Making Forests Healthier and Fire-Safe in the San Juan Islands

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  • January 4, 2017

We are working with landowners in San Juan County to address the unique challenges of managing island forests for both ecological health and economic viability.

Increasingly, forest owners in San Juan County are seeking guidance 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. For the past six years, NNRG and our partners have worked in many island forests, conducting one-on-one site visits, developing management plans, and hosting tours and classes.

In 2018, we are hosting a series of workshops for forest landowners interested in reducing the risks of wildfire, diseases, and lost value in their woods by removing and using the extra woody biomass in creative and productive ways.



Forest Tour: Thinning Overstocked Stands for Health and Productivity

Saturday, February 24, 2018 | Orcas Island


Tour forests across Orcas Island that have been thinned to reduce fire risk and improve health and timber value. Learn creative ways to use excess woody biomass to improve habitat, enrich soils, and generate renewable energy.

Measuring Timber and Woody Biomass in San Juan Forests

Saturday, April 28, 2018 | Lopez Island


Learn how to use basic forestry tools to install inventory plots to measure timber volumes and distinguish between merchantable and non-merchantable trees.

How to Manufacture Biochar from Woody Biomass

Saturday, June 30, 2018 | San Juan Island


Pick up all the tips and tricks San Juan forest owners have learned to safely and successfully manufacture biochar, a valuable charcoal used to amend soils. Focus will be on using woody biomass derived from thinning forests.



2017 Woody Biomass Assessments

For more, check out our page of resources specifically for owners of San Juans forests!

San Juans Resources



We’re updating our San Juan County Forestry Products and Business Directory to maintain this community-building resource. The 2016 edition is here. If loggers, equipment operators, arborists, tree workers, woodworkers, builders, architects, or consultants would like to add or change their contact information for the 2018 directory, please let us know.



Through these workshops participants learned ways they could decrease fire risk, improve forest health, increase habitat value, and generate income through emerging methods like biochar and biomass energy.

Utilizing Woody Biomass to Reduce Fire Risk

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.

Biochar 101: Making Biochar from Woody Biomass

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.

Energy Opportunities for Woody Biomass

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.


Previous workshops include:



Our 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.




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 forest 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 carry out the recommendations.

Sign up for a FREE forest site visit by contacting:

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


Funding for this project provided by:


We thank our 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 – Nootka Rose Farm

Wisewood Energy

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