Forest Management

Discover the everyday tasks of foresters as they work in the woods to manage forests and create wood and paper products.

did you know?

Trees are not just for lumber; they contribute to over 5,000 different products, including resins, glues, cosmetics, and food. The cellulose fibers in wood, bound together by lignin, are found in various items like rayon fabric, toothpaste, football helmets, and pizza boxes. Healthy trees absorb & store carbon dioxide. Using forest products reduce our carbon footprint.

Look around you…how many products are made from trees? You might be surprised, check out this list of products made from trees.

Lignin is a natural substance found in trees that, along with cellulose fibers, provides strength to the tree, making it suitable for construction and furniture. When wood is heated, cellulose separates from lignin, forming wood pulp used in paper production. Lignin can also be utilized to produce various chemicals for items like cosmetics, medications, and certain foods.

Tree planting

Following tree harvesting, reforestation efforts kick in. Tree planters reestablish forests by planting seedlings, with some tree planters planting up to 1,500 seedlings in a single day. In Washington's working forests alone, more than 52 million trees are planted annually. The nation's first tree farm was established in Montesano, WA in 1941.

On flat growing ground, an experienced tree planter  might plant up to 1,500 trees per day.

Most of the trees that are planted get their start in a seedling nursery, where they are cared for up to 3 years before they are planted in the forest.

wood products

Wood and paper products are a part of our daily lives. Working foresters oversee the growth, management, and harvesting of trees to produce renewable and recyclable wood and paper products. Sustainable forestry includes long-term planning to determine which areas to harvest and which to preserve for wildlife habitat and water conservation.

Every part of the tree is utilized. Small trees require years of care and growth before they become suitable for harvesting. Once the timber arrives at the sawmill, it is processed efficiently to maximize lumber production. Additionally, the bark, wood chips, and sawdust are repurposed for making paper products, and the remaining wood residuals are used for bio-energy production.

A single tree can absorb more than 10 pounds of carbon dioxide, or CO2 each year.  When the tree is harvested, the carbon is stored in wood.  The only building material that is grown by the sun is wood. Using renewable wood helps us reduce our carbon footprint.

What is a Working Forest?

Foresters cultivate and manage trees in managed forests, starting with seedlings raised in nurseries. These small trees are then planted in forest soil, growing for decades until they are ready for harvest. Every part of a harvested tree is used, providing habitat for wildlife and enriching the soil for future generations. On average, 82% of the harvested tree is used to make forest products and 18% remains on the forest floor.  

Any part of the tree left over provides habitat for wildlife and enriches the soil for the next generation of forest. Logs become the building materials for our homes and the furniture for our houses. Wood chips are used in the pulp and paper making process and for boxes, packaging and writing paper. Bark, branches and sawdust is used as fuel for energy and landscaping in our yards.

Forest management ensures sustainable practices that benefit both the environment and our daily lives.

 

Can you identify these tree species?

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Tree Species Quiz

Identify some of the tree species from Washington state.

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Forest Management Quiz

Identify these forest management and sawmill activities.

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Learn more about the different trees species in Washington’s forests.