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Contractor Jobs Western Colorado

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					Forest Thinning Workforce Developments
        in Colorado and the West

               Dr. Kurt Mackes
              Assistant Professor
      Department of Forest, Rangeland, and
            Watershed Stewardship
           Colorado State University
   Topics to be discussed
1. How many forestry students does it
   take to treat an acre of forestland?

2. Characterization of Colorado timber
   harvesting contractors

3. Industry trends with emphasis on the
   workforce
The Problem?
Forest Restoration and Fuel Mitigation
work at the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch
Before Treatment
After Treatment (Fuel Break)
   Solution to problem?

Healthy Forest Restoration Act
• Treat 20 million acres (Remove
  about 8 billion small trees)
• Authorization: $760 million

3 forestry students per acre
Find 60 million forestry students
        Actual problem?

Shortage of forestry students willing to
pay tuition to do forest restoration and
fuel mitigation thinning
  One barrier to implementing
   forest thinning projects is:

Shortage of trained workers willing
to do forest restoration and fuel
mitigation thinning at an acceptable
price (wage)
      Colorado Timber Harvesting
          Contractor Survey
    The number of Colorado Contractors that
    responded to survey was 102

    It is estimated that this represents about 1/3 of
    the total contractors in the State

    Park, Jefferson, Boulder, Douglas, and Clear
    Creek counties have the highest number of
    contractors in Colorado
Source: Study conducted by Srefan Reinold
Scope of Problem in Colorado
Colorado Red Zone
• 6.3 million acres at high risk of catastrophic
  fire
• To treat this number of acres over 25 years,
  must treat about 250 thousand acres a year
About 300 Colorado harvesting contractors
Each contractor would need to treat 800 to 850
acres annually
  Characterization of Colorado
 Timber Harvesting Contractors
All contractors operating in Colorado are classified
as small businesses

Typically these businesses have fewer than 20
employees (most have fewer than 10)

Diverse range of business size and capability
Mechanized Timber Harvesting System
Operating on the Colorado Front Range
 Harvesting Contractor Trends
along the Colorado Front Range
   Loss of conventional logging businesses
    • Survivors have switched focus to forest
      restoration and fuel mitigation thinning
      work
   Move to small log systems
   • Mixed success

   Use of low cost labor
   • Subcontract labor
   • Immigrant and minority labor
     U.S. Hourly Wages For Forestry
              Occupations
                                   Employment           Mean Hourly Rate (2003)

Fallers                                  9,620                  $15.31
Logging Equipment                       28,190                  $13.00
Operators
Log Graders &                             4,900                 $13.01
Scalers
Forest & Conservation                     9,170                  $9.58
Workers

Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Affect of Race on Wages

          Mean Hourly Rate (2001)
 White           $15.00
 Black           $11.83
 Hispanic        $10.11
 Asian           $15.59

 Source: Taken from Office of Social Justice Website:
    Facts about Wages.
              Latino Immigrants
Latino immigrants come primarily from Mexico
Travel throughout Western U.S. for seasonal employment
(Forest restoration and fuel mitigation thinning work tends to
be seasonal)
 Do manual labor and low skilled jobs
•   Agriculture
•   Non-timber forest products
•   Tree planting
•   Forest restoration and fuel mitigation thinning
•   Fire fighting
Forestry jobs are highly sought after because they pay more
(up to $12 per hour) than agricultural fieldwork (about $6.50
per hour)
Colorado Contractor Perception
   of Hispanic/Latino Labor
Generally positive for legally documented
workers
•   Willing to work hard and for relatively long hours
•   Acceptable quality of work for low skilled jobs
•   Good value to contractor (lower wages)
Concerns included:
•   Undocumented or illegally documented workers
•   Exploitation of workers
                Conclusion
There continues to be a lack of forestry students that
are willing to pay tuition to do forest restoration and
fuel mitigation thinning
In Colorado “logging” companies are in transition to
more effectively engage in forest restoration thinning
and hazardous fuel reduction work
Colorado contractors will continue to use minority and
immigrant labor to reduce costs
Colorado Wood Utilization & Marketing
Assistance Center - Contact Information
 Webpage (www.colostate.edu/programs/cowood)
                         Kurt Mackes
                         (970) 491-4066
                         Kmackes@cnr.colostate.edu

                         Chris Jennings
                         (970) 491-2958
                         Jennings@lamar.colostate.edu

                         Tim Reader
                         (970)247-5250
                         treader@lamar.colostate.edu

                         Bob Sturtevant
                         (970)491-7598
                         bsturt@lamar.colostate.edu

				
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