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Managing for a Whole Forest

We strive to manage our tree farm in such a way as to ensure a healthy, vibrant, whole forest. Our land is rich in the diverse plants, trees and wildlife that are the hallmark of a strong ecosystem AND it is also a very productive tree farm.

Our experience shows that when you manage for a multi-species, multi-age, complete forest you actually grow more timber than if you practice single species monocultures and clear cuts (see the section on Sustainable Timber Growth ).  A complete forest minimizes many of the risks of loss of timber due to insects and diseases.  When you maintain a complete forest you provide habitat for the natural predators of harmful insects (for example thatch ants and some bird species are predators of the spruce budworm, an endemic insect which did major damage to forests in the area several years ago).

Investing in forest land is a long term investment, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to know what your timber will be worth twenty or thirty years from now.  The value is and will be dependent on the supply and demand of timber. Currently the value is fairly high, because supply is low.  If you've done much travel through or flown over many of the forests in Oregon and the Western United States and have checked out the graph in the Sustainable Timber Growth section you will probably be convinced, as we are, that the majority of forests in the area fall in the A or B fields and there is little hope any time in the foreseeable future for supply in this region to increase. However, there are other places in the world that could meet the demand for timber and keep the value of timber from rising.  An example of this is the Taiga forest in Siberia, the largest forest in the world.

There are also values, other than monetary, which you can meet with an investment in timber land. It can provide for recreation and scenic values.  You can be environmentally friendly and provide habitat for wildlife.  Spending time working on the forest--planting trees, thinning trees, building wildlife structures, et cetera--is good exercise and provides personal satisfaction.

Here are some forest management tips we've learned and/or practiced over the years.


  • Obtain an independent cruise of the timber volume and current market value of timber before buying or selling forest land (If you've checked out the Sustainable Growth section you may have noticed that it's possible, at a certain stage of growth for the volume to double in 10 years).
  • Practice good estate planning. Without a good estate plan your children may have to cut most of the timber you have spent years and lots of effort to grow.
  • Know your objectives for your land and have a written management plan.
  • Make use of agencies that provide information on forestry and/or funding for forest improvement projects such as your State University Agricultural Extension Service, State Forestry or Natural Resources Department, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


  • Sell your timber on a long term contract. (It has been fairly common in the past for mills to buy timber on long term contracts (e.g. 10-30 years).  If you do this the buyer gets the growth of timber and inflation in stumpage prices (while you pay property taxes), and when the time is up all of your timber will be harvested.  
  • Sell your timber land without having a current cruise of the volume and checking current stumpage prices.  There are many stories about people who have bought or sold timber land at a fraction of it's real value.