Not dead yet


"The timber industry, battered by environmental regulations and unfavorable economics, was wheezing a death rattle: In the two decades after the hippies arrived, logging in the county declined by 60 percent."

This is a bit of a pet peeve, I admit, but the timber industry in Humboldt county is not "dead." It still contributes around $300 million/year to the local economy and accounts for over half of all the manufacturing jobs in the area and is the single largest producer of timber in California.

Certainly, timber is not the overwhelming economic powerhouse it once was in Humboldt County (and for good reason, since it wasn't really sustainable), but this area does have some of the fastest timber growth rates on the planet and current harvest rates are only about one-quarter to one-half of what could be sustained over the long term under ecosystem management principles. And as the trees continue to grow, they'll get larger and more valuable, and if we don't utilize them, the export market will -- a much bigger tragedy from both the employment and carbon cost perspectives.

So can we stop saying timber is dead in Humboldt? Because it isn't; it's just differently abled now.

Tim Baker
Eureka, California

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