Shortage of Seedlings Leave Oregon Small Landowners in a Bind

As a result of last year’s wildfires, small landowners in Oregon find themselves in a predicament. Oregon law requires replanting after harvesting trees for timber, but there now is a surge in demand for a product that takes two years to grow. Seedlings that will be ready this year already are sold, and those planted because of new demand will take time to grow. While large-scale logging companies can and are moving operations to focus on burned timber while it’s still usable, including replanting with seedlings already on hand, Oregon State University Extension Service Forester Glenn Ahrens said smaller landowners are having a harder time adapting to the needs of an unexpected, wildfire-caused harvest. Private Forests Division Family Forest Land Coordinator Ryan Gordon said, “The wildfire situation has really only exacerbated a situation that’s been of concern specifically for small landowners for some time. Wildfire strikes unpredictably in unpredictable areas, so it’s difficult to plan for it. It takes a few years to turn a seed into a seedling.” Kathy LeCompte, owner of Brooks Tree Farm north of Salem said, “We were already sold out before the fire came. Trees that are only one year old are already in the ground. There isn’t anything we can do to put more in the ground for 2022. It’s a two-year crop.” It is currently estimated that it will take over 5-million seedlings to replant what has been lost to the wildfires. This means a huge backlog of seedlings, and for some smaller landowners it will be years of waiting for seedlings.

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Original Source:
Oregon wildfires leave smaller landowners scrambling for seedlings as demand spikes