What's happening in the forest sector?

Travel makes you think

My wife and I are leaving on vacation soon; we will be someplace warm where they don’t speak much English. We’re looking forward to the break!

Whenever we fly back to Oregon, I’m always impressed by our vast forests. If some private land has some clearings, I know those clearings are replanted after harvest, and that law protects fish and wildlife habitat and water resources.

That isn’t the case for some of the places we will visit. I am reminded that tropical forests are sometimes harvested using poor techniques, often illegally and with little regard for forest ecosystems, habitat or water quality.

As we prepare to leave, I’m working on one of OFRI’s publications called Oregon Forest Facts and Figures. We’re putting the final touches on the 2013 edition, and it will be available for order at OregonForests.org early in February. One of the charts in it is called “Oregon forestland acreage.” It shows that our state’s total forest acreage is essentially unchanged since 1953. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is Oregon’s land-use law that protects farm and forestland. In addition, the volume of wood growing in Oregon’s forests is nearly the same as it was 60 years ago.

Another important chart in the new edition shows “Annual timber harvest and mortality.” Mortality comes from fire, insects and disease. On our private forestland, much of the annual growth is harvested, about 4 percent dies, and about 20 percent is left to increase standing timber volume. However, on our federal forestlands, it’s just the opposite. Little timber is harvested, a large amount dies, and most goes to increasing the standing timber volume.

Here in the U.S., we have the ability and responsibility to solve our own problems. In some of the countries I’ll visit, that isn’t the case, and that’s something to ponder while I’m away. My hope for 2013 is that we have multiple breakthroughs with the public collaborations now underway to treat our east-side forests for ecosystem health and fire resiliency. And even though Oregon will still be in winter’s icy grip, I promise to be thankful when I return home in a couple weeks.

Dave Kvamme
Director of Communications

Who you gonna call?

With the turn of the New Year, there are some new resources to help family forest landowners discover who to call. Educating Oregon’s 60,000 family forest landowners how to manage their forests – to meet or exceed state laws – is the mission of the Partnership for Forestry Education.

Toward this end the Partnership has recently released the Family Forest Landowners Resource Guide. The guide lists the organizations available to help landowners, and the services they provide. Included are landowner organizations such as the Oregon Small Woodlands Association and the Oregon Tree Farm System, educational organizations such as the OSU Forestry and Natural Resource Extension Program, state agencies such as the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, and federal agencies such as the US Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Landowner resources listed include technical, financial and educational assistance. Download a copy today.

Another new resource is the Partnership’s Web page: KnowYourForest.org. KYF provides a home on the Internet for the Family Forest Landowners Resource Guide and includes an interactive Assistance Map that lists locally based landowner resources for each county in Oregon. KnowYourForest.org includes a calendar of educational events and an archive of recent conferences.

KYF’s Learning Library provides an array of educational materials on topics important to woodland owners. Publications, videos, presentations and resource links are provided on topics such as Getting Started, Tree Identification, Planting, Thinning, Fire, Wildlife, Forest Health, Logging and Marketing Timber, Non-timber Forest Products, Forest Protection Laws, Forest Management Planning, Weeds and Invasive Species, and Forest Certification.

So, if your New Year’s resolution is to learn more about managing your woodland, you now know who to call.

May the forest be with you.

Mike Cloughesy
Director of Forestry

Season’s Greetings, from our house to yours

As we wind down 2012, I want to take this opportunity to thank each one of OFRI’s board members, funders, collaborators and contractors for your help this past year. Any success we enjoy is dependent on your encouragement and support.

For OFRI’s holiday greeting this year, we posed in front of the Christmas tree in Portland’s Pioneer Square – what has become affectionately known as “Portland’s Living Room.” Thanks to Stimson Lumber Company for donating the 75-foot Douglas-fir. It’s the 10th year the Portland-based company has donated the tree, and it’s no small feat to haul a big tree to the middle of downtown.

Because it’s a Stimson tree, and because Ray Jones, OFRI’s board chair, is vice president of resources for Stimson, we invited him to join us for our annual group photo. He graciously agreed. Thanks Ray, for your gentlemanly and sure leadership.

So, from our house to yours, best wishes for a safe and merry holiday season and a happy new year. May 2013 be everything you hope it will – and more!

For the forest,
Paul Barnum
Executive Director

(Pictured from left to right, top row: Mike Cloughesy, Ray Jones, Dave Kvamme, Julie Woodward. Bottom row: Kathy Storm, Jordan Benner, Norie Dimeo-Ediger, Paul Barnum)

Pest Scene Investigation: Identifying tree crimes

What is damaging or killing trees on private forest landowners’ properties? 
How do landowners manage for a resilient, healthy forest?

Having a dead tree can drive some landowners up a tree – literally! Recently I spent a day in the woods with 22 local family forestland owners. Each person had a keen interest in learning how to identify current or potential threats to their forest trees. Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Program hosted the workshop, with the goal of training each of us to be a Pest Scene Investigator (PSI).

Pest Scene Investigators, an advanced component of the Master Woodland Manager program, focus on diagnosing insect and disease problems, including bark beetles, foliage-damaging insects and diseases, root rots, tip-damaging insects, rusts, vertebrate wildlife and more.

Master Woodland Managers are qualified small family forestland owners who receive specialized training by OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension to be effective volunteers and community leaders. OFRI  is a long-term supporter of this program and all education outreach for forest landowners.

Private forest landowners manage 34 percent of Oregon’s forests, and account for 75 percent of total harvest. The health and productivity of these forests are important to us all. The majority of forest landowners have established plans that specifically address their forest objectives regarding the well-being of wildlife, quality of watersheds, health of the trees and plants, and reduction of fires, insect infestations and diseases. During our Pest Scene Investigator training we learned that most tree stands are weakened by both non-living (abiotic) factors, such as a change in the site’s hydrology, as well as biotic factors – insects, disease, rodents or over-crowding.

The drought we experienced in western Oregon this past summer, stretching more than 110 days without rain, is starting to show an impact in some of the Willamette Valley’s Douglas-fir forests. Our class witnessed many Douglas-fir trees with “flare-out,” where whole branches, tops or new growth were completely red and dead. Many trees will be able to survive and recover, but the drought will impact trees that are already stressed or on marginal growing soil. Actively managing your forests by identifying potential threats is one of the most crucial steps in having healthy and resilient forests for the long term.

Do you worry about what might be damaging or killing your trees, and wonder what you can do about it? There may be a trained Pest Scene Investigator in your area willing to assist you in evaluating the overall health of your forest or woodland, help with planning, and provide advice and information on all aspects of forest and woodland management. Contact your local OSU Extension Forester for more information.

Julie Woodward
Forest Education Program Manager

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