Oregon’s Private Landowners Face Long Road to Recovery After 2020 Wildfire Season

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, more than a million were charred across the state during the 2020 fire season, including 374,353 acres of private industrial and on-industrial land. For the private timberland owners, the road to recovery is going to be a long one. The Oregon Forest and Industries Council, a trade group representing forestland owners and wood product manufacturers, estimates the wildfires may have killed up to 15 billion board-feet of timber — enough to build 1 million homes. Rayonier Inc. had 9,000 acres of timberland it manages burn in the Beachie Creek Fire that ripped through the Santiam Canyon east of Salem, and 1,000 acres in the Slater Fire in southwest Oregon. Tom Fox, Rayonier’s VP of Research, Productivity and Sustainability, said the company typically plants between 4 million and 5 million seedlings each year. However, if the entire 10,000 acres of burned forests had to be replanted, he said that would require an additional 4.5 million seedlings, essentially adding another full year’s worth of work. With more than 1 million total acres burned, Fox said he expects a huge increase in demand across the board. Fox went onto say that “There won’t be enough seedlings to go around for the first few years. It may take quite a while to get all the seedlings produced and get them all planted. That’s an issue we’ll have to resolve and work without our nurseries to get as many trees as we can.”

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.