Tree voles may cut into lumbering

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Tue Oct 2 23:49:48 EST 2001

>From The Oregonian, Sept. 27, 2001 p B8

Tree voles may cut into lumbering
Because logging is banned in 10-acre buffers around active vole nests,
the Clark sale must be renegotiated

	The Forest Service has discovered sensitive rodent habitat in the
Clark timber sale near Eugene. It will likely reduce the cutting area
by more than half.
	Forest Service biologists found evidence of red tree voles, a small
rodent that nests in old-growth Douglas fir and is a key source of
food for the northern spotted owl.
	The Willamette National Forest survey found 27 active and 17 inactive
vole nests in the forest. Each active nest requires a buffer area of
10 acres, according to a memo issued earlier this month by Rick Scott,
ranger for the Middle Fork Range District. The survey suggests the
cutting area will be reduced from 94 acres to 43 acres, leaving intact
the north fork of the Fall Creek drainage.
	Environmentalists are claiming a victory.
	Tree-sitters have been perched in the trees for about 3-1/2 years
while other environmental activists searched for vole nests.
 	The Willamette forest first sold the timber to Zip-O-Lumber Mills
Inc. of Eugene in March 1998. Forest officials haven't decided whether
to repay part of the bond Zip-O-Lumber posted for the cutting rights,
to offer additional timber elsewhere in the forest or to take other
action to make up for the harvest reduction.
	As of this week, "there's been no formal change to the Clark timber
sale," Willamette forest spokeswoman Patti Rodgers said. "We've said
to the purchaser, here's what the red tree vole surveys have meant and
here are the modifications that would be needed," Rodgers said.
	Environmentalists applauded the 51-acre harvest reduction but vowed
to fight on until the entire sale is canceled.
	"We're still going to continue to try to find additional red tree
vole sites in there and remind people this is an old-growth timber
sale, and we should be done logging old-growth trees in this day and
age," said Doug Heiken of the Oregon Natural Resources Council.

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler

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