TIMOWL Case

Timber Owl and Logging (TIMOWL)



		CASE NUMBER:          71
		CASE MNEMONIC:      TIMOWL
		CASE NAME:          Timber-Owl Controversy
A. IDENTIFICATION
1. The Issue

In the late 1980s, there was a serious shortage of timber in the Pacific Northwest resulting from massive over cutting of forests and other harmful policies. To control this problem, members of Congress introduced and passed the "Forest Resources Conservation and Shortage Relief Act of 1990", (the Forest Resources bill) which was part of the much larger Customs and Trade Act of Omnibus Trade Bill. The bill contained provisions to save old forests inhabited by the endangered spotted owl by reducing law log exports to Japan. This would also serve to keep some value- added processing of the wood in the United States.

2. Description
The ancient forest/spotted owl controversy represents one of the most divisive issues to plague the Pacific Northwest. The case centers around:
"the now infamous dispute over logging in publicly owned old-growth and the attendant threat to the northern spotted owl. The spotted owl, confronting extinction, sits at the center of controversy, but the debate extends far beyond the fate of the owl, raising issues about the consequences of logging practices on our public lands on the one hand, and about the costs of environmental protection and economic transition on the other." Many factors contribute to the environmental crisis in the
Pacific Northwest. Numerous species are threatened by the loss of the ancient forest and many people in the Pacific Northwest depend on timber for their livelihood. The ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest are unique treasures to Washington, Oregon and Northern California. "The largest and some of the oldest trees in the world are found within these ancient groves. While not having as many plant species as the tropical rain-forest, the old-growth forest supports two to ten times more plant life -- 400 tons per acre in a typical old-growth forest and a remarkable 1,800 tons per acre in an old-growth redwood forest as opposed to 180 tons per acre in the tropical rainforest." Unfortunately these ancient forests are being logged at abundant levels, threatening the many species that depend on the old growth habitat for survival. The most famous species is the northern spotted owl.

"By the late 1970's and early 1980's, scientists increasingly recognized that the owl might be an indicator species for the general health of the old growth forests. Thus, the debate over the owl has always been interconnected with the debate about preserving old growth forests." The owl has experienced a precipitous decline. "Scientists estimate that a total of only 3000 to 4000 owl pairs remain, and the population continues to decline." As a result the spotted owl is protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and therefore has become a significant figure in the ancient forest controversy.

Timber related jobs are prominent within rural communities of the Pacific Northwest. These towns often center around timber activities (see USWOOD case). "Local economies can be as much as 70% dependant on the timber industry...Additionally, County governments can be dependent on forest receipts for 20-50% of their revenue." In addition, trade has played an important role in this problem as "foreign demand for high quality timber from old growth further encourage[s] rapid depletion of American forests." The shipping of raw logs to Japan has cost the Pacific Northwest thousands of jobs. In fact, "from 1969 to 1989, all log exports from the Northwest were the equivalent of shipping 7.5 million homes overseas, or about 75 billion board feet. Those log exports alone would have been worth 417,000 jobs." Therefore, not just the spotted owl is responsible for the loss of timber related jobs.

From the 1970s until the mid-1980s, there was a surplus of timber in the Pacific Northwest that was due in part to weather conditions and the Mount St. Helens eruption of the early 1980s. This timber surplus plunged the area into an economic depression. The depression was alleviated when vast stands of timber were cut and exported overseas, providing much needed jobs for the lumber industry, primarily in Washington and Oregon. However, as a result of over cutting, the timber industry of the Pacific Northwest, by the late 1980s, was faced with a timber shortage so serious that the industry had to import 30 percent of its lumber from Canada.

Further exacerbating the problem, the Forest Service introduced plans in 1990 to reduce an average of 15-20 percent land available for timber harvest in an effort to ensure the continued existence of the northern spotted owl. The owl had recently been listed under the Endangered Species Act. Statistics showed that with this reduction of land, the lumber industry would need to import 40-50 percent of its lumber from Canada (see OPTION9 case).

The Forest Resources bill contains two important provisions: (1) a ban on the export of logs originating from western federal lands, excluding lands held in trust for Native Americans and (2) a ban on the practice of direct substitution. The bill prohibits any person from buying federal logs if that person will substitute the federal logs for exported private logs; and (3) ban the act of indirect substitution except in the state of Washington, where it will be capped. Indirect substitution is the practice of indirectly acquiring federal logs while exporting private logs from the same geographic and economic area.

The urgency of this crisis is imminent. "Estimates suggest that between sixty and ninety percent of the old-growth forest in the Pacific Northwest has been cut down." The effects of extensive logging in these regions go far beyond the spotted owl. For instance, "these forest systems are also central to the health of entire watersheds -- watersheds that municipalities and agriculture depend on, watersheds that support perhaps as many as 100 different fish stocks." In addition, clear cutting has already resulted in erosion and flooding. Plus, the Pacific Northwest depends on tourism and recreation revenues in the State and National parks of Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. One of the arguments in the old-growth debate is that the timber industry wants to log on public lands. This would hurt the tourism business as clear cutting is unsightly and the loss of species is unappealing.

Three major U.S. agencies are involved in forest management of public lands in this region. These include the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Each of these organizations are responsible for implementing forest management planning and each would maintain sustainable growth within the forests. Environmentalists, however, have brought multiple law suits against these agencies.

The Clinton administration "is proposing a five-year $1.2 billion economic assistance package designed to create 8,000 jobs and provide retraining opportunities." Also, "Under the plan, about 4 million acres of forest in the region would be open to logging, about 7.4 million acres would be in protected reserves where only some thinning and salvage logging could take place, 1.5 million acres would be open to experimental logging techniques and, 2.6 million acres of land adjacent to rivers and streams would be off limits to logging." Even without the spotted owl crisis, current timber harvests cannot continue because too many other factors are affected.

3. Related Cases
Keyword Clusters
(1): Trade Product = WOOD
(2): Bio-geography = TEMPerate
(3): Environmental Problem = DEFORestation
4. Draft Authors: Tung-lin Wu and Janet Herrlinger

B. LEGAL Clusters
5. Discourse and Status: DISagreement and INPROGress

The Clinton Administration currently is in its final stages of a Pacific Northwest Forest Management Plan and Economic Assistance Proposal. Unfortunately this plan was delayed when U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that the Clinton Administration "broke the law in developing its plan for management of federal forests in the Pacific Northwest, but refused a timber industry request to block implementation of the plan." The Clinton Administration has also proposed protection zones to help threatened fish species in the Pacific Northwest. With this fish restriction, further controls on logging might occur.

6. Forum and Scope: USA and UNIlateral

7. Decision Breadth: 2 (USA and Japan)
There were several interested parties that were involved in the passage of the bill. Labor groups were in favor of the bill's passage because they represent those in the timber industry that were losing jobs because of the timber shortage. Environmentalists were also in favor of the bill since they were concerned about the plight of the northern spotted owl. Two groups opposed the bill's passage: the Pacific Rim Trade Association and the Weyerhaeuser Corporation. The Pacific Rim Trade Association is a collection of companies that are in the business of exporting logs to Japan and elsewhere in Asia. Weyerhaeuser is a lumber corporation that sells massive amounts of logs overseas each year (and involved in the TAIGA case).

8. Legal Standing: LAW
Many issues and species are effected by the spotted owl/old growth issue, including diverse interests ranging from timber communities to farming communities. Many species that live in the ancient forests are threatened besides the spotted owl. Logging may produce other adverse economic impacts, including tourism and recreation. The Endangered Species Act (ESA); The National Forest Management Act (NFMA); The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); The Oregon and California Lands Act (OCLA); the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA), and the Migratory Birds Treaty Act (MBTA) represent laws that have impacted the Pacific Northwest.

C. GEOGRAPHIC Clusters

9. Geographic Locations
a. Geographic Domain : North America [NAMER]
b. Geographic Site : Western North America [WNAMER]
c. Geographic Impact : USA

10. Sub-National Factors: YES
Each of the affected state's have trade missions which actively promote wood exports. On the whole, the legislation has been at the federal level, but the impact is at the local level.

11. Type of Habitat: TEMPerate and COOL
"The ancient forest stretches two thousand miles along the Pacific coast from the Redwoods of Big Sur, California, to the Sitka spruce of Afognak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. Nestled between the ocean dunes and the alpine tundra of the western mountain rim, old-growth forests have been called the most magnificent coniferous forests in the world. The largest and some of the oldest trees in the world are found within these ancient groves."

D. TRADE Clusters:

12. Type of Measure: Export Ban [EXBAN]

13. Direct vs. Indirect Impacts: DIRect
The prohibition of exports to Japan of raw logs is a direct trade impact. By prohibiting logging in areas set aside to protect the spotted owl, this measure prevents its possible extinction. The issue is a direct impact because trade practices limit the cutting of the old-growth forests. In addition, over cutting affects the water reserves in the Pacific Northwest and thus fish species. With mass logging, soil erosion has occurred, creating a loss of rich top soil, and this will hurt the farming communities in the region. Obviously, many problems seem to spiral from the over cutting of American forests.

14. Relation of Measure to Environmental Impact
a. Directly Related : YES WOOD
b. Indirectly Related : YES WOOD products
c. Not Related : NO
d. Process Related : YES DEFORestation
15. Trade Product Identification: WOOD

The spotted owl is one species involved, but data is not available concerning how many different types of tree species are involved in the timber ban. The law stipulates that any export of unprocessed timber originating from Federal lands west of the 100th meridian is banned.

16. Economic Data
As industries lose money from the reduction of logs the difference will be passed on to consumers. In January 1993 the price of 1,000 board feet of plywood was $243. The price rose to $353 in September 1993 for the same quantity of plywood. "Estimates of the number of jobs that will be lost range from a high of 106,000 in a study funded by the timber industry, to as low of 6,000, in an estimate by the United States Forest Service prepared for other purposes", and lost income to individuals is about $2.8 billion.

17. Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness: BAN At least $2.8 billion in lost income can be attributable to the ban. As people lose their timber industry jobs they lose income. The Clinton Administration has also admitted that it originally underestimated the impact of logging restrictions on regional employment. "The Administration now predicts 9,500 jobs directly related to the industry will be lost, about double its earlier estimate."

The cost of timber will likely go up as less and less can be cut. In January 1993 the price of 1,000 board feet of plywood was $243. The price rose to $353 in September 1993 for the same quantity of plywood. "Lumber prices have jumped 82 percent since September and are likely to continue to soar with the arrival of spring, when building increases and the demand for lumber picks up."

18. Industry Sector: WOOD

19. Exporter and Importer: USA and JAPAN

E. ENVIRONMENT Clusters

20. Environmental Problem Type: Species Loss Air [SPLA]

21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species
Many species are effected by this case, the most notable is the Spotted Owl. Still, old-growth forests support a large array of plant and animal life. Some of which may still be unknown. With this, cures for such diseases as cancer or AIDS may lie in the ancient forest. The yew tree is a good example of deriving medicinal products from natural sources (see MERCK case).
Name: Spotted Owl (Stigiformes)
Type: Animal/Vertibrate/Bird
Diversity: 68 birds per 10,000 km/sq (United States)

22. Resource Impact and Effect: HIGH and SCALE

23. Urgency and Lifetime: MEDium and 100s of years
Looking at the old-growth forest habitat itself, "Some predict that thirty or fewer years of continued harvesting at recent levels would deplete all of the remaining old growth in western Washington and Oregon." The Spotted Owl is likely to be extinct before all the forests are gone. "In a report written in February, three university biologists said that the new data suggest that the Northwest's old-growth forest ecosystem may already be approaching the extinction threshold for the northern spotted owl, and they cast serious doubt on whether the population can survive any additional habitat loss."

24. Substitutes: LIKE products
There is no clear substitute for wood and its products. However, relying on second and third growth forest could help preserve the ancient forests and its species. Recycling efforts could also lessen the need for timber products (especially when looking at paper products).

VI. OTHER Factors

25. Culture: NO

26. Trans-Border: NO

27. Rights: YES
Timber dependant communities argue that their human rights are being violated because they have lost jobs and a way of life.

28. Relevant Literature
"American Forest Products: Given the Bird."  The Economist 13 
     (March 1993): 76-77.
Boyt, Jeb.  "Struggling to Protect Ecosystem and Biodiversity
     Under NEPA and NFMA: The Ancient Forests of the Pacific
     Northwest and the Northern Spotted Owl."  Pace
     Environmental Law Review  10 (Spring 1993): 1009-1050.
Cushman, John H., Jr.  "Owl Issue Tests Reliance on Consensus in
     Environmentalism."  The New York Times (March 4, 1994):
     A28.
Flournoy, Alyson C.  "Beyond The Spotted Owl Problem: Learning 
     from the Old-Growth Controversy."  Harvard Environmental
     Law Review 17 (1993): 261-332.
Foley, Elizabeth A.  "The Tarnishing of an Environmental Jewel: 
     The Endangered Species Act and the Northern Spotted Owl." 
     Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law 8 (1992): 253-
     283. 
"Forest Policy: To the Dinosaurs."  The Economist (July 10,
     1993): 23.
"Government in Logging Pact with Environmental Groups."  The New
     York Times (October 8, 1993): A27.
Gutfeld, Rose.  "Memo on Timber in Spotted Owl Region May Hurt 
     Clinton's Bid for Compromise."  Wall Street Journal (June
     16, 1993): B5.
Gutfeld, Rose and Salwen, Kevin G.  "Clinton's Forest-Management 
     Proposal Is Given a Mostly Lukewarm Reception."  The Wall
     Street Journal  (July 2, 1993): A8.
Gutfeld, Rose and Salwen, Kevin G. "Clinton to Unveil $1.5
     Billion Proposal to Assist Timber Region in Northwest." 
     The Wall Street Journal (July 1, 1993): A16.
Kenworthy, Tom.  "Administration Concedes It Underestimated 
     Logging's Job Losses."  The Washington Post (February 24, 
     1994): A4.
Kenworthy, Tom.  "Judge Refuses to Block Federal Forestry
     Plan." The Washington Post (March 22, 1994): A3.
"Lumber Prices are Soaring on Shortages and Owl Feud."  New York
     Times (March 11, 1993): D1, D6.
King, Elliot.  "Difficult Times Ahead."  Global Trade (August
     1992): 40-43.
Lattin, John.  "Lessons from the Spotted Owl - the Utility of 
     Nontraditional Data."  Bioscience 43 (November 1993):
     666.
Markoff, John.  "A Legal Thicket Amid the Redwoods."  The New
     York Times (June 4, 1993: D1-D2.
McCoy, Charles.  "Environmentalists, White House Strike Accord on
     Logging."  The Wall Street Journal (October 8, 1993): A4.
McCoy, Charles.  "Even a Logger Praised as Sensitive to
     Ecology Faces Bitter Opposition." The Wall Street Journal
     (April 1, 1993): A1.
Middleton, David.  Ancient Forests: A Celebration of North 
     America's Old Growth Wilderness.  San Francisco:
     Chronicle Books, 1992.
Palmer, Jay.  "Love That Bird: Why Weyerhaueser's Prospects Look
     Bright."  Barron's (October 25, 1993): 20.
"Plan Offered to Aid Northwest Salmon and Trout."  The New York 
     Times (March 27, 1994): A21.
Stone, Richard.  "Spotted Owl Plan Kindles Debate on Salvage 
     Logging."  Science 261 (16 July 1993): 287.
"The Lumberjack's Last Song."  The Economist (April 10,
     1993): 27.
Title IV of the Customs and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law
     101-382, August 20, 1990 
United States Congress, Committee on Agriculture.  Hearings on
     Timber Supply Stability Act; Ancient Forest Protection
     Act of 1990; Community Stability Act of 1990; Development
     and Consideration of Alternatives for the Conservation of
     the Northern Spotted Owl; and the Ancient Forest Act of
     1990.  101 Congress, 2nd session.  H.R. 3206, H.R. 4492,
     H.R. 4909, H.R. 5094, H.R. 5116, H.R. 5295, Washington,
     DC: GPO, 1990.
United States Congress, Committee on Agriculture.  
     Report on Northwest Forests Management Planning
     Productivity Improvement, and Protection Act.  102
     Congress, 2nd session.  Washington, DC: GPO, 1992.
United States Congress, Committee on Agriculture and
     Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.  Joint
     Hearings on the Review of the Report Alternatives for
     Management of Late Successional Forests of the Pacific
     Northwest by the Scientific Panel on Late-Successional
     Forests Ecosystems.  102 Congress.  Washington: GPO,
     1991.
United States Congress, Committee on Agriculture.  Subcommittee
     on National Parks and Public Lands of the Committee on
     Interior and Insular Affairs.  Hearings on the Protection
     of Ancient Forests and Northern Spotted Owl,  101
     Congress, 2nd session.  H.R. 1645, H.R. 4492, H.R. 5116,
     H.R. 5295.  Washington, DC: GPO, 1991.
United States Congress.  Committee on Merchant Marine and
     Fisheries.  Hearing on Olympic Experimental State Forest. 
     102 Congress, 2nd session, H.R. 4615.  Washington, DC:
     GPO, 1992.
United States Senate.  Committee on Environment and
     Public Works.  Hearings on the Conservation of the
     Northern Spotted Owl.  102 Congress, 2nd session. 
     Washington, DC: GPO, 1992.
Yang, Dori Jones.  "Timber Could Go Through The Roof."  Business
     Week (January 11, 1993): 90.  

                      

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