Owl Preserve to Cost 40,000 Jobs, Report Projects

From Associated Press

The government's proposal to protect the northern spotted owl would cost the Pacific Northwest about 40,000 jobs in timbering and related industries by 1995, Fish and Wildlife Service economists said Monday.

The estimated loss would be 57% more than earlier projections.

Logging on the Northwest's federal lands would fall to less than one-fifth of historic levels, and the region's timber-related employment would drop to 13,259 jobs, according to the analysis.

That contrasts with 53,240 jobs the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management had projected for 1995 under existing forest management plans.

Under a federal court order, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed logging restrictions for 11.6 million acres of Northwest forests it deems critical to the survival of the estimated 3,000 remaining pairs of spotted owls.

Officials said the report does not attempt to predict the extent to which the loss of timber jobs could be offset by employment gains among nature tour leaders, fishing guides and other jobs tied to non-timber uses of forests.

The economic report concludes that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management earlier underestimated job loss that would result from the April, 1990, recommendations of Forest Service biologist Jack Ward Thomas and a panel of government scientists.

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