Category: From the Blog

A Field Guide to Forester’s Tools

A forester walks into the woods carrying diameter tape, an increment borer, and a GPS… No, it’s not the opening to a joke or a riddle — it’s the start of a typical workday in the field for an NNRG foresters, who never leave home without a few important pieces of forestry gear. Several of these items are readily accessible at your local forestry and farm suppliers and could be gear staples for landowners who monitor or inventory their forest. Read on to learn a bit more about what our foresters are carrying around while they’re working in the woods

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Moving Trees: Definitions and Ethics of Assisted Migration

In every discussion of forest restoration or climate adaptation, someone asks the question: What about the assisted migration of trees? Should we be doing it? What are the potential impacts? It’s a big topic, and one nuanced enough that it could easily fill a hundred discussions, a dozen doctoral theses, and several books. Our recent presentation and discussion with our partners in the Treeline project, the regional forest adaptation network supported by Climate Resilience Fund. The event covered definitions and ethical concerns around assisted migration with the aim of gaining some collective clarity on the topic. There are several types of

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Forestry & Environmental Science Education in the Pacific Northwest

Professor Jerry Franklin, far right, lectures a University of Washington class in a ponderosa pine forest in Oregon. Photo by Debbie Johnson. If you’re interested in a career involving forest management, natural resources, or environmental science the Pacific Northwest has a wonderful range of higher education programs covering those topics. In fact, several NNRG staff have attended or are currently attending these programs. Below is a living list of higher education forestry and natural resource programs in the Pacific Northwest. See something missing? Let us know at outreach@nnrg.org. Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Science

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These Boots are Made for Walking (Around in the Forest)

Unless you own a forest and have had an NNRG forester out for a site visit, the details of a forester’s job might be a little murky to you. You suspect it involves wearing a cool vest, tree puns, and something called DBH tape…right?  In the interest of pulling back the curtain on the critical work our foresters do―and perhaps informing those who wish to pursue this rewarding career path―we asked our foresters Kirk Hanson, Jaal Mann, and Sam Castro to describe what they do behind the scenes at Northwest Natural Resource Group. Because it’s not all just romping through

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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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