovich.
Global warming has been an issue of great debate and discussion in Congress. Whether or not you believe human induced global climate change is occurring, this resolution deserves the support of everyone. Science has proven to us that carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas can be taken out of the atmosphere by allowing a young vibrant forest to absorb carbon through photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide can also be kept out of the atmosphere by harvesting the forest before it begins to decompose or burn, thus storing the carbon in wood products that are environmentally friendly, as well as providing an economic benefit to society.
In the words of Gifford Pinchot quoting from his book Breaking New Ground, he states, ''the purpose of Forestry, then, is to make the forest produce the largest possible amount of whatever crop or service will be most useful, and keep on producing it generation after generation . . .'' I agree with these sage words, and feel that we must manage our forests better. One of the things that we must begin to do is to improve the management of the National Forests to maximize the benefit to the environment.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In December of this year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which may commit the United States to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions, is expected to be signed in Kyoto, Japan. The ramifications of this treaty could be enormous for people, the economy and our way of life.
There are alternatives to mandatory reductions of carbon emissions. One alternative is to manage our public forests better in order to extract from the atmosphere and store more carbon dioxide than we currently do. This means using the controls on greenhouse gasses that mother nature gives to us rather than controls that government mandates us to follow.
President Teddy Roosevelt said, ''we have a right and duty second to none, to protect ourselves and our children against the wasteful development of our natural resources, whether that waste is caused by the actual destruction of such resources or by making them impossible of development hereafter.'' Our charge then is to strike a proper balance in the management of our forests to maximize the benefits to the environment and prevent the wasteful development of our natural resources.
The thrust of this resolution is to direct the Federal Government to take the lead in managing our National Forests to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. By managing our public domain national forests to minimize additions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere we will improve air quality, the health of our nation's forests and set an example for other nation's, as the world prepares for the negotiations in Kyoto, Japan.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And when the Ranking Minority Member arrives, I will recognize him for a statement. But now I will introduce our first panel, Mr. Jim Lyons, Undersecretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture. Mr. Lyons, good to see you again.
Mr. LYONS. Good to see you.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Lyons, would you proceed.
STATEMENT OF JAMES R. LYONS, UNDERSECRETARY FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. LYONS. Thank you, Madam Chairman, and I want to apologize up front for the delay in getting testimony to you. We focused on some issues in the Senate the last few days and therefore, we were not able to focus in on this important matter, so I do apologize. I am also glad to see that you have been reading Breaking New Ground, which I gave you just the other day, so
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is right. I am enjoying it very much.
Mr. LYONS. Very good. I am glad you are into it. I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Administration's views regarding the active management of the national forests to maximize reduction in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We welcome the Congress' attention to this matter and concern for arresting, or at least addressing, global climate change, and we look forward to working with you in that regard. However, we must oppose H. Con. Res. 151 because of its narrow focus and perhaps its conflict with existing national forest management policy and legal direction.
The premise of the concurrent resolution is that young, fast-growing trees fix carbon dioxide more efficiently than mature trees, and therefore, the Forest Service should maximize carbon sequestration by harvesting mature trees, converting the wood to durable products and replanting sites with seedlings, which will then take up carbon at a faster rate.
As the Committee is aware, the scientific basis for our mutual concerns about global climate changes is extremely complex. Accordingly, our efforts to make substantive policy changes are equally complex and driven by scientific analysis. What I would like to do this morning is make three basic points or address three basic issues. One is the role of recycling in dealing with this issue; the second is the role of the national forests in the carbon cycle; and the third is the potential for carbon sequestration from Federal lands as opposed to private lands.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Forest Service Research Program has done some extensive research quantifying the benefits of recycling wood fiber on carbon releases into the environment. Through technology developed by the Federal Government and the private sector and supported by government incentives to recycle, the U.S. has made significant contributions to carbon sequestration by reducing energy costs of production and by reusing wood fibers several times before it ultimately ends up in landfills or disposed of in some other way.
Recognizing the value of storing carbon in wood products and substituting wood products for more fossil fuel-consuming products, the President included in his 1993 Climate Change Action Plan, a proposal to extend paper recycling technology research. Priorities included research on the use of recycled wood and fiber in durable structural products suitable for the housing market. The President requested $2 million in increased funding for that research, however, unfortunately, only $200,000 was appropriated.
The President's Forest Plan in the Pacific Northwest was analyzed specifically for its contribution to carbon sequestration. It thus offers, I think, a good case study to evaluate national forest management policies in general. Since a great deal of time and effort has been placed on the development of that plan. Contrary to the presumption of the concurrent resolution, the conservation strategy and the President's Forest Plan actually increases the amount of carbon dioxide sequestration by about 7 million metric tons per year by the year 2000. A careful balance was struck in forest protection and management in seeking to protect old-growth forests as described well in a 1990 Science magazine article by Harmon, Ferrell and Jerry Franklin, one of the key architects of the plan.
In addition, the President's Forest Plan adopted strict standards harvesting so as to minimize the environmental effects of harvesting timber in the so-called matrix lands into the Forest Plan. And this approach, in fact, is supported by the work of R. Neil Sampson, who has testified before this Committee many times. Neil found that harvesting practices, such as clear cutting, eliminate canopy shade, increase soil temperatures, accelerate organic decomposition due to soil disturbance and have other negative impacts on carbon storage in the forested ecosystem. Since the Forest Plan minimizes clear cuts and focuses on protecting shade, foliage and canopy closures and, of course, minimizing ground disturbance because of the potential effects on water quality, the plan seems consistent with the recommendations of Mr. Sampson.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Lastly, the President's Forest Plan meets all Federal land management and environmental laws and your resolution would create, I believe, a conflict with existing law. While the resolution suggests that national forests should be managed to maximize carbon sequestration, current law requires us to practice, of course, multiple use as requested by the philosophy of Gifford Pinchot and others. U.S. forest sector will store about 109 million metric tons of carbon in the year 2000. Of this, the national forests are projected to fix 21 million metric tons of carbon, store over 8 billion tons, as well as conserve biodiversity and provide for multiple use according to our legal mandates. And although the annual carbon storage and private forests is expected to decline over the next several decades due to the declining net growth in the Northeast, as trees age and removal of trees in the South increases, probably at the same rate as growth, annual carbon accumulation in our national forests is expected to increase.
Finally, what I would like to do, Madam Chairman, is turn to the issue of maximizing growth of new biomass through forest management and how we best would capture that to achieve the goals that I think are part of your concurrent resolution. As you know, the productivity of forest land varies widely across the United States. Productivity, that is the rate at which trees grow or wood is accumulated, biomass is accumulated, is influenced by soil type and soil depth, growing season, rain fall, and many other factors. Productivity is commonly measured according to the number of cubic feet of wood which one acre of land could grow annually in a year's time. If Congress were interested in maximizing carbon sequestration through tree growth, I would suggest that is more logical for us to focus on investing in those most productive sites which will grow trees the quicker. Now I know you know this, Madam Chairman, but I just want to point out that 73 percent of the forest land in the United States is actually in private ownership, 59 percent, almost two thirds, is owned by what we refer to as nonindustrial private forest landowners, 14 percent of that is owned by the industry. Of the remaining 27 percent of land, which is in public ownership, the Forest Service administers 17 percent. The Forest Service published a document called Forest Resources of the United States (1994), which summarizes forest productivity across all land ownerships using the standard of 85 cubic feet per acre per year as a rate of production. In the West, for example, the Forest Service notes that 67 percent of the private industrial lands are capable of producing more than 85 cubic feet per year compared to only 15 percent on the national forests. The reason for this is that national forest lands are typically high elevation lands with shorter growing seasons, are often on steep slopes and poor sites. In fact that is why they are in public ownership and they have been referred to in the past as the lands that no one wanted. As Americans moved West and homesteaded, they, of course, homesteaded in those lands that were easier to access, that were more productive, that could support what then, of course, was an agrarian economy.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Similarly, in the East, 55 percent of the private industrial land is capable of producing 85 cubic feet or more a year compared to only 20 percent of the national forest land. This trend is the same, though less dramatic, between nonindustrial private lands and national forest lands in both East and West. And in fact if you were to look at a breakdown of land ownership types by productivity, you would findindustry lands, industrial lands are the most productive by far. Private nonindustrial lands are second. National forest system lands are third, and other public lands, lands administered by the BLM, Department of Defense and others are last in terms of productivity.
My point is this, if growing trees quickly is our goal or the goal of the resolution, so as to maximize carbon sequestration, in my mind, it makes much more sense to focus our efforts to areas where we will receive the greatest return on our investment, in our investment in terms of carbon sequestration. That is on the most productive lands, i.e., private lands.
The Forest Service can help make this investment, not through a change in priorities in our land management of public lands, but by providing technical and financial assistance to private landowners to help them increase their productivity. The state and private forestry programs of the Forest Service, and your staff and I were most recently out with the State Forest Meeting in Salt Lake City to discuss these programs, can deliver exactly this kind of assistance to landowners. In addition, the National Resources Conservation Service administers a number of programs which help landowners develop and implement plans that promote tree planting. The more efficient and effective place to focus tree planting in aggressive management really is on private lands. The President's Climate Change Action Plan includes two actions that provide technical assistance and cost-sharing assistance for nonindustrial private landowners to plant trees and improve forest management.
I would note, however, Madam Chairman, that in the budget for the Forest Service for fiscal year 1998, which was passed by the House and is being debated over on the Senate floor, the investment that is made in programs like stewardship and stewardship incentive, which are designed to help increase productivity on private nonindustrial forest lands is one tenth the investment we are making in producing timber on the national forests, which as I have just pointed out have a much lower capability to sequester carbon given their lower productivity. I would suggest if carbon sequestration were a goal, then we want to reverse that investment.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The programs that we currently have in place, stewardship and stewardship incentive, have resulted in tree planting on about 135,000 acres of land. Many states, as you know, are seeking to foster a good stewardship and encourage good land management on private and industrial lands. The State of Idaho, for example, the State of Alaska have forest practices acts. These laws continue the efforts to insure that landowners practice sustainable forestry. Some states, however, such as Georgia, do not in fact have forest practices laws. And they depend on market conditions to encourage tree planting. I would suggest another policy change that we are not responsible for, but the states are responsible for, is policies that would insure and encourage tree planting immediately after harvest. In any case, the role of the private landowner, however, is influenced by state or Federal policy and we believe that private landowners have a much greater opportunity to contribute to the carbon sequestration goals that this concurrent resolution suggests.
There are many efforts throughout the Forest Service and the Administration which are targeted specifically to address the issue of climate change that are beyond the immediate scope of this resolution and hearing. However, in summary I want to tell you that the Administration is enthusiastically supportive of the concerns of the Congress in addressing global climate change, however, believe that the resolution is too narrowly focused and, in fact, would be counter to the other legal mandates we have for management of the national forest.
I think I will stop there, Madam Chairman, and entertain any questions you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lyons may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is very interesting testimony and I did notI was not able to study it ahead of time because, as you say, we did not receive it until last night. But I am a little surprised at it and Mr. Lyons, I have to say, you are one of the brightest men that I have met, but I am not sure that I understand the logic here at all. So I want to take this step by step and would ask, even though I know you are running between here and the Senate, I would ask that you remain for the second panel because I may want to call you back.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am not sure given the comments that you just gave us that there is a way to reasonably and logically convince the Administration to support this concept, however, I am very, very surprised at some of the, at some of the statements because we seem to be abandoning the tradition set forth by Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt, the National Forest Management Act, and did I, did I understand you to say that you feel that the focus of the work by the Forest Service in managing land should be working with private landowners on their own private land to manage their forests?
Mr. LYONS. Well what I meant to suggest, Madam Chairman, we in fact do do a great deal of work with, with private nonindustrial landowners, some with private industrial landowners, in helping to promote good stewardship of their land through the state and private programs that are run through we call a Cooperative Forestry Assistance Authorities. If we were to focus intently on carbon sequestration as a goal of land stewardship and forest management, that in fact is where we would want to focus our efforts because of the benefits of capitalizing on the higher productivity of those private lands. So if that were the case and that was our sole goal, I would suggest that is where we would be making investments.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let us look at the land mass. I think you used the figure 73 percent of our forested land is on nonFederal land. Of that 73 percent, 14 percent of the 73 percent are used for commercial harvest.
Mr. LYONS. Well, they are industrial lands technically. They are owned by the Weyerhaeusers and the Plum Creeks and the Boise Cascades.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Right.
Mr. LYONS. Some of the nonindustrial land contributes to commercial ventures as well and produces wood products. In fact a sizable portion.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So calibrating that out, that would amount to about 10.2 percent of our landbase that you are talking about. And our Federal lands, our timber dominated Federal lands are 27 percent of our landbase. And so we are abandoning not only the National Forest Management Act, but twice the landbase, and the landbase that is primarily concentrated in the Northwest, a whole sector of our country.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LYONS. I want to make sure we get the numbers right so, so we can start from the same bases. Of the entire United States, the forest landbase in the United States, 73 percent is in private ownership.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Right.
Mr. LYONS. OK, so really three quarters of our forest are in private ownership. Of the remaining forest land in the United States, which is in public management, 17 percent is administered by the Forest Service. So we have 17 percent of the 27 percent that remains. So we have a relatively small slice of the pie in terms of the total forest landbase that we administer. The most dominate share, and I wish I had a pie chart that I had yesterday to show you, is in private ownership.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I do not think it quite comes out that way but I will review your testimony.
Mr. LYONS. Well it is not true in Idaho. I will grant you that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And many of our Northwestern states. But it is my understanding that President Clinton, as said in his speech last Tuesday, September 9th, that ''we could reduce global warming pollution by 20 percent tomorrow with technology that is already available at no cost, if we would just change the way we do things.'' Does the Clinton Administration consider managing our national forests to maximize reductions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be a ''technology that is already available at no cost if we just change the way we do things.''
Mr. LYONS. Well, I would suggest, Madam Chairman, that we are seeking to manage the national forests so as to achieve that as one of many, many goals and objectives. We are managing those goals to achieve the goals that you cited in the quotation from Breaking New Ground, to assure the production of crops as Pinchot referred to them, and other goods and services that emanate from the national forests on a sustainable basis. Carbon sequestration is one element of many.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Neil Sampson wrote in Forest and Wood Products Role in Carbon Sequestration, that ''if our object is to increase carbon storage over time, however, then harvest and replanting becomes the best option.'' Do you not agree with that statement?
Mr. LYONS. I agree totally, but the key there is where do you make that investment? Where do you harvest? And where do you seek reforestation? And my point is simply this. With the productivity of private lands being so much greater than the productivity of public forest lands, that is where you are going to make that investment.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And it appears that your plans are then to pretty well shut down the Northwest.
Mr. LYONS. No, I would not say
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Let me finish my question.
Mr. LYONS. OK.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Forest Service trust funds are nearly gone. A GAO study has just come in that the press just reported on that the Forest Service is near bankrupt in its trust funds. We are having to lay off employees up inlarge numbers of employees up in the Northwest in various regions. It is a desperate situation up there. We have the Forest Service now asking for fees for services that were there for the people. I mean the argument over the last few years have been these lands belong to the people and yet we are charging people now to simply go in and gaze at these lands. And so we are transferring the ability of the Forest Service to generate income from the trust funds to now be for access in camp grounds, on cabins, in just our natural and national forests. It seems to be a great departure from the National Forest Management Act.
And while I am personally concerned and I know the Congress is that the Forest Service does not go bankrupt and does not break both its management and economically, we have got to be able to manage the forests not only economically for the best return, but for the best return in the atmosphere, and that does not mean just on private ground. It means in a whole segment in the Northwest. You know, the Forest Service has gone from harvesting around 12 billion board feet of timber each year to well below 4 billion board feet. From 12 billion to below 4 billion. And thattherein lies the problem. That is the picture. Is this trend beneficial to the forest's ability to sequester carbon, when we, as Neil Sampson has said in his, in his paper wouldvery, very well donethat this idea of reducing harvesting and replanting with good healthy trees wars against what we are trying to achieve in the balance of oxygenation and carbon dioxide sequestration. Do you agree with Mr. Sampson and that statement?
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LYONS. As, as I said, I agree with Mr. Sampson that one way to increase carbon sequestration is through harvest replanting of productive sites. And I would suggest that if you ask NeilI will let you ask Neil, I do not know if he is going to testify today or notthat he would suggest that focusing on the highly productive sites would be, would be the most productive way to go.
You mentioned the point of going bankrupt. I would suggest this, if you look at the unit cost of production of timber on the national forest as opposed to the unit cost of producing the same amount of timber from private industrial and nonindustrial lands, I think you would quickly decide if you were responsible for the entire forest landscape, you would not be investing a lot of money in, in Federal lands to produce timber, because the unit costs are astronomical compared to that on private lands. We still invest in timber production on the national forests for various reasons. To support communities, to achieve wildlife habitat improvement, to protect watersheds, to achieve other goals.
You mention Neil Sampson's excellent work on this issue of carbon sequestration. Neil points out, for example, that forest fires emit enormous amounts of carbon and can cause tremendous harm over time. The policies we have adopted to reduce fuel loads, to increase thinning and to restore fireto fire adapted ecosystems in the long term will help reduce wildfires and the emissions of high amounts of carbons. So I think that is a beneficial outcome from what we do.
Neil also points out in the same paper, though I want to mention, that the practice of clear cut harvesting attracts negative public reaction for various reasons, as he suggests. Then he goes on to talk about the fact that the Forest Service has declared a new policy minimizing the use of clear cutting as a harvest method wherever other methods are available. In fact that policy was adopted during the Bush era, not the Clinton era. But Neil points out, ''this should be a positive change in terms of carbon sinks and the effects of forest harvest upon them.''
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My point is simply this, there are a lot of factors that come, come into play. Changes in management practices can help improve the role the national forest can play in carbon sequestration. But if as the Concurrent Resolution suggests, we should focus solely on as a primary objective, trying to improve carbon sequestration, we do not want to focus on increasing timber harvest on the national forest. We want to focus on increasing land stewardship on 75 percent of the landbase that is forested and in addition, converting marginal lands to forested lands where trees can grow and can begin to accumulate carbon as other forests do.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I am veryI guess I did not believe that you would say that. I guess that it has taken me a long time to realize that there has been a paradigm shift of emphasis in the Forest Service from that of good stewardship management in the Northwest to, as you say, of being of assistance to the private landowners. I hope you are not saying that the Forest Service has become an assistant to big business at the expense ofand no doubt about it, I mean we have huge companies here in the East that are, that are doing very, very well and they are responding to market demand, and their forests are giving off great amounts of oxygen and they are maximizing the carbon sequestration because of the way they manage their forests. But I submit to you, Mr. Secretary, we are, we are abandoning an entire area in this United States that is quickly growing out of, out of balance as far as our ability to reduce fuel loads, to limit the potential of carbon being released into the atmosphere because of fire, because of unit costs. I do not think that is a good argument.
I realize you are making me very testy and this is the first time that this has happened since I have been Chairman, but I am utterly shocked at what I am hearing. And I hope that you will review this or, or submit more detail into your testimony so that we come closer in our thinking as far as, No. 1, your appearance of abandoning National Forest Management Act, and the appearance of abandoning an entire area in management in the Northwest and in California.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LYONS. If I could, Madam Chairman, I want to, I want to make clear we are certainly not abandoning our stewardship role. I infer from your statement though that you equate stewardship with timber harvesting and harvesting levels. The fact that harvest levels have declined or offer levels have declined from 12 billion board feet in some a decade or so ago, to 4 equates with abandonment of stewardship, that is not the case. I want to be abundantly clear about that. Stewardship involves harvesting trees, replanting new trees, restoring water sheds, dealing with the road maintenance and deterioration problems that we have on the national forests, providing high quality recreation, good range land improvement, et cetera, et cetera. So that is all part of our stewardship mission as required in the law. And I certainly do not mean to create friction between the good working relationship we have.
I simply want to point out that I think, I think it is wrong to manage the national forest for any one purpose. I think that is consistent with your opening statement. It is wrong to manage the national forest simply for carbon sequestration. If we want to manage forests for carbon sequestration, we would invest elsewhere. We would not invest in the national forests. We want to manage the national forest for the wide range of goods and services they can provide on a sustainable basis to help people. People in Idaho and Washington and Oregon and California, and in the East as well. And that is really our stewardship role and that is where we are headed.
This Concurrent Resolution would change our priorities and have us focus on carbon sequestration. I think the implication is that we would harvest more. That is really the wrong way to approach our stewardship role, and it is really the wrong way to achieve the carbon sequestration goals that are suggested. If the Concurrent Resolution suggested that forests nationwide should be managed to improve carbon sequestration, well then we might have a focus on which we could discuss. Because as I suggested private lands offer tremendous opportunity to capture more carbon through their productive use.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. H.C.R. 151 expresses the sense of the Congress that the U.S. should manage its public domain national forest to maximize the reduction of carbon among other objectives and that was made very clear in my opening statement and in the content of the resolution. The resolution does not require that carbon sequestration should be given a higher priority while at the same time meeting all Federal land management and environmental laws.
My question is could the objectives of this resolution be achieved while at the same time following all of our other environmental laws? I think it could. And I totally agree with you about the fact that we should not manage the forest for one single purpose, whether it be a theological purpose, whether it be for carbon sequestration, whether it be simply for harvesting.
But as I have mentioned before from their chair and in letters to you, we are in a desperate situation out in the Northwest. And I think that, that the shock that was registered by our leadership team who came out and viewed the forest in the Northwest, is evidence of the fact that we really, really need some attention paid to our forests in the Northwest for the sake of forest health.
So let me just finish with one more question. Some of the groups have advocated no commercial harvest of timber from our national forest. They seem to be winning the battle today over the logic whether it is based on a balance in our forest, whether it is based on fuel reduction, whether it is based on carbon sequestration, whatever it may be. They seem to be winning the battle that we should have absolutely no commercial harvest of timber on our national forest. Now we have a very minimum amount now and we are not keeping up with the need just for forest health. Do you support this policy for the Northwest?
Mr. LYONS. Well, Madam Chairman, the Administration does not support the elimination of commercial timber harvesting on the national forests.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What implication would this policy have on our national forest's ability to sequester carbon if we, if we simply did not harvest anything?
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LYONS. Well obviously it would have some impact in those areas where productivity would, would be lost. And would also hamper our ability to make forest improvements forpurposes or to reduce fuel loads and therefore, reduce the risk of wildfire, et cetera. And that is one of the reasons we continue to invest in commercial and noncommercial vegetative management on the national forests.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Secretary, I am going to let you off the hook for right now. I do want to personally study your testimony and I will be submitting questions to you personally. I would like for you to stay, if you could. We only have three more witnesses.
I do want to say that I very, very much appreciate the book about Gifford Pinchot that you sent and I dove right into it. I also want to say that I have most of the Presidential papers of Teddy Roosevelt in my office, and I am going to copy some of them and send them to you. He gets into addressing the issue about deforestation in China and how the natural resources were abused because there was massive clear cutting and it created a difference in the entire climate because of the lack of aspiration and because it changed the entire complexion of the soils because of great erosion. We have heard for a long time of decertification. It is not entirely fictional. It is not going to happen in the Northwest. But we are getting close to a point where there is a massive area that is not responding well and healthily in the Northwest and I am greatly concerned about this. And I think Teddy Roosevelt really hit the nail on the head. I think he had great, great wisdom and great vision. So if you do not mind, I would like to share that with you and would be very interested in your personal opinion on that.
Mr. LYONS. I greatly appreciate that.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. So thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. LYONS. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And I appreciate your time.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair now recognizes the second panel. Dr. John Perez-Garcia, Associate Professor at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Dr. Chad Oliver, Professor at University of Washington, College of Forestry Resources in Seattle, Washington, and Gordon Ross, County Commissioner Coos County, Coquille, Oregon.
Gentlemen, I am very pleased to welcome you to the hearing and very pleased to have your addition to the hearing record, which will be very valuable to us in the future. And before we get started with the testimony, I wonder if you could please rise and take the oath.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I have just been advised that we do have a vote and it is at the second bell it looks like, so I am going to have run and vote. And I think it is a procedural vote, is it not, Kathy? Procedural vote. And so I will cast that vote and I will be right back. So we will just temporarily adjourn.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The hearing on H.C.R. 151 will resume. We look forward to the testimony from Dr. Garcia. Doctor.
STATEMENT OF JOHN M. PEREZGARCIA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, COLLEGE OF FOREST RESOURCES, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. Thank you, Madam Chairman. What I would like to do today is summarize the findings of our July 7th, paper presented to the Committee on how forests can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. There are four points that I would like to make today; three of them relate to carbon dioxide, and one, the last point I would like to make, relates to tradeoffs, which I think is something that should be discussed here.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Carbon dioxide is reduced by forest growth. I think everyone understands this statement and accepts it. There are two points that you need to realize with this statement though. One, there is a limit to the amount of carbon that a forest can capture, remove from the atmosphere and save as biomass. Second, these forests are subject to disturbance so they can quickly return that carbon to the atmosphere.
The importance of the limit to the amount of carbon that forests can sequester is a technological one. Carbon storage can further be increased by transferring that carbon out of the forest into products. And I think there is general agreement in this statement also. The point to recognize here though is that there is a limit to the amount of carbon that can be transferred from forest to products. Depending on the type of management, the type of forest and the product that is associated with them, this increase in the capacity of forest to sequester carbon can range from 10 to 66 percent according to several studies.
The way forest management increases carbon sequestration is to concentrate growth in timber that is utilizable. What forest management is doing is concentrating the growth, the carbon, into something that we can take out of the forest and preserve as product pools.
The forest type affects carbon storage through its different growth rates, different regions and different species composition. Forests across the U.S. grow differently and therefore, sequester carbon at different rates.
Wood products affect carbon storage since they hold carbon captured by the forest in terrestrial form and delay its return to the atmosphere. Short-lived wood products return carbon faster than long-lived wood products. So things like paper would return carbon faster to the atmosphere than the solid wood products like lumber. Wood products also save terrestrial carbon when they displace fossil fuel energy through either direct substitution by use of biofuels or indirect substitution through manufacturing process energy.
And this is the third point that I would like to bring out: Forest products saves fossil fuel carbon. And that is perhaps one of the more important things I would like to leave with you today. Wood products used in construction, furniture and other wood product uses extend the storage capacity of forests by physically transferring the biomass carbon to a product carbon pool. But there is also a savings in fossil fuel carbon associated with the use of products. The savings occur because wood products use less manufacturing energy derived from fossil fuels than it's competing non-wood products.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The effect on atmospheric carbon of fossil fuels displaced by wood products may be large. Studies that I and others have conducted estimate the effect of less wood products used through national harvest reductions to be around 19 million metric tons. This effect alone is larger than the estimated U.S. average annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 1995, which is about 14 million metric tons. The 14 million number is important because that is really a target set by the President's Climate Change Plan. This also is important because it says something different than what the Secretary was stating with regard to the impact national forests have on atmospheric carbon.
The last point I would like to make is about tradeoffs. By far the most effective way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere is to use wood products and save fossil fuel energy. I would like to reiterate that point. Planting and growing more forests can take carbon out of the atmosphere and can be effective as long as these plantations do not substitute more productive plantations for carbon sequestration. Large scale planting programs have a limit to their potential to capture atmospheric carbon and may even reduce long term carbon storage of forest if the use of wood is not increasing at the same rate as these plantings.
As an example of tradeoffs, take the reduction of harvest from Federal forest which has led to greater carbon admissions nationally and internationally. Other forest areas within and outside of the U.S. increased their harvest to replace a portion of the lost Federal timber harvest. These areas are less productive than those they replaced, contributing to greater amounts of carbon emission through less product recovery and greater acreage required to substitute the lost harvest. The amount of harvest reduction not made up by other producers has led to greater use of non-wood substitute products. This indirect substitution effect through the use of more fossil fuel-based manufacturing energy has further increased carbon emissions associated with Federal timber harvest. The Federal policy to preserve habitat illustrates unintended consequences of single issue policies such as carbon emissions.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In summary, there are three points that I would like for the Committee to remember. One, forest sequestered carbon; second, wood products act as a reservoir of forest carbon extending the forest's capacity to move carbon out of the atmosphere; and thirdly, by far the most effective way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere is to use wood products and save fossil fuels. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. PerezGarcia may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Dr. Garcia. That was very interesting, very technical, but very good and very interesting.
Dr. Oliver, welcome, it is good to see you again. Dr. Chad Oliver, Professor at University of Washington, College of Forest Resources.
STATEMENT OF CHADWICK D. OLIVER, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, COLLEGE OF FOREST RESOURCES
Dr. OLIVER. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I would like to build on what Dr. PerezGarcia said and maybe I can clarify some of the apparent confusion with what Mr. Lyons had said. Mr. Lyons was basing the idea of sequestering carbon by growing the forest or keeping the wood in the forest and not harvesting it on the paper of Harmon, et al, of 1990. That paper shows that forests basically, if you keep the forests and do not harvest it, you will store a lot of carbon. A paper of 1993 by Kershaw, et al, in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry, showed that that is only true if by not using the wood you do not use more polluting substitute products, such as steel, aluminum, brick and concrete. If, however, you do usedo not harvest the forest but instead use theseutilize these substitute products, you add far more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than if you usedif you had harvested the forest and used those wood products. The interesting thing there is then that actual harvest of the forest and utilizing of it actually reduces the total carbon dioxide addition to the atmosphere by saving on the use of fossil fuels, because you do not use substitute products.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second point there was a bit confusing is that actually you could use more of the wood to substitute for these more polluting products if you grow the forests onfor high quality timber as opposed to short rotation type of wood, timber management, thinning the forest, grow into high quality wood which would substitute for other beams. Therefore, rather than saying the contrast is between preservation on the one hand and short rotation on the other. Actually you are better, apparently, you are better savings of carbon dioxide would be longer rotation, high quality. Which, incidentally, would also provide many of the habitat values from the forest before it is harvested.
Now planting and growing more forests on presently marginal agricultural lands will temporarily reduce your carbon dioxide as the forest is growing. Once it is ready to harvest, as Dr. PerezGarcia pointed out, unless you have an expanding use of wood, that wood will just substitute for wood from another place and you will, actually calculations will show you will not get an increasea reduction in carbon dioxide but may actually be adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The net resultsthe net point here is that wood use and expanded wood use where it substitutes for products that need more fossil fuel is the best way to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by keeping the fossil fuels in the ground. That is something that the Harmon, et al, paper that Mr. Lyons referred to did not consider, but subsequent papers have considered.
Now I want tothis brings, brings up the whole issue of tradeoffs. On the one hand, some people want reserves such as national forests, and on the other hand, other people want to conserve carbon dioxide, which is best done, by far the best way is by utilizing wood to substitute for alternative products. Now the problem is of single issue advocacy. If we simply get into we must have absolute carbon sequestration, we must have absolute reserves, then you end up with a polarized position. What really needs to be done as a resolution is decide how much of each of these values we value, and is there a way to provide both of these to certain extents.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a tradeoff, for example, we might not want to ever harvest the Olympic National Park. But just accept that that is a tradeoff that we are going to give up a certain amount of possible sequestration, but then how much other area do you also set aside recognizing that the tradeoff is more carbon added to the atmosphere and the resolution that you put forward here points out this carbon dioxide reduction among many other values gets to that tradeoff consideration. Now, on the other hand, you can decide there is certain areas you are willing to give up the carbon sequestration by setting aside as national parks. There are ways of supplementing those with other areas where you could manage by doing such things as thinning or selection cutting to create some of that habitat to a large extent, but at the same time, harvesting it providing the high quality wood that would also lead to your carbon sequestration. So that you could look at a mixture of these, but it is a matter of tradeoffs among the different issues.
Basically we need to look at it from the point of view of forest management is not necessarily managing all forests for a single way or a single value. The decision is how much forests in each region of the world do we manage and in which way in order to provide the greatest balance of values recognizing if we set aside more forests or do not manage them, or do not harvest them in one area, we are increasing the COI by the use of substitute products as well as by harvesting forests elsewhere. I hope that is helpful.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Oliver may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It is Dr. Oliver. Do you have anything else you would like to add in your testimony?
Dr. OLIVER. I believe everything else is in here. I will be glad to respond to questions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And Dr. PerezGarcia, do you have anything else you would like to add in testimony?
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. PEREZGARCIA. No, I believe I have said everything that I wanted to say and I will also be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, and I do have some. Mr. Gordon Ross, I have been looking forward to your testimony. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF GORDON ROSS, COUNTY COMMISSIONER, COOS COUNTY, OREGON
Mr. ROSS. Madam Chairman, if you will forgive me, I would like to also quote from the greatest because I remember a quote from Gifford Pinchot after spending three years on the Olympic Peninsula said that he had not seen a single Douglas fir seedling under the canopy nor an opening that was not filled with them, and my remarks have to be confined to the Douglas fir region because that is the only region I am familiar with. I am a local historian as well as county commissioner in Coos County. I have been giving discussions on local history and the development of transportation, how it effects the way we live, for about 30 years now and the matter of, of carbon going into the atmosphere always becomes a part of that if we look at the different energy sources as we use up our energy savings account.
In 1976, I thought this was going to resolve itself when the first gas crunch came and the gentleman, Bill Bradbury, and myself, Bill became President of the Senate years later, in Oregon Senate, we put on a little half hour television program called, ''We're Going Back to Horses Because We're Running Out of Dinosaurs.'' But my predictions are not any better than my authority. As you notice, maybe I have no credentials and my predictions do not come true either.
In 1991, I gave testimony before the Endangered Species Committee in Portland, Oregon, and I put this in the record all 22 pages of it. No pride in authorship here at all. But it makes good evening reading. Judge Harvey Switzer took it home and read it and came back for a second day of testimony, taking it a paragraph at a time, and finally it was all admitted into the record over the objections Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. But I would just turn to page four where we deal with four myths. A myth in Oregon about forestry is something that is believed inside of Portland or some parts of Eugene. Myth fourth was that setting aside old growth timber will provide future generations with clean air. And the response is the amount of oxygen a forest releases into the atmosphere, the amount of carbon dioxide a forest takes into itstakes in, is in direct proportion to the amount of wood fiber produced. When a forest is mature it has no net gain of wood fiber. There is no longer a net benefit to the atmosphere. It is oxidizing as fast as it is growing.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Oregon we can grow 50,000 board feet per acre per yearexcuse me, 50,000 board feet in 60 years. And this is what we are doing on our Coos County forest. I have to qualify that. And in the past few years, that was '89 to '91, the average old growth sale on our Federal lands produced 42,000 board feet per acre. A net loss.
I have also given you two pages from technical bulletin No. 201, U.S. Department of Agriculture showing the growth rates of Douglas fir and the mean advantage or the mean average volume increase. On Table 16 is described below and about a 90 year, a 90-year harvesting cycle would maximize growth and therefore, maximize both timber production and the carbon sequestration.
I have given you a color graph and I want to call your attention to the graph at the bottom of this color page, it shows the U.S. growth and removals in billions cubic feet per year. Notice in 1920 our lands were only producing about 6 billion cubic feet per year while our harvest was a challenge harvest of over twice that amount. By harvesting and replanting each year, we see that the growth increase. Until now we are harvesting less than is growing, and of course, in the Northwest now on the approximately 25 million acres in the Douglas fir region, that has been reduced substantially.
If half of the Douglas fir region, under Federal ownership were in mature status, then it would be breathing with just one lung, you might say. This half of it would be, would be not giving any net benefit to oxygen released in the atmosphere or to carbon storage. Under the present record of decision, only about 10 percent is going to continue in harvest management. Eventually 90 percent will be in old growth. Some call this good forest health. But if it is only breathing with 10 percent of its lung capacity, I think a doctor would call it acute emphysema.
I want to conclude by saying that I have also given you a copy of something that I authored here called How Much Old Growth Can We Save. In the Northwest, all of our stands of Douglas fir timber are either the result of catastrophic fire, or timber harvest. And if we should listen to history, we should certainly listen to it now. We cannot save those stands from ultimate harvest. Either if we do not harvest them, nature will. And nature will put all of the carbon dioxide, all of the carbon back into the atmosphere through the initial burning and through the subsequent deterioration afterwards, and she will not distribute the receipts very well either. Thank you.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Ross and attachments thereto may be found at end of hearing.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, very much. I do have some questions here for Dr. PerezGarcia. I have questions for all of you, but Dr. PerezGarcia, what is the impact to the atmosphere to moving to a less active timber program?
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. In terms of carbon dioxide?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Yes.
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. It probably would increase the emissions of carbon to the atmosphere.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And the overall greenhouse gasses effect.
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. Well carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gasses, so if you increase that gas, it would probably increase greenhouse gasses. But I am less confident in that statement than knowing that it will increase carbon emissions to the atmosphere.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. For the record, would you please tell us what are the effects of catastrophic wildfires on air quality and on carbon sequestration.
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. Like I said in my statement, forest are subject to disturbances, and one of these disturbances would be wildfires. As a matter of fact those wildfires release carbon from its terrestrial form into carbon in its atmospheric form, which is carbon dioxide. So it would increase carbon dioxide emissions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can you tell us what has been the effect of stopping the harvest of wood from our national forests on global additions of greenhouse gases?
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. There have been two effects to this and this is documented in a study conducted under EPA sponsorship. One effect is a national effect and one is an international effect. Nationally, the effect of reduced harvest, Federal harvest, has been to increase carbon dioxide emissions and to decrease the absorption of carbon. The way that occurs is through substitution of regions which produced the timber that is not produced by the Federal timber, i.e., the South will produce more, but it is not as productive in sequestering carbon as the Pacific Northwest. The international effect is similar and it also increased carbon emissions internationally. And the reason there was that some of the timber replacement for the Federal timber comes from countries like Chile, New Zealand, the former Soviet Union, which are less productive in sequestering carbon than the Pacific Northwest.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is interesting. We have gone from a harvest of around 12 billion board feet to below 4 billion board feet of timber. What effect has this had on the global greenhouse gases?
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. It has been to increase carbon emissions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. PerezGarcia, I will have other questions for you that I will submit in writing. Is that all right with you?
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And we would like to be able to complete the circle of getting the questions to you and the answers within three weeks.
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. That will be fine.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Oliver, can old growth be made a part of a forestry management scheme that means to maximize reduction of the greenhouse gases?
Dr. OLIVER. Well, as I mentioned earlier, it is a question of tradeoffs on if you set aside an area of old growth and leave it and do not harvest it, then you force either wood to be harvested in other areas or what is happening more and more is you force the use of substitute products, such as steel studs in homes, which increase the amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. On the other hand, it is a question of tradeoffs. How much of this old growth are you willing to set up in exchange for having a little bit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for these other uses. There are other ways of possibly managing by managing on long rotation, selective cut, and creating old growth-like conditions, and at some time harvesting the trees, or as the area blows down, salvaging the trees so that they can be used in another area be used in this old growth condition. I want to point out just as a caveat, that if you are concerned about biodiversity, you would not want all of your forest in this old growth condition, because not all species can live there. But it is a question of tradeoffs in that leaving the forest there and not doing anything with it but using substitute products, as we are increasingly doing, is basically adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. From your testimony, you point out that greater utilization of higher grade wood is one of the best ways to maximize reduction of greenhouse gases. I would like you to elaborate on this if you would for us.
Dr. OLIVER. Some of the high grade timbers have both some of the more valuable properties for structural uses and because they are strong, knot-free, et cetera, they can be used in lesser weights and therefore, lesser amounts in things such as high quality construction. These can then be substituted for such things as steel reinforced concrete, et cetera. And if that is done, then you save you from having to produce the concrete and steel, and therefore, you keep fossil fuels from being used, and you keep the carbon in the ground instead of the atmosphere. So high quality wood seems to have a very important effect in keeping the carbon in the ground.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And another thing, too, is these alternative materials are all nonrenewable, are they not?
Dr. OLIVER. Yes, they are nonrenewable. Actually, there is another point. The higher quality wood often means more sequestration in the forest before the time they are harvested.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Forest Service has gone from harvesting about 12 billion board feet down to about 4 billion board feet. Is this trend beneficial to the forest's ability to sequester the carbon?
Dr. OLIVER. Actually, I would like to, if you do not mind looking at page eight of the testimony, figure five, it gets to this issue. And I would like for Garcia to explain it in detail. Do you have this figure before you? I think it is an important figure.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Please proceed.
Dr. OLIVER. Excuse me. Do you have itOK. Basically what it is is the MMTCE is million metrictons of carbon equivalent per year. Just shows the total amount of carbon. Just think of that as carbon dioxide. And then John will proceed with showing the effects both of the target reduction in carbon dioxide and the calculated effects of stopping the harvesting in the national forest. Looked at it, calculating at different levels. John could you proceed? Dr. PerezGarcia.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. PEREZGARCIA. Sure, the first bar at the top of the graph where it says fossil fuel consumption has the number 14. I always like to put things into perspective and so you must think of the 14 as the perspective that you want to look at. The 14 comes from the annual average increase in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 1995, i.e., it is a target that some have proposed to reach in terms of reducing carbon emission. So that the 14 is really a baseline number, OK?
When we look at the second bar below that, we had fossil fuel consumption carbon emission plus the habitat preservation in the Pacific Northwest. These activities have increased carbon dioxide by 20 million metric tons of carbon equivalent. OK, so 14 of those is from the fossil fuel target, plus six from the habitat preservation program. So now our target really is not 14, it is 20. OK?
Now if we add in substitution of non-wood products, i.e., the fossil fuel used to produced non-wood products that we lost with the reduced Federal harvest, we add another 19 million metric tons to that bar. So now our target is really 39 rather than 14. And then there are two levels of wildfires. There is an estimated low level and an estimated high level of fires and these activities increase the carbon emissions from 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent, to I forget what the big number is, close to 80 million metric tons of carbon equivalent. And that number you might think of as our target that we need to reach.
The whole idea here was to show how some of the previous single-issue policies that were implemented affect carbon dioxide emissions, and that these effects can be very large.
Dr. OLIVER. So instead of the initial target of trying to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 14 million metric tons, we have actually increased it so that to get to the base level, we would have to reduce it between 54 and 75 million metric tons, cause we have added that much more carbon by these policies, both not harvesting and the fire problem that we have.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. This is very interesting. Can you tell me what effect salvage logging would have on COI, Dr. Oliver or Dr. PerezGarcia?
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. I would expect it to transfer the carbon that is on the ground into products. If those products are long-lived products, i.e., they are lumber, then that carbon remains in lumber for a period longer than it would have been on the ground.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I see.
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. And there is also the substitution effect with the fossil fuels. So the salvage logging would reduce the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere. If you leave it on the ground, it will decompose and go into the atmosphere.
Dr. OLIVER. If you would have the effects of if you did not salvage log, then instead of using the wood products, there is a high change you would use substitute products, which would add more carbon to the atmosphere. If you had fires or if the salvage was after fires, if you had reburns, and you would add more carbon to the atmosphere. If you had salvaged it and you had thinned it, then you may even be growing higher quality products on the remaining trees, which can further reduce the carbon dioxide on the atmosphere.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting. I am pleased to recognize Mr. Schaffer from Colorado has joined us. I would like to proceed with questions for Mr. Ross right now.
Mr. Ross, I want to let you know that I think Coos County is just about the most beautiful part of the world there is. My sister lived in Coos Bay and I always enjoyed visiting your corner of the world. I understand that that specific coast area there is the most highly productivehas the most highly productive capability for growing and harvesting trees than any place else in the world. Is that true?
Mr. ROSS. Madam Chairman, I was actually called to task for making that statement before Harvey Switzer, Federal Magistrate, because I had not been everywhere in the world. I thank you for your compliments about Coos County. We had a person come there a few years ago to set about to stop harvesting timber in the County and he said that he was from California, and we had the most beautiful place in the world and he was here to save it. And I said, Dr. Miller, you are late. It burned off in 1868, we have logged it twice since then.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. You are right. Do you believe the harvest of timber should be the primary use of the national forests?
Mr. ROSS. Madam Chair, if I may, I certainly believe it should be one of the primary uses. When it is dealt as one of the primary uses, using best management practices, of course, and latest technology, we can preserve all the other amenities. Furthermore, we get all the other amenities free. You alluded to this earlier today. In Coos County, I have constituents now that are having to pay $3 to go look at the Pacific Ocean because the Forest Service is out with their tin cup trying to stay alive with no harvest and no means of support. I certainly think that when you maximize timber harvest, you maximize the ability for, or the benefit to the atmosphere, plus you get jobs, you get county revenues for public health and safety, and you get materials for people to build houses with for Americans to live in. And it is tragic to what is happening to the Douglas fir region. Knowing what I know, what I know is in inevitable. My forebears saw the Siuslaw National Forest when it was ashes. And that is one of the reasons, and Mr. Lyons is absolutely correct, the reason people did not take much of that land is because it was not what they wanted. It was not because it was not productive. It was because they were agrarian in nature, they needed a place to grow food. This was just going to grow little trees and it did not have timber on it then.
That forest is probably one of the most productive forests in the world, and I will have to couch that probably now because of what I have been told in the past about saying things I cannot substantiate. But today under the record of decision, there is almost no place on that forest we can hold a timber sale because of the intermittent stream buffers, the overlap. Sometimes they triplicate in areas. And so the productivity of that forest isit is beautiful. It is 130-year-old timber on about two thirds of it, one third of it has been harvested and is growing. The roads are in. The roads are managed and we have mills in the area being dissembled because there is nothing there for them to harvest. They cannot harvest it.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. I understand the big mill downtown is no longer operating.
Mr. ROSS. That is right. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What is in there now?
Mr. ROSS. A casino.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. A casino?
Mr. ROSS. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Good grief.
Mr. ROSS. And the Coquille Indian tribe has a casino in there. It is the only mill in town that is working three shifts a day.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The casino.
Mr. ROSS. It is called the Mill Casino as a matter of fact.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I am going to ask you one more question and then I am going to yield to Mr. Schaffer. How will increasing the harvest of timber to increase carbon storage affect our salmon runs?
Mr. ROSS. Madam Chair, we have harvested more timber than any county in Oregon. Principally because we started earlier. We started in 1855. We had the only deep water port on the Oregon coast. And we supplied timber to build San Francisco and to rebuild it after the fire in 1906. We continue to and for most of my lifetime and for decades before my lifetime, we are the largest timber shipping port, wood products shipping port in the world. And yet we have the highest rate of salmon returns on the Oregon coast. We have more Coho salmon return to the streams every year in Coos County than all of the rest of the coastal counties in Oregon put together. Now this was our experience. I had no scientific background for it until this year.
Oregon State University is completing a 10-year study on the coastal productivity enhancement program understanding how managing our riparian areas effect salmon runs. And it is been determined that these are disturbance based ecosystems. The large woody debris and the spawning gravel are essential for our salmon runs, are a result of disturbances. In the past forest fires and flood, but today logging and flood. And this work has been done by the same people that drew the lines on the FEMAT report and they are telling me that this needs to be revisited, that they did not understand this at the time they drew the lines. And when they drew the lines, they did not consider them to be permanent. Only until watershed assessments could be done and you could determine where the timber needed to be left on the head walls that might fail. Not so they would not fail, but when they did fail, large woody debris would come into the proper places in the watershed. And they are telling me maybe 10 percent of the watershed could be saved in that area and the rest harvested. And we would be doing something really meaningful for our aquatic resources.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it isbesides the other tragedies of the Northwest forest plan, it is exactly wrongheaded when it comes to anadromous fisheries. We all thought that these beautiful little brooks and shaded areas must be the place that fish like. But fish like what comes from disturbances. The large woody debris that creates the sheltering areas that salmon need to overwinter and oversummer, and the spawning gravel that they need. So Madam Chair, I appreciate you asking that question and giving me an opportunity to respond to it.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, sir. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Schaffer.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Thank you, Madam Chairman. Commissioner, I saw one of your bumper stickers. It said, housing
Mr. ROSS. I made this available. Sometimes I try to make a point
Mr. SCHAFFER. Oh, here it is, ''Affordable Housing Begins in the Woods.'' What is the story on this?
Mr. ROSS. If I may, is Mr. Lyons still here? I apologize to him because I did not send him one. I sent one to Mike Dombeck when I read in the Oregonian that he and Mike Dombeck had been before a subcommittee in Congress, and I do not hold everybody accountable for what I read in the Oregonian either, my apologies if this is reported wrong, but they had said that it was not the Administration's policy to not harvest timber on public lands. They were only reflecting the wishes of the people of the United States. So I wrote to Mike, knowing him, and I said, Mike, I have always followed whenever I see your name, I read it and this is what I wrote, ask the people of the United States the right question. And do not ask them while they are watching Bambi on television. Ask them when they are arranging financing for a new home or when they are at the lumber yard, or when the mortgage payment is due or when the landlord is collecting the rent. And then ask them the question, how much more are you willing to pay for shelter, for housing, to not harvest timber on public lands. And that was the reason I sent that. And I made it available for your Committee also.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHAFFER. Thank you. I would also like you to discuss, if you would a little bit, just the role of controlled burns and fire with respect to forest management form your perspective as a county commissioner.
Mr. ROSS. Thank you. For many years we managed our timber in Coos County by harvesting, burning, and then replanting. And it is certainly an aid in allowing the young seedlings to get a jump on the brush that grows so fast on the coast. But fire in a natural role in a Douglas fir region is not an option. It is very different in the pine area. But in the Douglas fir region, things grow so fast, you are not going to reduce the fire loading long term by little, frequent, nonintensive burns. The Douglas fir region is famous for only the catastrophic events that take place after timber reaches maturity. And that certainly is not an option, we need to harvest to prevent that from happening.
The real danger in Western Oregon is at the same time we are not harvesting, the same time the fuel is building up, we are also losing the biggest fire department ever assembled in the world. At every foreclosure, at every bankruptcy, at every sale held to sell out the equipment that the timber companies have had and the logging companies have had, we lose that fire department, which is made of the loggers and their water wagons and Caterpillars and Lowboys to move the Caterpillars to the sites, and fire fighting equipment, and manpower and just plain know-how. And we are losing that fire department at the same time it is going to be needed the most. Certainly public safety is paramount in the thinking of this County Commissioner.
Mr. SCHAFFER. When you say fire department, you are referring to just the whole community, not
Mr. ROSS. I am referring to the many, many, many contract loggers that have gone out of business. They were the first response. Now they were not the certified fire fighters, but they believe in putting fires out. They did not understand how to monitor fires and how to take these 27 objectives and determine whether you are going to let it burn or not. They knew if you did not put it out, it was going to burn up the whole country, and it was going to do it quick, and the quicker you can get on it, and that was our first response capabilities.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Coos Force Protective Association, which is an association of all of the private and public landowners in Southwestern Oregon is reluctant to do a complete closure even when humidity gets high. They would rather do a hoot owl where you start early in the morning and you go home by noon and, and so that they know where these people are. If you do a complete closure, the Cat operator, the Lowboy driver, he goes home, he throws the fishing equipment in the car, he takes the wife and the kids and heads for a lake in the Cascades, and you do not know where he is at. So they recognize the need for thesefor this as their first response capability on these fires.
Mr. SCHAFFER. I have one more question as well, the debate on status of the purchaser road credits. The debate continues on the purchaser road credits, it is cut in half here on House side. I think that is taking place, I think, this week over in the Senate, to some degree, that is true. With respect to your community, can you speak to that issue and the effect it has on your
Mr. ROSS. There is two issues here and I faxed information to both Senator Wydon and Senator Patty Murray on this issue day before yesterday. Because those road funds are needed so that we can maintain the roads and keep the sediment from going in and impacting our anadromous streams. What the well-maintained road system is what is important to parts of forest health as it applies to the aquatic resources.
The other part of that was to take away the purchasers credits. This is a program that has worked so well. Under the old program, you sold a timber sale knowing that a road was going to have to be put in and the amount that they paid for that timber sale reflected the fact that they were going to have to build the road, build it according to the standards which were predetermined. With the purchaser credits, people bid on forest service sales as though the road is there. So they pay top price and then they build the road and when something else needs to be done, if you need a culvert that will allow fish passages as opposed to what has been described, change orders could be made so, so easily. This is not any kind of a subsidy to business. This is a matter of just building the road and using credits rather than selling at a lower price and allowing them to build the road predetermined. And it is one of our best tools in forest management and forest health when we can design those roads and make change orders as it goes along rather than the more difficult way of changing something once it has already been in the contract.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHAFFER. What is going to be the results
Mr. ROSS. Well the result was last night 51 people in the Senate had better sense. It failed 51 to 49.
Mr. SCHAFFER. Assuming though that if those who oppose purchaser road credit program prevail, if that were to occur, with respect to forest management, this whole issue of atmospheric impact, and so on, what would be your guess on what your county would look like without road purchaser credit program?
Mr. ROSS. It would adversely impact the sale program. It would be one more thing taking away from the managers that has been a tool for the good environment. And they have been losing those tools rapidly.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Dr. Oliver, I have some more questions that if you do not mind that I would like to ask you. What about wood as an energy source. What effect would utilizing woody biomass as a replacement for fossil fuels have on the levels of carbon in the atmosphere?
Dr. Oliver. Well, I will ask John PerezGarcia to add to this as well, but wood can be harvested and used as an energy source and thereby keeping fossil fuels in the ground. However, in terms of the efficiency of using wood in that way versus using wood as a direct product that would substitute for something like concrete or steel or aluminum or brick, you save a lot more energy and keep a lot more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than using wood as a substitute product. The way it would probably be most effective would be to use as much of the wood as possible as a substitute product, and use the residuals, the chips, the shavings, the sawdust to then be burned as energy to save for fossil fuels. Dr. PerezGarcia, is that basically correct?
Dr. PEREZGARCIA. Yes, I would agree with what Dr. Oliver has stated. Basically, one of the bottom lines that I said in my presentation this morning was that the way to reduce atmospheric carbon is to save fossil fuels. Wood products do that. And there are two ways that wood products do that. One is directly substituting fossil fuels for biofuels, and the second way is indirectly substituting the manufactured energy that is based on fossil fuels through wood product production.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Very interesting. Well, gentlemen, I do have other questions that I would like to submit to you. But for right now I am going to ask Mr. Schaffer if he has anything to add. I do want to say that I very, very much appreciate your coming across the country to join us in this hearing. Your testimony has been invaluable, and I appreciate it very much. The members of the Committee may also have additional questions for the witnesses and we will ask that you respond to these in writing. The hearing will be held open for those responses for three weeks.
If there is no further business, the Chair again wants to thank Mr. Schaffer for joining us. We have three Subcommittee hearings going on out of this main Committee today, and so a lot of the members who wanted to be here simply could not be here. But as of now this Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]
H.CON.RES. 151, CONCURRENT RESOLUTION REGARDING MANAGING PUBLIC DOMAIN NATIONAL FOREST TO MAXIMIZE REDUCTION OF CARBON DIOXIDE AMONG OTHER OBJECTIVES
The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health will meet on Thursday, September 18, 1997, to hold a legislative hearing on H.Con.Res. 151, a concurrent resolution Expressing the sense of the Congress that the United States should manage its public domain National Forests to maximize the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere among many other objectives and that the Unites States should serve as an example and as a world leader in actively managing its public domain national forests in a manner that substantially reduces the amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Chairman Don Young (R-AK) introduced H.Con.Res. 151 along with Speaker Gingrich, Mrs. Chenoweth, chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Mr. Taylor of North Carolina, Mr. Herger, and Mr. Peterson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Pombo, Mr. McInnis, Mr. Sessions, Mrs. Smith of Washington, Mr. Riggs, Mr. Cunningham, Mrs. Cubin, Mr. Nethercutt, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Lewis of California, Mr. Skeen, Mr. Schaffer of Colorado, Mr. Hansen, and Mr. Radanovich expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should manage its public domain national forests to maximize the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Global warming has been an issue of great debate and discussion in Congress. This is due to the fact that in December of this year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meets in Kyoto, Japan. The Clinton-Gore Administration has stated publicly that they intend to commit the United States to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions at the convention in Kyoto, Japan.
Science has proven to us that carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas can be taken out of the atmosphere by allowing a young vibrant forest to absorb carbon through photosynthesis. It is stored as wood. Carbon dioxide can also be kept out of the atmosphere by harvesting the forest before it begins to decompose or burn, thus storing the carbon in wood products that are environmentally friendly, as well as providing an economic benefit to society.
The most extensive scientific work on this subject has been conducted by Dr. John Perez-Garcia, Associate Professor, University of Washington, Dr. Chadwick Oliver, Professor, University of Washington, Bruce Lippke, Professor and Director of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products and R. Neil Sampson. A copy of their studies can be obtained from the Subcommittee.
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Staff Contact: Bill Simmons, Staff Director, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health at X5-0691.
STATEMENT OF JAMES R. LYONS, UNDER SECRETARY FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the views of the Administration regarding the active management of the National Forests to maximize the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Administration welcomes and supports efforts to address climate change, but strongly opposes House Concurrent Resolution 151 because it is misguided and undermines current national forest management laws.
The premise of the concurrent resolution is that young, fast-growing trees fix carbon dioxide more efficiently than mature trees. Therefore, the Forest Service should maximize carbon sequestration by harvesting mature trees, converting the wood to durable products, and replanting sites with seedlings.
As the committee is aware, the scientific basis for our mutually shared concerns about global climate change is very complex. Accordingly, our efforts to make substantive policy changes are equally complex and driven by scientific analysis. I want to make three basic points today: (1) the role of recycling, (2) the role of national forests in the carbon cycle, and (3) the potential for carbon sequestration from Federal lands compared with private lands.
The Forest Service research program has done some extensive research quantifying the benefits of recycling wood fiber on carbon releases into the environment. Through technology developed by the Federal Government and private industry, and supported by government incentives to recycle, the United States has made a significant contribution to carbon sequestration by reducing energy costs of production and reusing wood fiber several times before sending it to a landfill.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Recognizing the value of storing carbon in wood products and substituting wood products for more fossil fuel-consuming products, the President included in the 1993 Climate Change Action Plan a proposal to expand paper recycling technology research. Priorities included research on the use of recycled wood and fiber in durable structural products suitable for housing markets. The President requested a $2 million increase in research funding. Congress has appropriated $200,000.
The President's Forest Plan was analyzed specifically for its contribution to carbon sequestration, and thus offers a good case study to evaluate national forest management policies in general. Contrary to the presumption of the concurrent resolution, the conservation strategy in the President's Forest Plan actually increases the amount of carbon dioxide sequestrated by about 7 million metric tons by the year 2000. The careful balance of forest protection and management and the role of old-growth forests is described well in a 1990 Science magazine article by Harmon, Ferrell and Franklin. In addition, the President's Forest Plan has strict standards about harvesting which are supported by scientific work by Mr. R. Neil Sampson. Sampson (1997) found that harvesting practices such as clear cutting eliminate canopy shade, increase soil temperatures, accelerate organic decomposition due to soil disturbance, and have other negative impacts on carbon storage in a forested ecosystem. The Forest Plan minimizes clearcuts, protects shade, foliage and canopy closures, minimizes ground disturbance, and avoids whole sale burning of slash, stumps and debris. Last, the President's Forest Plan meets all Federal land management and environmental laws, and your resolution would create a conflict with existing law. While your resolution suggests that national forests should be managed to maximize carbon sequestration, current law requires us to practice multiple use which does not allow one use or management goal to dominate other uses. The U.S. forest sector will store lO9 million metric tons of carbon in 2000. Of this, our National Forests are projected to fix 21 million metric tons of carbon in 2000, store over 8 billion of tons of carbon, conserve biodiversity (and thus flexibility for private land management), and provide for multiple use according to our legal mandates. And although the annual carbon storage in private forests is expected to decline over the next several decades due to declining net growth in Northeastern forests as the trees age and removal of trees in the South at the same rate of their growth, annual carbon accumulation in our National Forests is expected to continue increasing.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, I want to turn to the issue of maximizing growth of new biomass through forest management. The productivity of forestland in the United States varies widely across the country. Productivity is influenced by soil type, soil depth, growing season, rainfall, and other physical factors. Productivity is commonly measured according to the number of cubic feet of wood which one acre of land can grow in one year's time. If Congress was interested in maximizing carbon sequestration through tree growth, it is logical to look for the most productive sites which will grow the most cubic feet per year.
The Forest Service published a document called the Forest Resources of the United States (1994) which summarizes forest productivity across different landownerships using a standard of 85 cubic feet/acre/year. In the West, 67 percent of the private industrial lands are capable of producing more than 85 cubic feet per year compared to only 15 percent of the national forest lands in the West. The reason for this is that national forestlands are typically high elevation forests with shorter growing seasons and poorer soils. Similarly in the East, 55 percent of the private industrial land is capable of producing 85 cubic feet or more, and only 20 percent of the national forest land in the East have this level of productivity. The trend is the same, though less dramatic, between nonindustrial private lands and national forest lands in both the East and the West.
Thus, if growing trees quickly is the goal of this resolution, it makes much more sense to focus our efforts in areas where we will receive the greatest return on our investmentthe most productive landsthe private lands. The Forest Service can help make this investment not through a change in priorities for public land management, but by providing technical and financial assistance to private landowners to help them increase productivity. The state and private forestry programs of the Forest Service are designed to deliver exactly this kind of assistance to landowners. In addition, the Natural Resource Conservation Service administers a number of programs which help landowners develop and implement plans that promote tree planting. The more efficient and effective place to focus tree planting and aggressive management is on private lands. The President's Climate Change Action Plan includes two actions that provide technical assistance and cost-sharing for nonindustrial private landowners to plant trees and improve forest management. These programs have resulted in tree planting on 135,000 acres of land.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to highlight for a minute your state, Mr. Chairman. The State of Alaska, as well as your neighbors Washington and Oregon, have replanting laws which help continue the benefits of carbon sequestration on private lands in those states. Most states have forest practice laws which contribute to efforts to ensure that landowners practice sustainable forestry. Some states, such as Alabama and Georgia, do not have state forest practices laws, but rely instead on market conditions to encourage tree planting. In these cases, we depend on high lumber prices to promote replanting. In any case, the role of the private landowner, however it is influenced by state or Federal policy, has the opportunity to make a much more significantand more profitablecontribution to carbon sequestration through active management of productive lands.
There are many other efforts throughout the Forest Service and throughout the Administration which are targeted specifically to address the issue of climate change that are beyond the immediate scope of this resolution and this hearing. In summary, the Administration is enthusiastic about continuing this dialog with Congress about the importance of addressing carbon sequestration and climate changeand the role of the forest sector, but is compelled to strongly oppose the concurrent resolution. I am happy to answer questions that the Committee might have.
STATEMENT OF GORDON ROSS, COMMISSIONER, COOS COUNTY, OREGON
The amount of COI used in photosynthesis per acre of forest land; the amount of oxygen released into the atmosphere; the amount of carbon stored in the forest is in direct proportion to the amount of wood fiber produced.
This is high school biology. I am not an expert witness. This information does not require an expert witness. This knowledge is part of the public domain.
I would like to bring two aspects of forest management to your attention that aid in reducing greenhouse gasses on the globe, both of which compliment each other in addition to having many other societal benefits.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First: Maximizing Forest Growth.
For every soil classification and for each climatic condition there is a growth potential depending on stalking and non-utilizable competition.
I happen to live in the most productive area of North America, the Pacific Northwest or more specifically, the Douglas Fir region. The federally managed portion of this area amounts to just under 25 million acres of which approximately 1/2 is in mature status. According to Roger A. Sedjo in ''Forests, a Tool to Moderate Global Warming,'' approximately one-half of the COI emissions on earth annually are taken up in natural processes present today. Of the 5.8 billion tons of carbon thus emitted, 2.9 billion need to be dealt with if the atmosphere were to remain carbon natural. If the 12.5 million acres of federally managed Douglas Fir forests in the Northwest that are presently mature, could over the next 50 years be harvested and converted to growing forest averaging sequestration of 2 tons of carbon per acre per year, the Northwest's contribution on these lands alone would be 2 5 million tons of carbon or about .8 percent of the needed additional carbon fixation on earth. This would constitute a major commitment on the part of the United States to the Global Community and would have societal benefits including jobs, revenue to local governments and affordable housing nationwide.
On the converse side, if those timber lands are not actively so managed, the contribution of carbon to the global community could be equally as great when history repeats itself. Every acre of Douglas Fir timber prior to planned harvest was a result of a natural regeneration event, mostly fire. If ever we needed to heed the lessons of history, it is now. If we do not harvest, nature will and without any of the societal benefits and at a great threat to public safety.
The second aspect of forest management I wish to give a few minutes to is fire. Wildfire has been touted in recent years as the forester panacea, the answer to all our forest health problems; but fire of catastrophic proportions is the most rapid form of oxidation in the forest. Beyond that point, the timber that is dead continues to rot, a slower form of oxidation. Finally, when the oxidation is complete, the tree has turned to soil and the carbon has united with oxygen and is in the atmosphere. When a forest reaches the point where there is no net increase in wood fiber (when it is oxidizing as rapidly as it is growing there is then no net benefit to the atmosphere). In maximizing wood fiber production we not only maximize the benefit to our atmosphere but we also produce societal benefits such as homes, jobs and government services. Further, in Western Oregon our managed forests are also producing better aquatic resources. Coos County annually harvests more timber than any county on the Pacific Coast and it has more Coho Salmon than any county on the Pacific Coast. In fact, it has more Coho than all the rest of the Oregon counties put together.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When my forebears came to Western Oregon in the early 1850's they found even aged stands of Douglas Fir in varying ages of growth depending on how long it had been since the last fire. What is now the Siuslaw National Forest was ashes. They saw the fire of 1868 jump the South Fork of Coos River and burn over 1/3 of Coos County. This was a function of nature, a recycling of carbon but at a time before we began using fossil fuels. Today, when the average American uses 7 gallons of petroleum per day to transport themselves, their supplies and services, there is no dispute but that there is adequate carbon in the atmosphere for our crops and forests to meet their maximum growth potential. The forest effected by the N.W. Forest Plan have the potential of growing 5 billion board feet of timber per year.
If we only harvest 10 percent of that potential as under the Northwest Forest Plan, eventually the forests will only be growing at that rate. However, speaking historically, we can say with assured certainty, if we do not harvest at a rate closely approaching growth potential, nature will, through catastrophic fire.
In the Northwest, as we see our mills and logging operations shutting down, as we see timber being imported, further tilting our balance of trade; as we witness the loss of jobs, loss of county revenue for public health and safety we are also witnessing the loss of the largest fire department ever assembled in the history of the world. The loggers and their bulldozers and lowboys and water wagons and fire fighting equipment and manpower and just plain know how. As fuel buildup continues, our ability to deal with it decreases.
Because Coos County is in the general proximity of the best tree growing area in North America, and because we maximize that growth by optimizing our harvest cycle, it is encouraging to know that Coos County has done more to enhance the atmosphere in the past century than probably any other county of its size in America.
We, from Coos County, Oregon, would like to challenge the rest of America, through legislative commitment to do as well.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
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