The Northwest Forest Plan

The goal of the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) was to move past the controversy surrounding timber harvesting in Washington and Oregon following the 1990 listing of the northern spotted owl (NSO) as an endangered species. Its purpose was to provide a vision for forest management in the region. Although the plan was far from perfect, it did attempt to strike a new balance. Its implementation was supposed to provide some certainty to federal forest management agencies, local communities and the timber industry.

The NWFP dramatically changed the management of 24 million acres of federal forests in California, Oregon and Washington and reduced the historic timber sale program from 4.5 to 5.0 billion board feet (bbf) per year to a promised level of 1.1 bbf – an 80 percent reduction. Unfortunately, both the Clinton and Bush administrations failed to offer the promised timber volume, selling only about 45 percent of that reduced commitment, or approximately 10 percent of the historic timber volume.

Clinton Administration Bush Administration
FY-1995 – 0.356 bbf FY-2002 – 0.364 bbf
FY-1996 – 0.802 bbf FY-2003 – 0.420 bbf
FY-1997 – 0.810 bbf FY-2004 – 0.445 bbf
FY-1998 – 0.704 bbf FY-2005 – 0.520 bbf
FY-1999 – 0.374 bbf FY-2006 – 0.568 bbf
FY-2000 – 0.122 bbf FY-2007 – 0.643 bbf
FY-2001 – 0.196 bbf FY-2008 – 0.577 bbf
FY-2009 – 0.595 bbf
Average – 0.480 bbf Average – 0.517 bbf

Congress has provided additional funding to the Forest Service to aid in Northwest Forest Plan implementation. It will be essential that the Administration support the efforts of Regions 5 and 6 of the Forest Service, as well as provide leadership to help break the administrative, regulatory and litigation gridlock preventing the implementation of common-sense projects. The BLM has since adopted new resource management plans which should help ensure improved management on BLM managed lands in the Northwest Forest Plan area.


1) The administration should work with Congress to assure funding for Forest Service and BLM forest management activities.

2) The Forest Service and BLM should be given new tools to ensure forest management activities actually take place within funding levels provided by Congress.

The American Forest Resource Association (AFRC), headquartered in Portland, Oregon, represents nearly 80 forest products businesses and forest landowners in twelve states, primarily in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana. Its mission is to create a favorable operating environment for the forest products industry, ensure a reliable timber supply from public and private lands, and promote sustainable management of forests by improving federal laws, regulations, policies and decisions that determine or influence the management of all lands. For information, contact Tom Partin 503 222 9505