Each year forest landowners in Washington plant an average of 52 million tree seedlings in areas that have been harvested. On average, that's three seedlings planted by hand for every one tree removed. Private landowners take a proactive approach, not only to reach the state requirement of reforestation within three years of harvesting an area, but to ensure growth of desirable tree species, to allow for proper spacing between the planted trees, and to restore wildlife habitat. Actually, you can usually find private forest landowners replanting within 12 to 18 months of the harvest to promote faster growth, before wild plants can move in and block out the sun.
Tree Nurseries Ensure Strong and Healthy Third-Growth Forests
Where do these 52 million tree seedlings come from? Nearly all come from tree nurseries right here in Washington. New forests are grown from seed collected from cones within the same seed zone or region that has the distinctive environmental conditions for a particular tree. While the first seed zone maps were published in 1966, a lot of new information has been incorporated since then. The use of seed zones help landowners replant trees that are best adapted to the site, thus producing long-lived and healthy stands, limiting damage from climate and pests and maintaining locally adapted gene pools.
Replanting Private Forests with Accountability and Expertise
The successful reforestation of a harvested area, although complex and challenging, is a private forest landowner's springboard to the next generation of forest. That's why Washington's private foresters take a lot of pride in knowing the intricacies of reforestation. Whether it be preparing a site for planting by reducing logging debris, correctly matching the right tree species to the right growing conditions, or not compacting the soil with heavy machinery before planting because it lessens a young tree's chance to survive, WFPA's members are taking the lead in what is the responsible and the right way to regenerate their private forests.