Logging could make California forests more resilient, but supply chain woes abound

By Amy Scott and Sean McHenry
October 19, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As counterintuitive as it might seem, logging could be one way to help make California’s woodlands more wildfire resilient. Unfortunately, the process is beset with its own unique set of supply chain problems. Freelance journalist Jane Braxton Little said the process is called selective logging, and it involves landowners working with foresters to identify individual fire-risk trees, which are then harvested for lumber. While there’s evidence that this practice could help mitigate future wildfires, there’s a critical problem: No one is able to buy the logs. This ultimately comes down to California’s overburdened sawmills, which are at capacity and often unable to take on new lumber, Braxton Little said. “The diminished capacity of the industry in recent years means they can’t always handle the supply,” she said. “It’s a narrow neck funnel that slows down the flow of timber logs from private, non industrial forest owners to the sawmills.”

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