Developing a Forest Stewardship Process in the Watershed: First Steps

Council News

Liz Redon from the North San­tiam Water­shed Coun­cil and US For­est Ser­vice staff from the Willamette National For­est spent the day last Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 7th, with spe­cially selected for­est prod­ucts indus­try experts to help develop a new small diam­e­ter tim­ber and spe­cial for­est prod­ucts stew­ard­ship program.

The pur­pose of the work group was to explore the oppor­tu­ni­ties and con­straints tim­ber oper­a­tors face when thin­ning small diam­e­ter tim­ber from over­crowded stands whose growth has stag­nated.  The US For­est Ser­vice hopes to develop future tim­ber man­age­ment con­tracts that meet­ing sil­vi­cul­tural man­age­ment objec­tives to:

  • Improve for­est health in stands that mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers agree need to be addressed
  • Cre­ate jobs
  • Invest in future tim­ber prod­ucts by posi­tion­ing over­stocked stands to pro­duce larger timber

Tour par­tic­i­pants dis­cuss the pros and cons of stew­ard­ship contracts

The work group spent the day vis­it­ing dif­fer­ent high ele­va­tion for­est stands on the Detroit Dis­trict.  Through­out the day, par­tic­i­pants strug­gled to find cre­ative ways to make the man­age­ment of these stag­nant for­est stands profitable.

Some of the ideas that were kicked around were:

  • har­vest­ing an array of for­est products
  • the kind of equip­ment that is needed oppor­tu­ni­ties for dif­fer­ent indus­tries to work together ‚and the
  • bot­tle­necks and bar­ri­ers, both mar­ket and admin­is­tra­tive, that chal­lenge our efforts to make for­est prod­ucts from these stands profitable?

Ten­ta­tive Next Steps

Willamette national For­est, Detroit Dis­trict Ranger, Grady  and Liz Redon from the North San­tiam Water­shed Coun­cil are look­ing into the  rec­om­men­da­tions they received from the for­est prod­ucts par­tic­i­pants.  Right now it looks as though

  • Build­ing part­ner­ships to develop resources and fund­ing for net­work that will increase access to for­est prod­ucts information
  • Reduc­ing num­ber of con­tracts it takes on each stand that is to be man­aged, and
  • Devel­op­ing some sort of train­ing for both USFS staff and tim­ber oper­a­tors on how to write and man­age var­i­ous con­tract options

might be the next steps.  But it is still too soon after the work­shop to tell. We’ll keep you posted.

Mean­while, the US For­est Ser­vice and the North San­tiam Water­shed Coun­cil con­tinue test­ing new strate­gies that inte­grate small diam­e­ter thin­ning and spe­cial for­est prod­ucts with new types of con­tracts that have not been used on the Detroit District.

What would you like to learn or explore fur­ther to move for­ward with devel­op­ing for­est prod­uct indus­try around over­stocked, small diam­e­ter stands?  Please con­tact Liz Redon,from the water­shed coun­cil if you are inter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in this pilot at 503–930-8202, council@nsantiamwatershed.org.

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