Limited Seedling Nursery Capacity Has Potential to Slow Oregon’s Wildfire Recovery

The Oregon wildfires of 2020 destroyed nearly 1.2 million acres of forest land. Within days of the wildfires starting, nurseries were receiving calls from frantic foresters wanting to place additional orders for conifer seedlings, above what they already had on order for planned replanting operation, needed to replant areas devastated by the fires. Under the Oregon Forest Practices Act, timber landowners must replant within two years after a fire, if they salvage the timber. The agency has said it will make some allowances to extend the deadline for landowners who cannot obtain seedlings in time. The main issue with replenishing Oregon’s seedling supply is nursery capacity. Most seeds are sown and grown inside greenhouses, which have a fixed amount of space. PRT Nursery manager Allen Terlecki said the 400,000 square feet of greenhouses at PRT in Hubbard Oregon already operate at capacity every year, filling orders for private and government lands all across the U.S. and even into British Columbia.

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Road to wildfire recovery starts with seedlings, but capacity is strained