Wildfire, drought linked to major losses for timber industry, OSU says

A new study from Oregon State University says wildfires and drought in recent years has caused billions of losses to the private timber industry.

The study says wildfires and drought have caused over $11 billion in damages to the west coast’s private timber industry over the past 20 years. This equals about a 10 percent reduction in timber value across Oregon, California, and Washington timberlands.

Researchers say a lot of the loss actually isn’t from burned land.

“In our studies we find that the majority of the loss comes from the changes in land owners expectations,” said postdoctoral scholar Yuhan Wang. “People’s perceived risk of wildfires as actually changed”

According to the study, this change in perception could lead to a decrease in public investment in forestry, which would impact the cost of timber across the region and may lead to public intervention by local legislators.

Researchers say this study showcases the link between climate change and economic loss for the private timber industry.

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Taylar Ansures is a producer and reporter for NBC5 News. Taylar is from Redding, California and went to California State University, Chico. After graduating, she joined KRCR News Channel 7 in Redding as a morning producer. She moved to Southern Oregon in 2022 to be closer to family and became KTVL News 10’s digital producer. Taylar is currently finishing her Master's Degree in Professional Creative Writing through the University of Denver. In her free time, Taylar frequents independent bookstores and explores hiking trails across Southern Oregon and Northern California.
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