Northwest Species

The Northwest has some of the best performing, durable and beautiful woods in the world. Below are just a few examples of the more common species. Click on the name for detailed technical information. For information about sourcing Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified products, call NNRG at 206-971-3709.

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menzeisii)

Doug-fir is the most plentiful and versatile of Northwest species. The wood has strong contrast between reddish heartwood and pale sapwood and has excellent strength and stability.  Applications include timbers and framing, interior finishes, furniture, industrial lumber – just about anything. Quarter-sawn clear lumber is highly prized for interior trim.

Red alder (Alnus rubra)

In the past 20 years, alder has gone from a ‘junk’ tree to one of the most sought after Northwest species. It has good stability and workability and is used in a broad range of interior finishes and consumer items. Kiln dried lumber is a uniform amber while air dried can vary from pale white through a range of reds and browns.


Big-leaf or western maple (Acer macrophyllum)

Western maple is an abundant, uniformly white hardwood found in wetter Northwest habitats. While not as hard as some of its eastern cousins, western maple performs well in a wide variety of interior finishes including trim, flooring, furniture and consumer items. Figured wood is highly prized and used in instruments and fine furniture.


Western red cedar (Thuja plicata)

Cedar is renowned for its rot resistant properties and superior stability and is suitable for a wide variety of exterior uses. The species is capable of withstanding decades of exposure, but is not recommended for ground contact. White sapwood contrasts dramatically with the reddish, oil rich heartwood, which weathers to a lustrous silver if minimally treated.


Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)

Hemlock is a uniformly light-colored and soft wood used primarily for light framing, pressure treated lumber and moldings. The species is especially prevelant in coastal zones and as a later emerging species in mature forests.

latest news & Events

Helping Your Forest Through Dry Times

The drier and hotter years ahead don’t have to spell trouble for the forests you steward. From recognizing and responding to drought stress in trees to planting tree species from other regions, there are steps you can take to mitigate the impacts of climate change in your forest.

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Stewarding Woodlands in a Changing Climate

Ben Deumling and his family steward Zena Forest, a member of NNRG’s group FSC® certificate. The largest contiguous block of forest in the Eola Hills of the Willamette Valley, Zena Forest has not been immune to the impacts of climate change. Facing large-scale Douglas-fir die-off, Ben describes below how he and his family are experimenting with planting less-traditional tree species—ones more tolerant to a warming climate.

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Seeking Forest Owners for New Study

You know better than anyone what kind of management work you’ve done in your forest, and what sorts of financial and ecological results its produced. Your closest forest-owning neighbor might have taken a different approach but ended up with similar results.

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