Section 3: The Economic Benefits of Conserving Anchor Habitats for Salmon in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests
Section 3: The Economic Benefits of Conserving Anchor Habitats for Salmon in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests
Increases in salmon harvests
Potential changes in salmon populations
One of the state's primary salmon restoration goals is not just the survival of Oregon's salmonid species, but population abundance that allows human communities to engage in commercial and recreational harvests.
We project, using a population model developed in the Knowles Creek Project, that implementing the proposed anchor habitat strategy in the Tillamook and Clatsop Forests will lead to significant increases in salmon populations within 20 years. Table 2 shows the estimates of the numbers of coho and chinook salmon available for harvest under three different forest-management alternatives: 1) under current Oregon Practices Act (OFPA) rules; 2) under the National Marine Fisheries Service's 1998 forestry reform recommendations; and 3) under our proposed anchor habitat strategy. We use the OFPA rules as a proxy for ODF's draft Forest Management Plan because we do not have enough information on the effects of structure-based management to model the effects of the FMP strategy, except for the riparian component. Given a core riparian no-harvest zone of 25 feet and harvest on steep slopes, the current forest practices rules appear to be a sufficient proxy in this fish model.
|Table 2: Potential Changes in Harvest of Coho and Chinook Produced in the Tillamook Basin under Three forest-management alternatives|
| Current OFPA rules
(proxy for FMP)
|Anchor Habitats Strategy||NMFS Proposal 1998|
|Coho Harvest||Current: 0
20 years: 0
125 years: 0
20 years: 3,000
125 years: 21,000
20 years: 1,500
125 years: 17,400
|Chinook Harvest||Current: 8,000
20 years: 3,000
120 years: 3,000
20 years: 8,000
120 years: 10,000
20 years: 6,000
120 years: 9,000
|Source: Population model based on Knowles Creek Project, Charley Dewberry, Ecotrust. (see Appendix 3)|
Our analysis indicates that if an anchor habitat strategy is not adopted, the two northwest state forests would not produce sufficient coho to sustain any level of harvest, and that the numbers of catchable chinook would decline from 8,000 to 3,000. With implementation of our proposed anchor habitat strategy, salmon populations would recover sufficiently to allow the catch of 3,000 coho in 20 years, and 21,000 in 125 years. The number of catchable chinook would remain at 8,000 through 20 years and eventually rise to 10,000.
Potential Revenues from harvested salmon
Under current market conditions, if caught by the commercial-fishing industry, each fish would have a dockside value of $5.00–$70.00. (IFR, 1996). Values are higher for fish caught by anglers: about $200.00 per fish. (Niemi et al. 1999b). At current rates, an increase of 3,000 in the number of catchable fish available to anglers would be worth about $600,000.
The potential increases in salmon available to the commercial or recreational fisheries would have a small impact on employment. Every 1,000 fish caught by the commercial industry generates about 1.5 jobs; in the recreational fishery, they create about 4 jobs. (Niemi et al. 1995; Radtke and Davis, 1995).
The effects on planned timber harvest, revenue, and job growth
Under the proposed Forest Management Plan (FMP), the most important economic fact is that harvest volumes and revenues are going to increase significantly over historic levels. In this section, we evaluate the economic impact and benefits of implementing a salmon anchor habitat strategy within the context of present project growth rate of revenues.
The proposed FMP projects harvest (and associated revenue) increases that will start modestly in 2001, and increase from about 113 MMBF annually to about 188 MMBF annually over the next ten years (2010). As an illustrative benchmark (Figure 1), this estimate was projected using the harvest data from Table 6 of the NW Implementation Plan published by ODF in March, 2000. The estimate is simply a linear projection using the minimum to maximum range of predicted harvest spread over ten years. Alternatively, many other harvest levels can be arranged within the range of information provided in Table 6 of the Plan.
Swiss Needle Cast disease
The Board of Forestry recently directed the ODF to pursue an aggressive harvest approach to addressing the affects of Swiss Needle Cast (SNC) disease on northwest state forests. However, the FMP does not yet contain projections concerning the economic effect of increasing harvest to treat SNC. Therefore, we have projected this as follows. We estimated the difference for the decade 2001–2010 between the Even Flow -1A and Departure 1C (Swiss Needle Cast) models by Sessions et al. to be an increase of 27%. We apply this percentage growth to the projected harvests by ODF from Table 6. (Figure 2).
Salmon anchor habitats
The estimates in Figure 2 show the simple proportional effects of an anchor habitat strategy on the Clatsop and Tillamook state forests. We estimated the effect of anchor habitats in a 125 year rotation (not permanent reductions) as the number of acres allocated to anchor habitats, riparian, and steep slopes (147,500) as a percentage of the overall state forests (30%). Subtracting the core riparian zone required of any strategy (3% of the state forests) estimates a 27% reduction in access to timber for the period (2001–2100). This reduction in timber revenue growth may be less when input to the harvest dynamics of the Sessions models.
These preliminary modeling exercises indicate that the combined effects of increased harvests for Swiss Needle Cast disease and the implementation of salmon anchor habitats may not alter the expected growth of revenues and jobs for the coming decade (2001–2010).
However, insofar as our estimation method assumes a simple proportional effect from temporarily shifting land use from timber to the protection of key salmon habitats and steep, unstable slopes, it does not account for opportunities for changing the frequency and intensity of forest-management activities over time as proposed for structure-based management, itself untested. Incorporating the salmon anchor habitat strategy into the Decal Analysis Model (Sessions, 2000), which accounts for flexibility in forest-management, would yield a more accurate estimate of the short and long term effects on the growth rates of harvests, revenues, and jobs.
It is also important to note that current timber and revenue projection models do not account for salmon conservation strategies that are currently under development by the ODF and include salmon focal areas. These strategies will be included in the FMP and a Habitat Conservation Plan being developed to comply with federal ESA requirements, and will likely affect projected growth in timber and revenues.
Under the timber harvest increases proposed in the FMP, new jobs in the timber sector would be created at the rate of 7 per MMBF (Angle et al., 1996). An increase of about 39 MMBF in the average timber harvest from the decade of the 1990s (74 MMBF) to decade 2001–2010 (150 MMBF) would generate about 275 to new timber jobs due to increased harvest in the 3 North Coast timber districts. ODF (Angle, 1996) estimates that 50% of timber jobs are local, based on the flow of harvested timber to processing plants, about 137 local jobs in Clatsop, Tillamook and Washington counties. Timber jobs multiply new jobs in other sectors at a 2:1 ratio or an additional 274 jobs. Thus the total new local jobs for the three districts would be in the range of 400. At an average wage of $23,500 (Angle et. al, 1996) this would generate $9,400,00 to the local communities each year. Our economic analysis indicates that for the coming decade, the combined effects of disease harvesting and salmon conservation using anchor habitats will not disturb the overall growth pattern of revenues and jobs.
With the adoption of an anchor habitat strategy, it is possible that forest-related revenues from sources other than timber sales could increase. Increases in recreational fees, for example, might become feasible, if the public adjusts to and accepts similar fees on federal lands. Or, forest managers may collect additional revenues from the sale of forest products other than timber. To date, however, managers have not aggressively pursued these options.
By way of example, a recent analysis in southern Oregon of the potential positive and negative aspects of designating a national monument, (MacMullan, 2000) concluded that, if expenditures by visitors to the monument from outside the local area increased 3–10 percent, the employment impact would be 210–700 jobs, more than offsetting the loss of 65–70 jobs in the timber industry. Similar opportunities are available to the managers of the two state forests and the residents of Clatsop and Tillamook counties.
Increasing forest product related revenues and jobs
Ecotrust and its affiliates Shorebank Enterprise Pacific and Shorebank Pacific operate in the Lower Columbia region, including Clatsop and Tillamook counties. These organizations promote the development of and investment in local businesses that add value to raw natural resources. Shorebank Enterprise has loaned more than $7 million dollars in the region from 1995–2000.
Value-added wood processing essentially derives greater value in products, jobs, wages, and the tax base than exporting raw materials to other counties for processing. Currently only 50% of harvested timber remains in Tillamook and Clatsop counties. Doing more with less is a successful economic development strategy that increases the level of community equity in the outcomes of forest management through business ownership, higher wage jobs, greater local flow of revenue dollars, and increased personal assets. For example, if 25% more MMBF could be captured by local processing in the counties, about 390 total local jobs (130 plus 260 other sector jobs, 2:1 multiplier) would be created. At average salary for the sector ($23,500), this would translate to approximately $9,650,000 annually to community economies.
Other revenue sources
Conservation easements for carbon sequestration
The sale of conservation easements to offset carbon emissions to the atmosphere to control global warming is real economic market.
The Pacific Forest Trust (PFT), operating in the Pacific Northwest, recently completed an analysis of a potential small-scale transaction for 2,000 acres in Clatsop and Tillamook counties, associated with the identification of salmon anchor habitats.
As an illustrative example only, using PFT estimates in NW Oregon forest stands of 44 tons carbon per acre at a selling price of $10.23 per ton, 81,490 acres of salmon anchor habitat would yield about $833,000 in one time revenue. Steep slope and riparian buffer easements would yield additional revenue. Such easements do not include the values of the land and timber, only the carbon storage. The values would yield additional higher revenues under an easement. A major corporate forest landowner is considering such an easement in the Tillamook region at this time.
Another relevant example is a PFT (PFT, 1999) analysis done for MacMillan Bloedel (Weyerhaeuser) of approximately 120,000 acres which resulted in a projection of an 8–9% reduction in timber revenue from riparian habitat reserves offset by a 13% gain in revenues from carbon easements over a 10-year period.
Federal payments to counties in lieu of timber harvests
Tillamook County is slated to receive $3.2 million federal dollars in the year 2000 and likely similar amounts per year in federal subsidy for the next six years as compensation for reduced timber harvests on federal lands (USFS and BLM) in the county.
In the coming decade we can afford to invest in better conservation management of salmon using an anchor habitat strategy. There is a great opportunity to do this on the public lands of the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests.
Given the ecosystem conditions of the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests and the management goals related to mitigation of disease and restoration of salmon, this approach addresses both while providing the expected growth in revenue and jobs.
Evaluating an anchor habitat strategy in the context of the comparative models developed for ODF will provide a more integrated picture of how an anchor habitat strategy can be implemented, given that it is a dynamic approach that reflects the way that forested landscapes change.
An anchor habitat strategy insulates the state and region from further, more drastic changes in forest management and potential litigation that may result if salmon populations should not recover under the current strategy of the Oregon Plan and the proposed Structure-based Management approach in the Forest Management Plan. This approach will allow greater adaptability in communities, the economy, and on the landscape.
An anchor habitat strategy is projected to achieve real recovery of salmon populations to a level where they can be harvested. Given that no restoration projects or programs to date have reached this goal in the Pacific Northwest, we cannot afford not to try this strategy on the most important public lands on the north coast of Oregon.
Finally an anchor habitat strategy contributes a greater balance of benefits to communities, the economy and the environment which are fundamental to the emerging conservation economy.