Thinking through a harvest
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Director's Message

We are currently in the midst of one of the best timber markets in over 20 years. As a result, many forest owners are thinking about whether to harvest some of their timber. Further, many logging contractors or timber buyers are actively soliciting logs, and you may receive a letter in the mail offering cash for your trees.

I urge anyone who is considering harvesting timber to use caution and prudence as you move forward with this decision. Knowing precisely how much timber you have (and how much you want to harvest at this time) is as important as knowing precisely how you want to harvest it.

At the early stages of planning a timber harvest, you should have a professional forester appraise the value of your timber, or “cruise” it. Second, you should develop a harvest plan that meets your needs and values, and takes into consideration your long-term objectives for your forest.

As many of you are aware, we at NNRG are strong advocates of thinning and a silvicultural strategy referred to as “uneven-aged management”. Thinning has many advantages over clearcut harvesting that may not be immediately apparent, such as: sustained cash flow vs. one-time cash-out; improved ecosystem services - including water quality, complexity of wildlife habitat, and carbon storage; resilience to the effects of climate change; stimulating natural tree regeneration vs. manual replanting; and higher value of the land after harvest.

If you are not familiar with the process of conducting a timber harvest, I encourage you to visit the website of the university forestry extension service in your state and download their informative publications that will walk you through the process - you can also check the links in the resource section of this newsletter. Then contact a professional forester, or NNRG, for assistance. Harvesting timber is one of the most significant activities any small woodland owner will engage in, and you want to approach the process well informed and with as much certainty of the results as possible.


Kirk Hanson

Forestry Director
Northwest Natural Resource Group
(360) 316-9317
Removing some of the Douglas-fir trees that show signs of decline (reduced crowns) from a dense stand in an FSC-certified forest along Puget Sound. Photo: Matt Freeman-Gleason 

Upcoming Events

Ties to the Land, Succession Planning for Family Forest Owners
August 11, 2018
Olympia, WA

Community Forestry Day
August 11, 2018
Oregon City, OR

Family Forest Owners Field Day
August 18, 2018
Woodland, WA

The Future of Forest Creatures - Exploring our Roles and Opportunities
August 25, 2018
Timber, OR

San Juan Islands Forest Owners Field Day
August 25, 2018
Friday Harbor, WA

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning
September 5 – October 24, 2018
Carnation, WA

Woodland Management: A basic forestry short course
September 12, 2018
Coquille, OR

Built Green Conference
September 13, 2018
Lynnwood, WA

Invasive Weed Control Field Practicum
September 15, 2018
Mount Vernon, WA

Ties to the Land – Succession Planning for Family Forest Owners
September, 15, 2018
McCleary, WA
Forest Stewardship Coached Planning
September 17 – November 5
Chehalis, WA

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning
September 18 – November 6, 2018
Arlington, WA

The Western Hardwood Association 2018 Annual Convention
September 19-21, 2018
Portland, OR

Tool and Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance, and Forest Protection Field Day
September 22, 2018
Trout Lake, WA

Finding frogs and noticing newts
September 27, 2018
Coos Bay, OR

Alder Management Workshop
October 13, 2018
Raymond, WA

Making Shiitake Happen
October 17, 2018
Coquille, OR

Featured Project


Great Peninsula Conservancy (GPC) just completed the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification process for Grovers Creek Preserve!

Acquired by the Conservancy in 2015, the 197-acre preserve near Poulsbo boasts 60 acres of rare older growth forest including stands of western hemlock, Sitka spruce, western redcedar, and Douglas-fir. There are even 11.5 acres of late successional forested peat bog. 

These diverse habitats support beaver, black bear, mink, otter, salamanders, frogs, and more than 60 bird species. The forest surrounds a stretch of Grovers Creek, which provides habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed winter steelhead as well as coho and cutthroat. 

“GPC purchased most of the Preserve from Pope Resources, the main industrial forestland owner on the Kitsap Peninsula.,” says Erik Pederson, GPC’s Stewardship Associate. “Pope last logged the property around 1989, and although they replanted, much of the property has grown back in alder, instead of the diverse mix of native conifers that would provide the greatest habitat benefits."
To restore this diversity, GPC worked with NNRG to develop a forest management plan to improve wildlife habitat. The plan identified restoration thinning to give trees space to grow bigger, faster and room to plant a diverse palette of native tree and shrub species.

“The forest management plan calls for some commercial thinning in the future,” says Pederson, “and GPC wants the community to know that we will hold ourselves to a high standard when conducting this thinning, so acquiring FSC certification for the property was important to us.”

GPC has been a member of NNRG’s FSC group certificate since 2011.With the addition of Grovers Creek Preserve the Conservancy stewards 330 acres of FSC-certified forest land. They anticipate their certified holdings to grow in the near future. GPC recently acquired 80 acres of forest land and will pursue certification after the forest management plan is written. 

Thinning to Reduce Fuels

This OPB series explores the use of proactive thinning and prescribed burning to prevent catastrophic wildfires in the dry forests of central and eastern OR and WA. There's a gap between current thinning treatments and historic burning regimens.

Thinning Boosts Water

In some densely stocked forests in the West, selectively removing trees through thinning can help with stream flows. This interview with scientist Roger Bales follows up on research showing that forest thinning can increase freshwater runoff by 10%.

Learning to Love the Brush

Find out why The Nature Conservancy’s forester David Ryan appreciates the abundant diversity found in thickly vegetated, early seral forests.

Planting for Climate Resilience

We’re so excited to be working with Seattle City Light and The Mountains to Sound Greenway to plant native trees from warmer climate zones along Stossel Creek!

Impacts of Adjacent Land Use

A Forest Service study comparing landscape patterns from 2001 and 2011 shows an increase in family forestland bordered by agricultural or developed land uses, potentially threatening ecosystem services.

Grading Good Wood

National Wildlife Federation and Sustainable Furnishings Council have launched a ranking platform to gauge the sustainability of wood furniture. Check out the new wood furniture scorecard here.

Here are some of our favorite resources for thinking about harvesting timber: 

Before Harvest

During Harvest

After Harvest

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Northwest Natural Resource Group
2701 1st Avenue, Suite 240
Seattle, WA 98121

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