Northwest forest managers focus on sustainability

Ashley BachBLOG

Managing forestland means being a responsible steward of a renewable resource – trees. From family foresters who manage their land over generations to private forest landowners who plant millions of trees a year, long-term sustainability is paramount.

Two recent stories shed more light on what it means to be a forest manager in the Pacific Northwest. Butch Tanzey, who manages land for 21 property owners in Northeast Oregon, told the Wallowa County Chieftain about his strategy designed for the local semi-desert climate.

Giving back is why Tanzey mulches so much of the slash left after logging and thinning. He then plants a special Wallowa County blend of grass, sweetened with a nitrogen-fixing high-altitude clover that helps the trees digest the mulch.

“My strategy on most of the lots I manage is that every 10 years I come in and do some logging and thinning on a lot –– and I’ve got the land broke up into 100-200 acre lots (in my plan),” Tanzey said. “You take an even mix of big and little trees so you have the diversity and you have red fir, larch, Ponderosa pine and different species. As you log your bigger trees the little trees come along to replace them.”

Lindsay Reaves, manager of a third-generation tree farm in Western Oregon, writes in the Eugene Register-Guard that she values her responsibility to care for the environment.

As a forest land manager, environmentalist and concerned citizen, I view the opportunity to live and work on a tree farm that has been in my husband’s family since 1945 as a huge responsibility. We provide a sustainable, renewable resource through our active timber management. Our land is home to bear, coyote, cougar, fox, deer and other wildlife, and we see the enhancement of their habitat as an utmost priority.

We have thriving bee trees. The streams and springs on our land are among the many water resources within the Long Tom watershed, and we take their protection seriously. Streamside restoration is also part of a certified management plan with the American Tree Farm System. Managing forest land is a huge responsibility — as well as a privilege, a joy and a challenge.

An important part of our management is harvesting trees, which provides a financial resource and also provides jobs and pays taxes in Lane County. Working forests are also a critical part of our rural character, landscape and heritage.

…Everything we do is undertaken with a great deal of care and consideration, as well as with a lot of science and regulation. Before any forest operations, like harvesting or herbicide uses, are undertaken, notifications (publicly available) must be filed with the (Oregon Department of Forestry). When someone subscribes to see my notifications, I call them to ask if they have any questions about forest management operations on our land.

One of my goals as a forest landowner is to be a good neighbor — even a great one.