Solving Woody Biomass in the Forests of the San Juan Islands

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  • January 4, 2017

Engaging with woodland owners in San Juan County to address the unique challenges of managing island forests for both ecological health and economic viability.

NNRG and our partners have worked with many island forests, conducting one-on-one site visits, developing management plans, hosting tours and classes. Increasingly, landowners have sought instruction on how to manage their overstocked stands for improved forest health. They are also looking for creative ways to use the excess woody material that is a byproduct of restoration.

In 2017, we are hosting a series of workshops for forest landowners interested in reducing risks in their woodlands and using the extra woody biomass in creative and productive ways.

Participants are taking away ideas to improve forest health, decrease fire risk, increase habitat value, and generate income through emerging methods like biochar and biomass energy.

A goal of these classes is to build on the ecological forestry concepts that have been taught during prior workshop series, but content will also be accessible to woodland owners participating for the first time.





Forestry professionals from NCF will work with you to conduct a customized and detailed evaluation of your forest management options. If you have questions about your land in the San Juans, please consider contacting us to schedule a FREE forest site visit. This free site visit can help you:

  • Improve forests health
  • Enhance timber productivity and wildlife habitat
  • Reduce fuels and wildfire risk
  • Maintain stream health and roads
  • Find and apply for cost-share and technical assistance programs

This is a free service for landowners in San Juan County and an excellent way to improve your forest stewardship skills. Site visits are voluntary and come with no obligation to implement the recommendations.

To request a FREE forest site visit contact:

Kirk Hanson, Director of Northwest Certified Forestry, NNRG at 360-316-9317,



Check out our page of resources specifically for owners of San Juans forests!



Energy Opportunities for Woody Biomass – June 24, 2017

Options for San Juans Forest Owners

Learn about cost-effective methods for converting biomass into energy to heat and power our houses, businesses, and communities.

Workshop participants are eligible for a FREE 2-hour on-site forestry consultation from a professional forester. To request a site visit contact Kirk Hanson, Director of Northwest Certified Forestry, NNRG at 360-316-9317,

Biochar 101: Making Biochar from Woody Biomass – May 6, 2017

Manufacturing Options for San Juan Forests

Learn all about biochar’s value, function, and process, and join a driving tour to see a range of different methods island forest owners are using to manufacture biochar.

Utilizing Woody Biomass to Reduce Fire Risk – February 25, 2017

Fire Ecology and Active Management in San Juan Forests

Learn about the risk of fire in overstocked San Juan forests, active management options to increase fire resilience, and cost mitigation options.


Hands-On Forestry for San Juans Woodlands  Saturday, July 30, 2016

Managing small forests for the do-it-yourselfer.

Learn DIY ways of nurturing your forest! You will learn methods to reduce wildfire risk, enhance wildlife habitat, and earn supplemental income, along with low impact logging techniques like horse logging that make diverse flora and fauna at home in your forest.  Along the way you will take home do-it-yourself strategies for thinning your forest and using the thinned materials! Presented by Roger Ellison, Thornbush Farm; Eliza Habegger, San Juan County Land Bank; Greg Lange, Draftworks Horse Logging; and Kirk Hanson, Northwest Natural Resource Group.


Emerging Biofuel Options for San Juan Forests Saturday, March 19, 2016

A day-long overview of evolving technologies for using woody biomass.

Often there are significant byproducts from forest management and restoration treatments that amount to slash and other woody biomass left on the ground. This workshop will present new ways to use and sell woody biomass through innovative techniques like biochar and cogeneration. Presented by Terry Meyer, Convivium Renewable Energy; Steve Bensel, Nootka Rose Farm; Rich Harvey, Harvey Logging; and Kirk Hanson, Northwest Natural Resource Group.


Small-scale logging & yarding for the DIY woodland owner – September 24 – 26, 2015

The 2-day precision tree felling course and 1-day low-impact yarding course will take place in Eastound. 

Harvest planning, tree selection, and safe and accurate tree felling are the most important aspects of conducting a small-scale harvest. The majority of the training will be spent in the woods learning felling techniques. This Safety and Woods Worker (SAWW) training course is based on the concept of “open face felling” and will introduce some of the world’s leading methods for safe, efficient, and precise tree felling. The yarding course will comprise how to extract trees with small equipment and how to plan the layout for harvests. Instructed by Ken Lallemont of Timber Resources, Ken is a certified Safety Trainer.


How to Manage a Timber Sale – Saturday, August 15, 2015

A full-day event in Eastound from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

Harvesting timber is an important management tool, and if done with care and good planning, landowners can improve the quality and value of their timber resources and wildlife habitat while generating revenue. By being well informed about the value of timber and the logistics of harvesting and marketing logs, a small woodland owner can ensure a more efficient harvest operation that yields the results they want. Topics include: Assessing forest resources, harvest systems, financial aspects of harvesting & marketing, hiring a consulting forester and logger, county & state permits, low-impact harvest options.




Our newly updated 2016 San Juan Islands Forestry Products and Business Directory will help you find and collaborate with loggers, equipment operators, arborists, tree workers, woodworkers, builders, architects, and consultants. Do better at home what previously has been done off the islands.




Funding for this project is provided by:

Risk Management Agency


We’d like to thank our incredible project partners:

Kai Hoffman-Krul

Rain Shadow Consulting

San Juan County Agricultural Resources Committee

San Juan County WSU Extension

San Juan Islands Conservation District

Steve Bensel

Wisewood Energy

Photos courtesy of Matt Freeman-Gleason |

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