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Dr. Thomas Maness
"The global demand for wood has increased every year since 1950 and continues to increase along with population. Most of the places in the world where wood is being grown is in plantations. There's really only one place where trees are grown in a native ecosystem and that's here in the Pacific Northwest." Dr. Thomas Maness -Dean of the College of Forestry, Oregon State University
This is the most environmentally sustainable place on earth to grow wood.

Wood building materials are products of solar energy, a renewable resource, and wood itself is renewable, reusable and recyclable.  As well, wood products that come from sustainably managed forests play a vital role in protecting the Earth’s climate.

img38 Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere by storing carbon in leaves, branches, and primarily in the trunk as wood.  Young, healthy, vigorously growing trees sequester carbon at a higher rate than older trees, which absorb less carbon as they mature. Healthy forests–both young and old–provide significant environmental benefits.  In fact, Pacific Coast forests provide 39% of all carbon storage in the U.S., the highest average carbon storage per acre in the United States.[1]

Oregon and Washington’s forests and harvested wood products absorb and store 25% of the region’s total emissions.[2]

image description

Modern, scientific forestry is sustainable and renewable.  Trees are harvested then replanted. Nearly 100 million trees are replanted each year in Washington and Oregon managed forests. This cycle of harvesting and replanting stores carbon–not only in living trees in the forest, but in finished wood products such as lumber and furniture. Substituting wood for non-renewable resources such as concrete and steel can be a major factor in reducing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
“In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber, or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment
www.ipcc AR4

Washington and Oregon Forestland Ownership

Forests continue to flourish
as they have for centuries

In Oregon and Washington about two-thirds of the forestland is managed by state, federal and tribal interests, and one-third is managed by private family and company landowners. This diversity of ownership allows our forests to fulfill many economic, social, and environmental needs. Private forests provide about 75% of the wood harvested each year. Oregon and Washington combined produce 30% of the nation’s softwood lumber.

In our state and national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges, forests continue to flourish as they have for centuries.  In our working forests, trees are grown, harvested and replanted in a continuous cycle, sustainably providing the forest and paper products we use every day. Drag your mouse over the pie chart for details.

Who owns the forest

Drag the pie chart around like a map to explore it, and tap the colored wedges for more information about each segment.

Family Forest Landowners (Nonindustrial Private)



Gross Acres


2013 Timber Harvest



Family Forest Landowners manage their forests for timber, other forest products, recreation, aesthetics, fish, and wildlife. Family forests range from a few acres up to 5,000 acres.

(22.4 million acres) (12,813,000 acres) (7,926,000 acres) (1,621,000 acres)
Oregon Forest Land Government = 64% Private = 34% Tribal = 2%
(30 million acres) (19,200,700 acres) (10,308,200 acres) (475,100 acres)
Sources: WA, OR
Drag the pie chart around like a map to explore it, and tap the colored wedges for more information about each segment.

Working Forests: Committed to Long-Term Sustainability

100+ million trees
are replanted each year in
Oregon and Washington's forests

Over the past two decades, it has been primarily private forests in Oregon and Washington that have supplied the region and the nation with sustainably grown wood products.  We call these “working forests.”  Private forest landowners’ primary objective for these lands is to provide a long-term source of timber and wood fiber, even while they protect natural resource values such as clean water and air, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation and scenic beauty.  In a sustainably managed forest, harvested trees are replanted.

Douglas fir working forest OR

In the United States, forest practices are regulated at the state level.  Oregon and Washington were among the first states to adopt comprehensive forest practices laws in the 1970s, and these laws have been updated continuously as new practices and sound science have pointed the way.  Both states have tough laws.  These laws limit harvest size and require replanting after harvest.  They require loggers to leave forested buffers on each side of fish-bearing streams to keep waters cool and clean.  They also must leave standing trees or snags and down logs throughout a harvested area for wildlife habitat.  Strict state and federal laws govern the use of forest herbicides to remove invasive weeks and vegetation that competes with young trees.  Roads must be engineered to avoid runoff of sediment into streams.  Landslide-prone areas are off limits to harvest.

Sustainability means that we meet the needs of the present generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  In forestry, where a landowner might not see a mature “crop” for 40, 50 years or more, it takes patience, a tolerance for risk and a long-term commitment.  Fire, insects and disease are a constant threat, as are unwelcome visitors who dump illegal trash or engage in illegal behavior.

Those who work in the forest sector — from foresters to scientists to loggers to wood products manufacturers — have a deep and profound respect for the forest and all it provides.  They understand that for there to be healthy, resilient forests in the future, we must adhere to the highest standard of stewardship in the present.

Woody Biomass & Green Energy

Woody biomass the #2 source of
renewable energy

in the country

“Enabling clean, renewable heat and power generation from forest biomass not only creates jobs and economic activity in our timber-dependent communities, it supports our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase treatment of our forested lands for health and fire reduction.”Governor Jay InsleeGovernor Jay InsleeAug 27, 2014

The 21st century world economy is searching for alternatives to fossil fuels for both environmental purposes and energy independence. Forests help provide a solution through the conversion of woody biomass to green energy. Woody biomass (wood chips, sawdust, bark, shavings, and tree trimmings) is a renewable source of energy harvested from sustainably managed forests

Bioenergy could emerge as a new and valuable world market for wood. (See the National Climate Assessment report on the potential of bioenergy.) As a secondary benefit, thinning the forest for bioenergy could aid in the restoration of forests threatened by drought, insects, and fire.

Consumption of Renewable Energy chart EIAAccording to the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the majority of biomass energy is produced from wood and wood wastes.[3]

Today, woody biomass is the #2 source of renewable energy in the country, second only to hydropower as a renewable energy solution, and ranking ahead of wind and solar energy.[4]

Source: This chart is derived from the US Energy Information Administration.

The Forest Health Crisis

By actively managing unhealthy forests,
we can restore forest health
and fire resiliency

Unnaturally overcrowded and unhealthy forests often suffer from insect and disease outbreaks, making them more susceptible to catastrophic, destructive crown fires. (A crown fire is an uncontrollable blaze that leaps from treetop to treetop). Every 21,000 acres that burn produce emissions that are equal to a million cars on the road, for a year.  These unnatural fires burn at such high temperatures that it often turns rich soil into clay and devastates the forest ecosystem.

Avoiding Catastrophic Wildfire

We must restore more acres, more rapidly
if we are to prevent
catastrophic fires

Twenty-six percent of the annual wood growth in Washington and 30% in Oregon is lost each year due to mortality, or trees dying because of insects, diseases and fire. These unhealthy forest conditions result from untended, unmanaged forests.[5] Active forest management can minimize the damage of wildfires, and return the land to a more historic forest condition. When natural fire cycles occur, these fires (and their emissions) are minor compared to the catastrophic fire of a neglected forest, fueled by the kindling of dead trees and untended forest undergrowth. Experts agree that forest health is a pressing issue and if unresolved will pose a serious economic and environmental threat. In 1999, the Government Accounting Office recommended that a strategy was needed to remove surplus fuel loads on federal forests. It’s important to note that two-thirds of the U.S. forest health problem is on federal forests.[6]

We must dramatically accelerate the scale and pace of forest stewardship here on both public and private lands. On our national forests, we must restore more acres more rapidly if we are to prevent catastrophic fires, insect outbreaks, and other threats, particularly as climate change makes those threats more potent.Tom Vilsack, Secretary of AgricultureTom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture14 Aug. 2009.
[1] USDA Forest Service GTR WO-59: Carbon Storage and Accumulation in United States Forest Ecosystems pgs. 4-6

[2] Washington Department of Ecology. 2007. Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Reference Case Projections, 1990-2020. Center for Climate Strategies, pgs. ES-5 and I-3.

[3] Temperate Forest Foundation. Biomass for Energy & Forest Fuel Reduction. Eco-Link, 13:3.

[4] Aguilar, F. Wood energy in developed economies: An overlooked renewable. Resources for the Future, pg. 20.

[5] USDA Forest Resources of the United States, 2012 GTR WO-91, Table 36, Oct. 2014 A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service 2015 Update of the RPA Assessment.

[6] Rummer, B. et. Al. 2003.A Strategic Assessment of Forest Biomass and Fuel Reduction Treatments in Western States. USDA Forest Service, Research and Development and the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition.