Seeing the forest

Seeing the Forest tells the story of the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon — how, in the wake of the spotted owl crisis of the 1980’s, it made a successful transition from a focus on timber extraction to a focus on ecosystem restoration.

Once the epicenter of conflict, the Siuslaw today is an exemplar of cooperation and collaboration among environmentalists, the logging community, and government agencies at all levels.

They are harvesting wood sustainably by thinning overly dense monoculture stands that are a legacy of the earlier days of unrestrained clearcutting. This not only improves the health of the forest by providing better habitat for multiple species, but it creates local jobs and provides a revenue stream to fund other restoration activities.

These actives include stream and watershed restoration, installing large culverts for fish passage, road maintenance, and road closures. All of these create more local jobs.

This documentary explains how one national forest evolved from seeing trees as its primary resource, to seeing the forest as a whole — a complex and interconnected ecosystem that needed all of its parts to function. They learned how to integrate the human community with the forest community, to the benefit of both.

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Blogpost and photo by Alan Honick – arhonick(at)

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