WFPA members are committed to advancing sustainable forestry in Washington State to provide forest products and environmental benefits for the public.

Higher education is perched among the trees

The future of the forestry industry depends on cultivating the next generation of foresters, and on that note, we have some positive developments in the Northwest this month. 

The good news rolled in this week with the announcement from Washington State University that it will restart its forestry major after a four-year hiatus. The major was shut down because of budget cuts and will now be revived beginning this fall, with the support of the Legislature and industry leaders. 

WSU's restart of the major comes, not coincidentally, as the number of forestry jobs starts to swing upward. 

The job market for foresters has improved in recent years, said (Keith Blatner, program leader for forestry at WSU and a WSU professor). The number of lumber and pulp and paper mills has declined, but the remaining mills are larger and more automated, Blatner said. Timber firms, consulting firms and governmental and non-governmental organizations all need foresters, he said.

“We’ve seen a lot of restructuring in the way lands are held and managed, but there’s still a demand for foresters out there to do the work,” Blatner said. “It’s a different mix of employers than we used to have.”

For the forestry major to be viable, WSU hopes for at least 100 certified majors within the next few years. Forestry students need a good foundation in biology, chemistry, college-level algebra, introductory calculus, statistics, communication skills and computer applications, Blatner said.

“It’s always important that our students be field-ready when they graduate,” he said. “We’ll be stressing having students get some professional experience through summer jobs so they are very comfortable on the ground when they graduate.”

Dr. David Montgomery - UW Geomorphology Professor and GEER team scientist

Anatomy of a Landslide: Published on Sep 22, 2014 GEER—Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance—is a team of volunteer scientists who visit natural disasters to determine causes and help prepare for or prevent future disasters. UW geomorphology professor David Montgomery was part of the team that visited Oso and prepared a report on their findings. We hear from Montgomery about what the team discovered.

GEER Report One of the largest causes of the slide was extreme rainfall.

Landslide Mobility Hazards: Implications of the 2014 Oso Disaster USGS finds near record rainfall gave Oso its destructive force.

Forests and Fish collaborators support DNR and Governor's funding request for Adaptive Management

The Adaptive Management Program supports the science and accountability foundation of the Forests & Fish Law.

WFPA supports extension of tax credit for biomass to produce renewable energy

Use of forest-derived biomass produces energy, and can help reduce the threat of wildfires by paying for the cost of thinning to improve forest health.

Counties and schools receive the Forest Harvest Excise Tax (FET) and property tax

Public and private timber harvesters pay the FET in addition to the property tax on timberland.

Private landowners help fund wildfire costs

Private landowners share the burden of preparing for and fighting wildfire.

Washington's property tax for timber and timberland

Washington State has the highest property tax burden for timber and timberland in the Northwest.

Wood is our Most Natural Resource

Wood from sustainably managed forests provides the best low-energy building material.

Forest Products Industry Jobs Impact

Nearly 40,000 direct jobs are provided by the forest products industry.

Forest Products Industry Economic Impact

Washington is the 2nd largest lumber producer in the nation, paying wages, taxes and providing environmental benefits for Washington State.

Forest Landowner RMAP Accomplishments

From 2001 through June 2013, landowners have removed an impressive 5,587 barriers to fish passage, restoring 3,811 miles of historic fish habitat.