Forest collaboratives throughout Oregon are working to restore thousands of acres of federal forestland. While state and federal agencies have pledged more support, millions of acres still need to be treated to promote forest health and fire prevention.
To restore health to their community forests, groups formerly divided along ideological lines put aside their differences and began to collaborate. Now, in partnership with state and federal agencies, forest collaboratives are helping shape the future of public lands restoration and management in Oregon.
Forest collaborative groups in the dry climates of central, eastern, and southern Oregon are faced with a myriad of challenges: Overgrown forests are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including drought, disease, and wildfire. Instead of being a safe, reliable source of clean water, jobs, and recreation, these forests have become an uncertain resource.
Groups like Blue Mountains Forest Partners, Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative, and Lake County Resource Group are aiming to change that. Early successes have helped restore thousands of acres, brought jobs back to communities, and forged bonds of trust between groups that haven’t always seen eye to eye.
In light of this success and to keep the good work moving forward, this year the Oregon Legislature approved $5 million of funding to increase the pace and scale of restoration across the state.