Increasing forest health through
young-stand thinning & seedling release. 

O’Neill Pine  Company

O’Neill Pine Company is one of four landowners participating in NNRG’s project, “Increasing Forest Health Through Thinning and Seedling Release.” O’Neill Pine Company (OPC) will host two research projects on their land. Learn more about and follow along with the results of these projects below. 

OPC owns approximately 2,230 acres of forestland in Lewis and Thurston Counties that host a wide array of stand types. The stands include young and mid-aged conifer plantations, mature conifer-dominated stands, and mature mixed conifer/hardwood stands. Their forests face two primary management challenges: 

OPC’s 15-year-old Douglas-fir stands are overstocked and in the competitive exclusion phase.

Newly established conifer plantations are becoming overgrown with competing vegetation.

The two projects hosted by OPC will attempt to address these management challenges. The overstocked 15-year-old Douglas-fir plantations will be pre-commercially thinned using two different treatments, and the non-native vegetation overtaking the new conifer plantations will be removed using two types of treatment. 

Young Douglas-fir stand pre-commercial thinning (PCT)

New Douglas-fir plantation stand release from competing Scotch broom

Young Douglas-fir stand PCT

Project
Status

Completed January 2020

Location

Coulson Road
Chehalis, WA

Project Description

This project will treat a dense stand dominated by 15 year old Douglas-fir with the following three prescriptions:

  1. Pre-commercially thin to 200 TPA (15’x15’ spacing)
  2. No treatment – 2 acres
  3. Pre-commercially thin to 300 TPA (12’x12’ spacing)
 

Stand Description

Stand
# of plots
TPA
TPA GT 6″
Mean DBH
QMD
BA
Curtis RD
Gross Vol (MDF)
1
8
540
200
5.6
5.8
98
41
0.7
2
8
535
175
5.4
5.6
90
38
0.3
3
8
345
135
5.9
51
65
27
0.1

Current stocking across this stand ranges from 340 – 720 TPA, averaging about 540 TPA.
Tree diameters at base height (DBH) range from 4”-8”, averaging 5”-6”. 
Live crowns across most of the dominant and co-dominant trees still exceed 40%, but are quickly diminishing. 
There has been a high rate of storm damage across the unit resulting in forked or broken tops across approximately 15% of the trees. Storm damaged trees that are not expected to yield merchantable timber will also be removed.

Treatment Goals

The objective of each PCT treatment will be to retain the most dominant and highest-quality trees. The two thinning treatments listed above will allow long-term comparisons of the relationship between stocking density, diameter and height growth, and timber quality. 

Pre-Treatment Plot Data

View the pre-treatment stand plotcard data for this project here: PDF | Excel worksheet

Labor/Cost Statistics

Treatment Site
Workers
Hours/person
Total person hours
Cost/acre
Total cost
Fuel*
Emissions**
1
4
1.75
7
$150
$300
2.3 gallons
45 lbs
2
4
x
x
x
x
x
x
3
4
1.5
6
$150
$300
2 gallons
39.28 lbs

* Assumption: 0.25 gallons of gas/45 minutes/worker
** Assumption: 19.64 lbs CO2/gallon. Source.

New Douglas-fir plantation stand release from competing Scotch broom

Project
Status

Completed January 2020

Location

Monroe Road
Napavine, WA

Stand Description

This project will treat a newly established plantation of Douglas-fir that has become overgrown with Scotch broom. This unit was clearcut in 2017 and replanted the following winter exclusively with Douglas-fir at an 8×8 density (680 TPA). The following two treatments are proposed:

  1. Hand cut and lop-and-scatter, then spray cut stumps of broom.
  2. Hand cut and pile, then spray cut stumps of broom.

 

Site
# of Plots
TPA
Average height (conifer seedlings)
1
4
440
2.7 ft
2
4
405
2.5 ft

Treatment Goals

The objective of each treatment is to reduce competition of Scotch broom until Douglas-fir has reached a free-to-grow height across the unit. The two differing methods will allow observations of regeneration response of broom to having cut material scattered across the site vs. piled, as well as cost comparisons of labor.

Study Design

The Monroe project includes two 1.0-acre treatment sites. Within each treatment site four 1/20th-acre (0.05 acres) permanent monitoring plots/acre will be installed prior to implementation of prescribed treatment. Each plot will be permanently monumented with a rebar stake and 4’ white PVC pipe with bright orange ribbon tied to the top. For each plot, the following macro-data will be recorded: GPS plot location, Average stand age, Soil type, Site index & class, Elevation, Rainfall, Aspect, Slope. Pre-activity data will be collected from the treatment sites, the respective treatments will be implemented, then post-activity data will be collected immediately following treatment. Plots will be remeasured at 12 months and 24 months following treatment.

Plot design and data collection for each treatment is as follows:

  1. TPA
  2. Species
  3. Height
  4. Defect (e.g. browse Y/N)
  5. Qualitative evaluation of vigor (e.g. yellowing, etc.)
  6. Shrubs: species, % cover, avg. height of entire shrub layer. 
  7. Photo points from plot center: E, W, N, S

Pre-Treatment Stand Data

View the plotcard data for this project here: PDF | Excel worksheet

Labor/Cost Statistics

Treatment Site
Workers
Hours/person
Total person hours
Cost/hour
Total cost
Fuel*
Emissions**
1
4
3
12
$40
$480
4 gallons
78.56 lbs
2
4
4
16
$40
$640
5.3
104 lbs

* Assumption: 0.25 gallons of gas/45 minutes/worker
** Assumption: 19.64 lbs CO2/gallon. Source.

Project Photos