NNRG Newsletter | February 2020



NNRG has taken on the task of researching and disseminating climate adaptation strategies for Northwest forest owners and managers. We recently convened three heady workshops on the topic, developed video presentations based on those workshops, and are in the process of producing a forest management guidebook and template language for forest management plans. Visit this page on our website to access some of these resources.

Although we are sharing some new and innovative management strategies, I’m personally comforted by the fact that, arguably, the most effective strategies are common management tools forest managers have been using for generations: forest composition and stocking densities. 

The nuance in this is to pay attention to microclimate and manage the right species in the right location. If Northwest climate model projections hold true and rainfall becomes more concentrated during the winter months while summers become hotter and drier, then adjusting tree species across your land so they are in the most suitable microclimate is one of your best long-term strategies. 

A complementary strategy to managing species composition is managing stocking density—again, in particular on drier sites. Forest resilience may be improved by maintaining lower stocking densities than we've historically had. I think of the “too many straws in the ground” analogy when considering how many trees are suitable on a site given increasingly limited soil moisture availability during later summer months. 

Beyond these two relatively straightforward adaptation strategies there are more exotic and innovative tools available to folks (assisted species migration, seedlot selection, etc.), but I’ll refer you to NNRG’s online resources to better explain those. Happy thinning...summer is coming!
Kirk Hanson
Director of Forestry
(360) 316-9317


In this section we’ll pose a question about a common forest practice, and collect the responses in the next newsletter. We ask that you keep your story short (50 to 250 words) and colorful. Feel free to submit photos or links to web-hosted video or blogs with your story.

What are you doing right now to prepare your forest for a different climate in the future?

Submit answer
Last month we asked, "What methods do you use for monitoring your forest?"
Click here to read responses for forest owners & land managers in the region.


Out with the fir, in with the oak

Zena forest's experience with drier times

Sarah Deumling has noticed some changes in her forest over the past 20 years. There's a little less water to go around, and her family’s land, Zena Forest in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, is a little hotter and drier during the summer.

Why? These changes are consistent with climate models' predictions of the way Oregon climate is shifting under the influence of global warming.

Knowing what the future might hold, Sarah has been taking proactive action for the last 15 years by sourcing Douglas fir seedlings from farther south, where they may already be adapted to a warmer and drier climate.

Read on to hear more about what Sarah is doing to steward NNRG member Zena Forest in a changing climate. 

Workshop & field tour on climate-adapted forest restoration

March 3, 2020 | Duvall, WA | 8:30am - 4:00pm

Join NNRG, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, Seattle City Light, and Seattle Public Utilities for a workshop and forest tour focused on climate-adapted forest restoration for Pacific Northwest forests. 

Topics for the morning workshop include: climate change projections for PNW forests & vulnerabilities; strategies for reforestation and restoration planting in the real world; tree species selection; and the Seedlot Selection Tool.

In the afternoon workshop participants have the option to join hosts for a tour of the Stossel Creek restoration site, where applied restoration strategies will be discussed. 
Click here to learn more & register!


How do plants know when to open their buds and start growing in the spring? The timing of "bud burst" or "bud break" depends on the temperature outside. Warming spring temperatures signal to plants that the growing season is beginning. Over time, if bud break shifts earlier in the year, that would be a marker of climate change.

We're interested in tracking those changes, and we'd like to enlist you in this research project. As winter turns to spring this year, we're asking you to watch out for Douglas-fir bud break in your area. When the swelling buds break open and the fresh green needles emerge, click on the button below to let us know.

When did you observe the first Douglas-fir bud break in your area? 
Click here to tell us where & when you notice Doug-fir budding out!


Community Forestry Day
February 8 | Oregon City

Planting Forest Tree Seedlings
February 15 | Molalla

Forest Health in Oregon: State of the State 2020
February 26-27 | Corvallis

Rural Living Day 2020
March 7 | Junction City

Tree School 2020 - Clackamas
March 21 | Oregon City

International Mass Timber Conference
March 24-26 | Portland


The Secret That Helps Some Trees Live More Than 1,000 Years. "A single ginkgo may live for hundreds of years, maybe more than a thousand. They’ve survived some of our world’s greatest catastrophes, from the extinction of the dinosaurs to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima." Interesting findings from China and the U.S. on how trees live, age, and die.
Bigleaf Maple Syrup Flows As Profits Drip From A Once-Maligned Northwest Tree. Our native maples are good for more than just beautiful leaves, stunning wood, and wildlife habitat! Forest owners and University of Washington researchers are increasingly excited about the benefits of tapping bigleaf maples for syrup. 
The hottest new thing in sustainable building is, uh, wood. From Vox, a thorough introduction to the world of mass timber. If you've heard of it before but aren't totally sure what it is, how it's used, and why it can be better than traditional building materials, this is the article for you!
Restoring old growth on the coast—using science to measure our success. The Nature Conservancy is trying to speed up the restoration of young, crowded trees back to old growth forests at Ellsworth Creek Preserve, an area that's FSC®-certified through NNRG's group certificate. They're using new technologies and old-school science to test the success of their work.


Sometimes when you see a workshop attendee doodling during a presentation, it's because they're bored. And sometimes it's because they're taking awesome notes on the topics being presented!

We absolutely love these Climate Adaptation Comics based on NNRG's recent workshops, Climate Adaptation Strategies for Pacific Northwest Forests.

They're illustrated by Jon Wagner of East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and you can scroll through the whole series on his blog.
See the rest of the comics!
Header image by Matt Freeman-Gleason
Copyright © 2020 Northwest Natural Resource Group, All rights reserved.

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