Who “Owns” the Woods?
Nearly half of Oregon is forestland – 43,736 square miles or, roughly, 32 million football fields. Differences in precipitation and elevation have influenced the distribution of tree species across these landscapes from the wet coastal region to the much drier eastside.
Each kind of forest has evolved to grow under particular conditions. For instance, Douglas fir seedlings tend to do best in areas of full sunlight, which were created in the severe fires that historically returned every 100-230 years. In contrast, young Ponderosa pines in the more desert-like conditions of northeastern Oregon may benefit from the protection of shade cover from trees and shrubs. These differences have implications for both the productivity of Oregon's forests and the decisions of land managers about what harvest methods to use.
“We think it's tough to clearcut on the eastside. We like to maintain a good canopy over the pumice soil because it gets too hot when exposed.”