Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur


If tree farms are forests, then sewage lagoons are lakes and cornfields are grasslands.
— Anonymous

See also my Wilderness page.

See also my Westside Forests page.

Saving All the Pieces: Old Growth Forest in Oregon

In 1979, Ms Cameron LaFollette published a report for the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), now known as Environment Oregon, entitled Saving All the Pieces: Old Growth Forest in Oregon. I offer it for downloading because this seminal report appeared a decade before the northern spotted owl hit the fan in 1989 due to a series of court injunctions.

Western Oregon Bureau of Land Management Sell-Out/Sell-Off/Give-Away Proposals

My Western Oregon BLM page contains information about ongoing efforts to sell off, sell out, and/or give away federal public forestland in Western Oregon under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.

Tribal Forests in Oregon

My Tribal Forests in Oregon page includes information on existing and proposed Tribal Forests in Oregon, including a Larch Occasional Paper entitled "

Oregon Eastside Forest Legislation

See my Oregon Eastside Forests page for information on the pending legislation and eastside forests in general.

Forest Fires

Controversy around forest fire is increasing. Here are some general references:

The best scientific advice on how to manage fire in western forests—before they burn, as they burn and after they burn—can be found in the peer-reviewed journal article "Managing Fire-Prone Forests in the Western United States" (pdf file), which is downloadable here with the permission of the lead author under the condition that it is used only for limited educational use.

"Fire Risk in East-Side Forests" (pdf file) is an excellent scientific summary from the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station.

"Thinning, Fire and Forest Restoration: A Science-Based Approach for National Forests in the Interior Northwest," by Rick Brown then with Defenders of Wildlife addresses the factors to consider in determining the best mix of prescribed fire and small-tree thinning to achieve ecological restoration goals.

"Reforming the Fire Service: Analysis of Federal Fire Budgets and Incentives" by Randal O'Toole of the Thoreau Institute contains a brilliant analysis of bureaucratic behavior and the fire-industrial complex.

"Forest Restoration and Fire: Principles in the Context of Place" by Rick Brown, Jim Agee and Jerry Franklin is an excellent peer-reviewed treatment of this topic.

Larch Occasional Papers

I produce a series of aperiodic papers on topics of interest to me (and I hope at least some others).

• Transferring Western Oregon Bureau of Land Management Forests to the National Forest System (#2)

• Thinning Certain Oregon Forests to Restore Ecological Function (#3)

Forest Service Administrative Appeals: A Misallocation of Resources (#4)

• Eliminating Forest Service Regional Offices: Replacing Middle Management with More On-the-Ground Restoration (#5)

• Oregon and Washington Raw Log Exports: Exporting Jobs and a Subsidy to Domestic Mills (#10)

• An Overview of Land Management Categories for Oregon Federal Public Lands Under the Northwest Forest Plan (#14)

• Native American Tribal Lands and Federal Public Forestlands in Oregon (#15)

• Oregon Private Timberland Owners Not Paying Fair Share of County Property Taxes (#16)

• Oregon Private Timberland Owners Not Paying Enough State Timber Taxes (#17)

 Oregon Private Timberland Owners Not Paying Fair Share of Federal Income Taxes (#18)

• Oregon Softwood Lumber Industry 1995-2012: Fewer Mills and Jobs, but Larger Timber-Processing Capacity (#19)


Logging Increase Won't Lead to Job Boom: Guest Opinion. The Oregonian.

"Logjam: Nine Oregon Logging Mills Stuck in the Past" is a report co-authored with Sean Stevens of Oregon Wild.

"Natural History of Western Larch." Its seedlings prefer scorched earth. A conifer that sheds its needles every year, the western larch has a contrary nature. Each autumn before the needles fall, the trees turns from its iridescent green to the most golden gold.

"Bottomline on Option 9" analyzes the good, the bad and the ugly of the President's Northwest Forest Plan. It was co-written with Rick Brown, then of National Wildlife Federation, later with Defenders of Wildlife.

"Managing Western Juniper to Restore Sagebrush Steppe and Quaking Aspen Stands" was co-authored with Mark Salvo and published by the Sagebrush Sea Campaign.

Wallowa County Chieftain Columns

"Re-Educating Smokey Bear on Merits of Fire." Smokey has done his job too well. 98% of Americans can finish this sentence: "Only ...."

"Livestock Major Factor in Unhealthy Forests." Yes the exclusion of fire and the intrusion of chainsaws are two major reasons for the decline of the arid forests of the Intermountain West. But the third factor, most often left out of the debate is the grazing of domestic livestock.

"Money Grows Faster Than Trees." One can make more putting their money in a passbook savings account than investing in trees.

"It's Time To De-Road the National Forest System." Too many roads have been built and cannot be maintained on the National Forest System.

"Fund Federal Forests With Recreation Receipts." As general appropriation dollars dry up, the Forest Service needs a new source of funding. The Lesser of Two Evils is a more recent, and I think more
persuasive argument for the federal trail user fee.

"Increase Supply to Alleviate Wilderness Shortage." The best way to address this shortage is to increase the supply.

"Reinvesting in Oregon's Natural Infrastructure." To ensure functioning forest ecosystems (both across the landscape and over time), protected water supplies and adequate re(-)creational opportunities, much Oregon timberland needs to be reconverted to public forestland.

"Changes on the Siuslaw" appeared in Forest Magazine.


Oregon Wild is the premier organization working to conserve and restore Oregon's forests.

The Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (aka KS Wild) is the premier organization working to conserve and restore the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion of Southwest Oregon and Northwest California.

The Hells Canyon Preservation Council is the premier organization working to conserve and restore the forests of the Blue Mountains in Northeast Oregon and west central Idaho.

The Forest Legacy Program of the Geos Institute is doing important work in the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion, on the Tongass National Forest, on fire ecology and carbon sequestration.

Wild and Scenic Rivers is a new conservation organization based in Curry County, OR and is focused on, among other things the Oregon Redwoods.

An excellent primer on the importance of forests for sequestering and storing carbon and how biomass electricity production from burning wood is absolutely not carbon neutral is this "Statement on Forest Bioenergy Emissions" by distinguished Oregon State University forest scientists Beverly Law and Mark Harmon, along with William Moomaw of Tufts University.

See links on my Wilderness page for groups working on particular Wilderness proposals.


Like our great counterparts the Romans, we are, as I have said, a commercial and a utilitarian, not a poetic or artistic people. Our genius, too, is for construction; construction in institutions as well as in stone and mortar. Our art finds its place in skyscrapers and bridges.

The dream has no place with us, though all which truly lives forever has begun as a dream. Three hundred billion board feet of timber in Oregon are impossible figures to count on the fingers, but they are easily grasped by arithmetic. It is no trouble to divide them by Portland's own cut of lumber (which is only part of the total cut), five hundred and fifty million feet a year, and guess at the day when Oregon forests shall not be.

The City of Roses craved from that forest will have to take its visitors even now far to show them so much as a few acres of an unbroken forest, and it is so everywhere. The dollar rules, and except for the Government reservations there has been no thought of preserving a specimen of what mysterious Nature was a thousand years in building into infinite beauty with infinite patience.

When I see a dead giant rising from the river and placed dripping and naked before the saw, stripped of its armor of rugged bark to which the lichens and mosses clung lovingly till the last, I am foolish enough to think of the past ages and the future, and to believe that it is not necessary all should be wiped off clean, and when I hear the shriek of the log at the first bite of the saw I am Greek enough to think of Daphne and the dryads and the hamadryads, and I like to think of the shadowy aisles of an untouched Oregon forest, where the sky is blotted out by the dark and over-arching roof of green and into the sky, smooth and clear and round, for one hundred, two hundred feet rise the great solemn columns of this cathedral, I smell the balsam and feel the soft carpet of needles and of moss and look into those bluish depths where the giant trunks become almost ghostly and, behind that veil, it sees to me still lingers the Great Spirit of Creation. The brooding Silence shuts out the world and in these temples there is perfect rest.

It seems to me that this great beauty and solemnity is perhaps as valuable as the shriek and clamor of the mill. It is a pity to have all this majesty of antiquity wholly destroyed. Man cannot restore it. It cannot be rebuilt by Nature herself in less than a thousand years, nor indeed ever, for it is never is renewed the same. Nor do Government reservations preserve this to us; they, too, are wholly utilitarian and their plan contemplates the gradual sale and destruction of these Titans. There is no spot where the primeval forest is assured from the attack of the worst of all microbes, the dollar.

Charles Erskine Scott Wood, poet, author, lawyer, charter member of the Arlington Club, soldier, translator of Chief Joseph's most famous speech, founding trustee of the Portland Art Museum, director of the Portland Library Association, writing in the Pacific Monthly (June 1908).


Down in Enterprise, Ala., a monument pays homage to the boll weevil. Arriving from Mexico in 1892, the weevil rapidly destroyed the one-crop economy of the Old South where cotton was king. It forced the region into a more diversified -- and profitable -- livelihood, a fact recognized by the citizens of Enterprise who built the monument in 1919.

Within the same span of fewer than 30 years, we may see a monument dedicated to the northern spotted owl in Roseburg, Ore. This is the estimated time that it would take to complete the logging of the old-growth national forests in the Pacific Northwest unless the owl, in its designated role as "indicator species," can save them.

Despite this summer's declaration from biologists in a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service report that the spotted owl and the public ecosystem that it benignly represents are in danger of extinction, the ruling may be politically compromised into ineffectiveness. Then the next generation, our immediate children, will have to make the tough choices of what to do when the remaining 10% of the old-growth forests are harvested.

And if the owl prevails? Then, like the cotton farmers of a century ago, we will be forced to make these choices ourselves -- and make them in the next few months. That's fair. Ours is the generation that failed to heed the warning about the owl and its ecosystem when it was sounded 15 years ago. Ours is also the generation that reaped record harvests and exported record volumes of raw logs and chips at record prices in the past three years.

Jim Young, Technical Editor of and in Pulp & Paper (August 1990)

I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which we all have.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

If a man walks in the woods for the love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off the woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.

Henry David Thoreau, Life Without Principle

To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for them to dwell in or resort to.

Henry David Thoreau

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau

The greatest wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have incurred the violent hostility of the individuals and corporations seeking by fraud and sometimes by violence, to acquire and monopolize great tracts of the public domain to the exclusion of settlers... As to the forest reserves, their creation has damaged just one class: the managers and owners of the great lumber companies, which by illegal, fraudulent and unfair methods, have desired to get possession of the valuable timber of the public domain, to skin the land, and to abandon it when impoverished well nigh to the point of worthlessness.

Teddy Roosevelt (1906)

The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
The scepter of rulers
Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes,
Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.
The whole earth is at rest and is quiet;
They break forth into shouts of joy.
Even the cypress trees rejoice over you,
and the cedars of Lebanon, saying
'Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.'

Revelations 14:5-8

The critical question of "standing" would be... put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies and federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced or invaded by roads and bulldozers and where injury is the subject of pubic outrage. Contemporary public concern for protecting nature's ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation. See Stone, Should Trees Have Standing?: Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects, 45 S. Cal. L. Rev. 450 (1972). This suit would therefore be more properly labeled as Mineral King v. Morton.... The problem is to make certain that America's beauty have spokesmen before they are destroyed.... The voice of the inanimate object, therefore should not be stilled.

William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, dissenting in Sierra Club v. Morton, US Supreme Court

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed—chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much toward getting back anything like the noble primeval forest. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in the place of the old trees—tens of centuries old—that have been destroyed. IT took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods—trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the might forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ's time—and long before that—God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot same them from fools—only Uncle Sam can do that.

John Muir. Our National Parks (1901; last words of his second book)

These temple destroyers, devotees of ravishing commercialism seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the Mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the hearts of man.

John Muir (1838-1914)

Government protection should be thrown around every wild grove and forest on the mountains, as it is around every private orchard, and trees in public parks. To say nothing of their values as fountains of timber, they are worth infinitely more than all the gardens and parks of town.

John Muir

Fancy cutting down all those beautiful trees to make pulp for those bloody newspapers and calling it civilization.

Winston Spencer Churchill (1929)

If a tree falls in the forest, will you make a sound?

Homer Simpson, The Simpsons