Category: From the Blog

Bringing Biochar Back

Biochar is a form of charcoal sometimes used as a soil amendment in agriculture. But that’s really only half the story. It’s produced when organic waste material, such as forest slash, is combusted in the presence of limited oxygen. Though often described as a soil amendment, in Pacific Northwest forests it might be better thought of as a standard component of soil ― that is now missing or depleted from many forests in the Pacific Northwest. Although we may associate fires and fire-adapted landscapes with the eastern Cascades, we know from oral and written history, dendrochronology, and sediment cores that forests west

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Soil Stewardship Basics

Forest stewardship can be thought of as synonymous with soil stewardship. Healthy soils sustain wildlife habitat, grow high-quality timber, improve your forest’s resilience to stressors like drought, heat, and pests, and store carbon.  So how does one become an expert in forest soils? Below we outline the fundamentals of soil stewardship and direct you to further reading on the subject.  1. Understand the soil types in your area Understanding the soil types in your forest will help you make informed forest management decisions about road building, harvesting, site preparation, planting,  thinning, and more. Knowing the physical properties of your soils—such

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This Forest on the Kitsap is Protected – Forever

Photo credit: Joe Walsh.  On Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula – that arrow-shaped piece of land between Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula – Great Peninsula Conservancy is working to conserve and restore degraded shorelines, peat bogs, forests, saltwater marshes, and salmon-bearing streams. The lands and waters under Great Peninsula Conservancy’s care are protected – forever. Through property purchases and conservation easements, the land trust is safeguarding more than 10,500 acres of ecologically important areas on the Kitsap Peninsula.  “The rapidity of residential and urban development in the Kitsap Peninsula makes it so important to set aside sites for the future,” says

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Doing Better than Carbon Neutrality for Forest Products

By David Diaz, Ecotrust​
I’m a forest modeling, mapping, and number-crunching nerd. Seven years ago, I got pulled into an investigation of the social and ecological impacts involved with construction of the first office building in the world to achieve Living Building certification, the Bullitt Center in Seattle. I was given what seemed like a straightforward task, yet I’m still wrestling with the same underlying question. The journey I’ve been on is not unique in the forest sector, though, and today I’d like to share that story with you.

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Ecological Forestry Techniques for Hotter, Drier Times

How do we address past mismanagement while also preparing for the future climate?
Northwest Natural Resource Group and partners are launching a new demonstration project to test techniques that can help forests better endure the kinds of climatic change that we expect in the Pacific Northwest.

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Can it Snuffle for Truffle?

Jason Lee let his gaze drift past the Roomba ambling across his living room, and out the floor-to-ceiling window framing a view of the forest behind his Issaquah home. A software programmer at one of the region’s leading high-tech firms, he was looking for a new quarantine challenge after making homemade sourdough for the umpteenth time. Perhaps homemade pasta with truffle sauce? He had recently read an article from the NNRG blog about how the tasty Pacific Northwest truffles are widespread, but hidden underground. A truffle dog would be just the thing … but since quarantine had driven demand for

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Some Benefits of Small Clearings in a Sustainable Forest

This article was written by Tim Schomberg, prior of North Cascades Buddhist Priory, which is a member of NNRG’s Group FSC Certificate. By Tim Schomberg I manage over 200 acres of forest owned by our church.  This forest was once part of a Weyerhaeuser Corporation tree farm of about 900 acres. The whole of the 900 acres had been clear-cut in 1973 and, shortly thereafter, replanted with Douglas fir. Then, in 1986, Weyerhaeuser began selling off parcels segregated out of the tree farm. That is when we purchased our first 20 acres. Right away we started building our church. Since that

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Working with Partners on Rare Habitats

This article, by Jim Merzenich of Oak Basin Tree Farm, was first published in the Fall 2020 edition of Northwest Woodlands, a publication of the Oregon Small Woodlands, Washington Farm Forestry, Idaho Forest Owners & Montana Forest Owners Associations. Northwest Woodlands magazine is a benefit of membership in one of these associations – click on the links above to learn more and join! The article is reprinted with permission. Oak Basin Tree Farm is a member of NNRG’s group FSC® certificate.  By Jim Merzenich Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) stands are some of the rarest natural habitats in the Northwest.

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Eye to the Future: Adaptation Survey Results

Before the holidays, NNRG and partners in the Forest Adaptation Network (FAN) conducted an initial survey to inform some of the work done by the Network, which is focused around the Puget Sound. While this survey had a small sample size of local restoration professionals, we think the results are of interest to many of our readers and wanted to share them here. Overall the data confirmed many of the anecdotal experiences of the many projects our members are involved in. Species  Which tree species were respondents most interested in PLANTING?  Douglas-fir (10 of 12 respondents), Western redcedar (10); Grand

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2021 Winter/Spring Native Plant Sales

The winter wet season in the Pacific Northwest is an ideal time to plant young trees and native shrubs! Planting native trees and shrubs enhances forest biodiversity by providing habitat for wildlife and forage for pollinators. It’s also a great way connect to the land and increase your aesthetic and recreational appreciation for the forest.

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NNRG Staff Book Picks!

For compelling holiday reading, start here. We asked NNRG staff to send over their top book recommendations in the forestry/ecology genre. The list includes fiction and non-fiction, classics and new hits.  NNRG Director of Programs Rowan recommends: Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe by Charlotte Gill Gill uses stories about the many seasons she spent planting trees in British Columbia to dig into the history, science, and economics of tree planting. At the same time, she includes some beautiful descriptions of Cascadia ecology that will be familiar to many of our members. A good read

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Meet Teo Rautu, NNRG’s Newest Forester

When forest owners reach out to NNRG for help writing a Forest Management Plan, they’re taking an important step in improving the long-term health of their forest. NNRG’s latest addition to our Forestry Team, Teo Rautu, is just the person to help forest owners take that step. We first met Teo in 2019 when she joined NNRG as a seasonal Forest Technician. Luckily for us, this year Teo moved into the position of full-time Forester for NNRG.  We asked Teo to tell us a little bit about her background and her current role at NNRG. What drew you to the

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Getting to the Root (Rot) of the Forest

Phil Aponte has always loved forests.  When he was an interpretive ranger for Mount Rainier National Park, Phil had the chance to walk the woods with renowned forest ecologist Dr. Jerry Franklin. Jerry took a group of park rangers into a stand of old-growth forest and had the rangers lie down to observe their surroundings. As Jerry spoke, Phil recalls spotting a flying squirrel in the trees and feeling a great sense of peace. In that moment he knew he would steward a forest someday. Grove of the Patriarchs at Mount Rainier National Park. Photo by Jeff Gunn via Flickr

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A Field Guide to Harvest Equipment

The forests of the Pacific Northwest are teeming with movement and noise—not all of it animal in origin! Stroll through an NNRG member forest undergoing an ecological harvest or thinning and you might catch a glimpse of one of these logging machines (don’t forget to wear appropriate safety-gear!).

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