January 11, 2010

Why Gustafson Logging Matters

The Daily Astorian
January 11, 2010

If you care about forest health and salmon spawning, give Gustafson Logging a lot of credit. As Cassandra Profita reported Thursday, the Oregon Board of Forestry has given Gustafson Logging the 2009 Operator of the Year award. Gustafson is attentive and precise in its stream restoration work.

Theory and practice in riparian (river bank) zones has changed considerably over the past 20 years. While loggers used to “clean up” streams, there is now a wide recognition that salmon thrive in streams where fallen trees create a series of biologically rich pools.

Gustafson’s work in Rock Creek, a tributary of the Nehalem River, is a demonstration of modern logging artistry. As a Board of Forestry official told Profita, it was almost as if the loggers hadn’t been in the streambed. How did they pull it off? By adapting a skyline carriage system to move 55 large trees from a slope and into the stream.

Gustafson’s recognition is a reminder that local enterprise matters in many ways. A firm such as Gustafson contributes to the economy. But to be a logging company in 2010 demands a measure of ingenuity and a broader vision than it did 30 years ago.

Today, healthy forests require an ongoing commitment by logging firms and everyone else who lives and works here. Just replanting new seedlings doesn’t suffice. We have to think about how the whole system fits together with a keen eye on goals beyond our own lifetimes.

Not only loggers, but all local residents, can learn from the work in Rock Creek. In a system with countless moving pieces, all our individual actions add up.

The very notion of ecology is that all living things have a relationship. We know that the state of the forests has a lot to do with the health of salmon populations. Pulling those two elements together is a challenge. That’s why firms like Gustafson Logging and its creative energy matter.

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