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FOREST MANAGEMENTAND RURAL COMMUN/T/ES /N THE PAC/F/C NORTHWEST Rural economies in the Pacific Northwest historically have derived a substantial share of their economic base from natural-resource-based industries, including timber, agriculture, and mining. As with many similar rural economies across the country, they have had trouble adjusting to new circumstances when economic or policy changes affect the availability of the resources that have beenimportantto them. Some 5.6 minion Pacific Northwest residents live in the 129 counties classified as nonmetropolitan by the 1990 U.S. Census; that is 46% of the total population ant! 85% of the 151 counties in the region. Analyses in this chapter are basecE on county-level data unless otherwise noted. Forests and forest-based industries have been important to many of these nonmetropolitan counties in the region. RURAL ECONOMIC WELL BE/NO AND NATURA! -RESOURCE /NDUSTR/ES Rural poverty is not unique to the Pacific Northwest. Throughout Me United States, nonmetropolitan areas almost always have higher poverty levels than do metropolitan areas (RSS 1993~. And although nonmetropolitan areas in the Pacific Northwest have lower incomes and higher poverty rates relative to metropolitan counties, they have fared well compared with persistent poverty areas of the South, Southwest, 760
Forest Management and Rura/ Communities . 767 Alaska, and the Southern Highlands. Of the 540 U.S. counties that have had poverty levels of 20% or more since 1960, only one of those counties is in the Pacific Northwest (Beale 1993~. In 1990, the median nonmetropolitan family income in the Pacific Northwest was $23,159 compared with $29,481 for metropolitan counties (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1990~. Only one other nonmetropolitan regionnorthern New Englandhad a higher median family income ($26,051) than the nonmetropolitan counties of the Pacific Northwest. In contrast, the Upper Great Lakes nonmetropolitan family median income was $20,867, and the median income in the Mississippi Delta was $15,532. Those income figures are mirrored by poverty data. In 1990,15.3% of the nonmetropolitan Pacific Northwest population livecE in poverty while 12.2 % of the metropolitan population did (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1990~. in comparison, nonmetropolitan northern New England had a poverty rate of 12%, the Northern Plains had 17.3%, the Southern Coastal Plain had 26.4%, and the Mississippi Delta had 34.3%. The reasons for lower income levels and higher poverty rates in rural areas are complex and the subject of considerable stucly and debate (RSS 1993~. One explanation is rural America's dependence on volatile natural-resource markets (Humphrey et al.1993~. Dependence on a few industries for the majority of local economic activity also limits the capacity of rural economies to absorb change. Two long-term trencis in the manufacturing sector are important in the Pacific Northwest rural economies. The first is increasing efficiency in raw material use. The second is increaser! labor efficiency and declining cLemand for labor, particularly among the ranks of blue-collar workers, once the mainstay of rural economies. The increasingly competitive worlct market places greater pressure on U.S. manufacturers to continue such productivity increases (Galston and Baehler 1995~. The lumber and wood products industry in the Pacific Northwest illustrates the effect of the general trend in natural-resource industries. Young and Newton (1980) conclude that there is a "long term trend toward capital intensiveness in the wood products industry. The substitution of capital for labor in production means the loss of jobs." Hibbard and Elias (1993) report that in the late 1970s, 534 timber mills produced ~ ~ billion board feet of lumber and employed almost 200,000 workers. In 198S, 453 mills (15% fewer) produced 16.5 billion board feet
I62 Pacific Northwest Forests (a 50% increased with 160,000 workers (~% fewer). Between 1979 ancE 1988, 26,000 jobs in the lumber and wood products sector were elimi- natecE as output rose (Anderson and Olson 1991~. Although there has been a general trend toward increasing labor productivity and consolidating operations across the region, it has not been evenly distributed geographically. Cordray and Goetz (1994) showed that the mills that closed in Lane County, Oregon, were in the rural areas of the county; those that remained open were in the urban areas. Those closures ancE similar relocation occurred during the late 1970s and the early 1980s as the timber industry sought to reduce its manufacturing and transportation costs. The estimates of job loss in Washington and Oregon owing to restrictions on federal harvest range from a low of 12,000 jobs (Anderson and Olson 1991) to a high of 147,000 jobs (Beuter 1990~. The differences are the result of differing assumptions regarding the time involves] and the change in timber supply. Sample and Le Master (1992) compared those and other estimates using standardized assumptions ancE estimated that employment decline would range between 11,858 ancE 32,015 jobs from 1991 to 2000. FEMAT (1993) concluded that relative to 1992 levels, its projections of timber harvests for the various options being evaluated and its assessment of regional employment per unit of harvested timber "imply a range of job displacement from 21,200 to 32,000 jobs." That is fewer than 3,000 jobs a year in an economy that is crowing bv more than 241,000 jobs a vear. ~ . _ ~ , Although relatively few jobs are being lost from restrictions on harvesting, it is one of a long string of events that have reduced the importance of the timber industry in the economy of the Pacific Northwest. FEMAT concluded "timber-based employment is apt to be declining under all options considered.... [T]he economy of the region as a whole appears to be poised for continued growth. The job Toss issue thus becomes more of a distributional nature, with rural communities declining as more developed areas expand." The next section looks more closely at the specific social and economic outcomes of timber dependency in the Pacific Northwest. TIMBER DEPENDENCY AND COMMUNITY WELL BE/NO The committee was asked to "evaluate to the extent possible the nature
Forest Management and Rura/ Communities 763 of the economic and social costs and benefits associated with alternative management practices." Although the question is easy to ask, it is hard to answer. Few social-impact studies clearly tie social and economic outcomes with specific forest-management practices, such as old-growth harvest rates, the use of clearcu~ing as a harvest technique, or the relative intensity of silvicultural practices. Several studies have examined the relationship between the percentage of people employed in timber producing and processing industries and indicators of welI- being such as income, percent living in poverty, and housing conditions. Counties with a higher proportion of such jobs relative to other counties are referred to as timber dependent. Heberiein et al. (1994) reviewed eight studies by Drielsma (1984), Elo and Beale (1984), Kusel and Fortmann (1991), Bliss et al. (1992) Howze et al. (1993), Tree and Cubbage (1993), Force et al. (1993), and Overdevest and Green (1994) and presented a meta-analysis of the relationship between varying levels of timber dependence and measures of commu- nity well being. The studies covered the Northeast, the Pacific North- west, the Southeast, and the entire nation as a whole. Those studies reported relationships between the proportion of timber jobs and 134 measures of socioeconomic well being. The majority of the relationships between increasing timber depend- ency as measured by the proportion of timber-related jobs and social and economic well-being inclicated that well-being went up as timber dependency went down. In most cases, timber dependency seemed to hurt rather than help communities. This analysis found that timber- dependent counties (and by extension, communities) tend to have higher unemployment, lower income, more poverty, and lower levels of education in comparison with counties with greater economic diversity. They also have oIcler, lower-value housing that tends to be seasonal, with fewer new houses. Timber-dependent counties tend to have lower birth rates, higher death rates, greater age dependency, higher infant mortality, and lower growth rates than other counties. Some evidence points to poorer health care, fewer churches and more arrests. A second set of research linked management variables with social and economic well being. Ru~zitis and colleagues have been studying the effects of wilderness preservation on community wellbeing. Wilderness is a special designation of federal land in which management practice is restricted to protect the area from timber cutting and motorized vehicle access. Wilderness designation has been controversial because
764 Pacific Northwest Forests of its presumed negative effect on local timber harvesting jobs. Thus, lower levels of economic well being might be expected In communities located near wilderness areas. However, the available data show that is not the case. Ru~zitis and lohansen (1991) found that the unemploy- ment rate in wilderness counties (counties that either contain or are adjacent to counties that contain federally managed wilderness areas) is wed below the national average. Adjacency to protected lands like wilderness actually serves as an attraction for new residents in an area. Ru~zitis (1993) later found that wilderness counties showed population growth of 24%, 6 times faster than the nonmetropolitan counties nationally and twice as fast as nonmetropolitan counties in the west (Ru~zitis 1993~. Wilderness attracts people of greater economic means and thereby increases the level of socioeconomic indicators of wed being. The migrants to these counties are more likely than long-term residents to be college graduates and have professional occupations and higher incomes. Four out of five in-migrants to wilderness counties rated scenery, outdoor recreation, and environmental quality as the most important reasons to move (Ru~zitis and Johansen 1991~. These studies suggest that wilderness and amenity protection can have a positive influence on certain measures of community well being, although in-migration brings its own difficulties (Brown 1993~. Whether county-level data represent communities has been ques- tioned, because county data aggregate data from several communities. Employment and income data, however, are maintained at the county level, and economic regions are generally larger than individual villages, towns, and cities. Also, timber dependency or forest-management effects might be masked by using only 1980 and 1990 county-level census data. Force and co-workers (1993) examined community-level data over time for a single community (Orofino, Idaho) to explore this concern. They used government, media, industry, and personal sources from as far back as 1920 and showed that social unrest, disasters, and nontimber development have a more profound effect on community well being than do changes in forest harvest and mill production. They also found that the number of employees and churches decreased and the number of arrests increased as harvesting on national forests increased. Those findings are consistent with the results of other county-level, cross- sectional analyses.
Forest Management and Rura/ Communities 765 Force et al. (1994) extended their analysis to four resource-ciepenclent communities communities depenclenton timber,m~ning, fishing, and tourism. They examined the joint effects of local resource production (volumes of wood, minerals or fish, number of employees in resource- dependent industries, and product values), local historical events, and societal trends to determine the effects on four indicators of community social change (size, structure, cohesion, and anomie)). In only 5 of 20 cases (in a matrix of four social change variables by five communities) did resource production correlate with social indicators. When it clid, the effect was sometimes an inverse relationship between resource production and well being. in Prineville, (the timber-depenclent community) resource production haci no effect on measures of commu- nity size, structure, or cohesion beyond the effect of local historical events and societal trencis. However, increasing numbers of divorces (one indicator of anomies, did exhibit a direct relationship with increased timber cutting independent of social trends ancE local historical events. Thus, the in-depth statistical analysis of communities over time also fits the general conclusion that timber depenclency is associated with lower levels of certain measures of social and economic well-being. D/VERS/F/CAT/ON /N RURAL COMMUN/T/ES OF THE PAC/F/C NORTHWEST As industries such as agriculture, mining, and forestry decline as employers and sources of income, economic diversification in rural America has emerged as an urgent need. Diverse economic conditions create cliverse opportunities ancl thus temper the effects of timber industry fluctuations on local communities (Kuse] and Fortmann 1991~. Over the past 20 years in the Pacific Northwest, rural communities have become much less dependent on timber, mining, fishing, or agriculture (Anderson and Olson, 1991~. They increasingly benefit from a mix of extractive industries, light manufacturing, retirement, residen- tial, service, ancE recreation sectors. In Oregon, for example, the lumber The state of alienation resulting from the loss of social stability.
766 Pacific Northwest Forests and wood products industry now represents only 5% of total employ- mentO Many of the communities In the Pacific Northwest started off as timber towns, but have made a transition to an entirely different economy (e.g., Leavenworth, Washington, and Sisters, Oregon). Many more have seen their local economies diversify. The signs of economic diversification evident in economic trend data can be easily overlooked, because the logging culture permeates the Pacific Northwest. Log trucks and melts are obvious, but small businesses and home-based employment are not. Cultural symbols are infused with Me logging culture: the community college in Aberdeen, Washington, is called the "Home of the Chokers" (a choker is a common piece of logging equipment), and the Libby, Montana, high-school teams are the "Loggers." But self-employed service workers and transfer payments of retirees are not visible, although their incomes contribute significantly to diversifying rural communities. It is those dollars that are making a significant contribution to rural communities as they diversify and grow in new directions (Power 1992~. Rural economic diversification in the Pacific Northwest is most directly affected by the availability of transportation and proximity to population centers. Rural northwestern communities lying along Interstate 5running from the Canadian border to Los Angeleshave enjoyed substantial economic growth in recent years, in businesses ranging from computer hardware and software to telephone-switching centers and trucking companies. The National Association of Counties (1993) notes that "Mill City is becoming a 'bedroom community' since many who lost local jobs are traveling 15-50 miles to jobs." Regression models showed a positive effect of commuting on household income net of other factors (HeberIein et al. 1994~. Kuse} and Fortmann (1991) note that "Iocally-based ecosystem restoration is a growing phenomenon in California," with state support expanding to provide local jobs. T~ocal tree-planting and restoration organizations have grown up based on funding provided by such programs; in some areas, they have become an important source of employment. In addition to forest restoration, the development of nontimber forest products has shown increasing influence in the regional economy of the Pacific Northwest. In their 1991 study of special forest products in the coastal part of the region, SchIosser et al. (1991) found that "floral greens" has expanded to become an important
Forest Management and Rura/ Communities 767 regional industry. Its 1989 value-added contribution to the gross national product was estimated to be $80.5 million. Mushroom harvesting and growing and berry harvesting are other examples of diversification. Many forest communities provide attractive sites for tourism and recreation. As the importance of extractive industry declines, Pacific Northwest communities are looking toward tourism as a way to bolster their economies. A strong tourism industry could strengthen the local economies by providing jobs with Tow, entry-level skill requirements, potential for upward mobility, and local ownership and control (McCoo] et al. 1995~. However, tourism by itself is not a substitute for timber industry jobs. Annual incomes in tourism sector jobs often are inferior to traditional rural employment, largely because tourism-related jobs are seasonal (Power 1996~. in his comprehensive study of Montana's tourism industry Barrett (1987) concluded that "in almost every aspect measurable by census data, tourism employment is substantially inferiornot only to employment throughout Montana's economy but to comparable retail trade and personal services" (Barrett 1987~. Such aspects include highly erratic seasonal employment, a high percentage of women and young adults in the work force, and an average income half of the Monta- na average. Those As the importance of extractive characteristics can also be strengths, however, for peo- ple not seeking full-time jobs or those who are just entering the work force. industry c/ec/ines, Pacific Northwest communities are looking toward tourism as a way to bolster their economies....However, tourism by itself is nor a substitute for timber industry jobs. Many rural communities have tried to entice new manufacturing companies to their areas to replace lost manufacturing jobs, but many communities are too small and too far from a metropolitan area to attract large-scale industry. A substantial renumber of firms in rural areas have payrolls of fewer than 100 employees (Castle 1 993), but those firms account for the fastest-growing economic sector in nonmetropolitan areas and in the nation's economy as a whole. Kuse] and Fortmann (1991) note that because small businesses are location specific, they are
768 Pacific Northwest Forests most likely to contribute to community well being by using local expertise and management and are more likely to invest in sustainable management of local resources. New small businesses add to the capacity of rural communities, but mill and forest jobs often add only income. Mobility and the information age are allowing more people to move to rural communities. Cromartie (1994) notes the growing importance of the private service sector in the West: "Much evidence indicates that nonmetropolitan areas in the West are beginning to benefit from the location of high paying, producer services." High-end producer services, such as engineering, accounting, and legal services, which were once found exclusively in metropolitan areas, are increasingly moving to nonmetropolitan areas. Egan (1994) quotes a mill owner in Medford Oregon "people moving to southern Oregon from California are not all retirees, as the stereotype has it. They are bringing in jobs with them." /N-MIGRATION Although many nonmetropolitan counties lost population in the 1980s, the elderly are an important group of in-migrants to rural communities. The number of elderly in the United States has grown from 16.2 million In 1960 to 31.1 million in 1990. For the past 3 decades, older people have been leaving metropolitan areas for nonmetropolitan areas, and as the nation ages, rural areas are most affected. Fuguitt and Beale (1993) show that the North Pacific coast region had the third highest rate of in- migration of elderly among any of 26 U.S. regions (the Southwest and the Florida peninsula were first and second). Elderly who migrate from predominantly urban areas to the Pacific Northwest have expectations for a high quality of life, and access to amenity-based resources are a pre-eminent value sought (Fuguitt and Beale 1993, Salazar et al. 1986~. Tn-migration by retirees brings new income into rural economies in the form of retirement income earned elsewhere. The growing ~mpor- tance of transfer payments in nonmetropolitan areas is changing the traditional dynamic of employment stability in the region and contribut- ing to rural economic diversification. Over the 20 years from 1971 to 1991, noniabor income increased from 26% of total personal income to 34%. In-migration of retirees also leads to new jobs in the residential,
Forest Management and Rura/ Communities 769 health-care, retail, and amenity-related sectors. They can infuse new ideas and vitality into a community through volunteer work and entrepreneurial activities. This population creates the demancL for high- quality community infrastructure, such as hospitals, transportation, and recreation activities. In-m~gration also has negative effects. Property taxes are likely to go up as sales increase and new houses are built with outside money. That might recluce the housing available to some residents. The new jobs that are created tend to be service oriented and low paying. There may also be overload on roads, hospitals, fire departments, ancl sewage treatment plants. Most dramatically, urban and nonurban values might clash, especially where new residents are not sympathetic to the need for local extractive industries (Price and Clay 1980; Blahna 1990~. The focus on private property rights might take away common areas that are taken for granted by rural residents (Brown 1993~. POVERTYAND PLENTY ANGER AND HOPE /N THE PAC/F/C NORTHWEST The economy is growing, and rural communities are diversifying and revitalizing as they rely less on an extractive economy. Nonetheless, strong complaints come from the rural areas of the Pacific Northwest. Mills have been closed and jobs lost to increases in efficiency and productivity. Those are changes caused by a particular set of political and economic decisions. The losses occurred long before owls or environmentalists were a dominant force in the political process. Timber management as it has been practiced in the past century has not had an appreciable effect on the wellbeing of rural people. National ancl world economic forces have had a more direct bearing on employment than has timber supply (Waggener 1990~. Some jobs have been lost due to recent change in forest policy, lawsuits, and restricted production. Although not large in absolute or even relative terms, those job losses create hardship for the individuals who lost them. Persistent poverty, historic job loss, and current job loss are all having real effects. Cultural and lifestyle images are probably more important factors influencing people's perceptions of the significance of loss of timber-
770 Pacific Northwest Forests based employment. Rural culture has emphasized and glorified some extractive occupationsthe farmer and the logger, among others. Forestry is a high-visi- The effects on overa// regions/ bility occupation and emp/oyment and income of the culturally important activity. The pioneer tradition is only sev- eral generations re- moved from present day in the region. Many fee} that traditional timber management built the Northwest, and this legacy is being threatened. Retraining for jobs at the same wages, trading a logger's suspenders for a desk job is a loss of identity and status in a rural community. Another response to job loss has been movement out of the community by families who have lived there for generations. changes in Pacific Northwest forest practices over the past decac/e have been re/ative/y sma//. SUMMARY The effects on overall regional employment and income of the changes in Pacific Northwest forest practices over the past decade have been relatively small. Although some communities that were dependent on federal timber sales have suffered, the combination of a vibrant regional economy and federal assistance to affected people and communities have ameliorated possible impacts. in addition, a rise in the relative importance of income derived from the recreation sector and transfer payments has benefitted rural communities. The importance of timber-related income in the region's economy has continued to fall as the economic base has diversified and forest products firms have become more efficient. Nevertheless, timber wiD continue to play a role as a source of income to the region, one that deserves to be weighed in decisions about forest management practices.