Working with consulting foresters

Answers from:

Jeff DeBell, CF, Cascade Woodland Design, Inc. Mobile  360-791-6106.

Dennis Parent, CF, Assoc. Consulting Foresters. DRPforestry, LLC. Mobile 208-755-6687.

Brian J. Vrablick, CF, Assoc. Consulting Foresters, American Forest Management. (509) 939-5503.

Q: If I am interested in selective thinning, what would that process look like? I know there isn’t as    much money in selective thinning, but I would like to retain some of my forest for a cabin view.

A: As the forest owner, you should decide why you value your property, evaluate all your forest resource conditions, consider your feasible choices and trade-offs for protecting and/ or   enhancing your forest resources to meet ownership objectives, determine what your tolerance to risk is if you choose your “do nothing” alternative, and then develop and execute a logical game plan for achieving success and maximizing your forestland benefits. Managing a timber harvest is complicated, you call the shots, and the liability is on the landowner. Hiring a consulting forester to manage your timber sale helps assure that your land will be prepared for   timber harvesting, protected during the operation, and restored to grow a healthy and productive forest after the timber harvest activities.  Activities you will need to do include:  locating property boundaries; handling all aspects of timber sales administration, i.e. advertising the sale, managing the bidding process, etc.; logging performance inspections; harvest coordination in conjunction with logging crew leader; marking sale boundaries (including Streamside Management Zones); determining thinning requirements, harvesting method, skid    trail layout, location and quantities of decks, road building, intensity of tree removal and density of residual stand; post-harvest clean-up; site preparation; reforestation; mapping; and sometimes wildlife habitat improvement (deer, turkey, quail, duck, etc.).  You will need to work with the WA Dept of Natural Resources to obtain a Forest Practices Permit. You will then need  to layout the timber harvest according to resource protection rules and regulations, and your desired outcomes. There are dozens of measures to consider, even just for thinning.  In fact, because you would leave timber standing for a cabin view, you need to consider safety from tree breakage and blowdown that could impact yourself and property.  Your also need to hire   contractors and some way to get the logs to the mill.  A consulting forester takes on your responsibility as your representative for the harvest management, taking care of permitting and other legal considerations and protections, provides a valuation of the benefits and costs, merchandises the timber, and prepares the site for regeneration and your personal use.

Q: What is the most environmentally friendly form of slash management?

A: Any harvest that leaves nutrients in the woods (tops, limbs, stumps and roots), minimizes water and soil disturbance and displacement, and leaves and protects some key features such as downed wood, snags, riparian trees, and a few big “legacy trees” is considered environmentally friendly.

Q: Can you redisplay the resources slide, Brian (last slide)?


Q: Where can I find a resource that defines log sizes such as 2 saw, 3 saw, 4 saw, etc. for different   types of trees.

A: Here is an easy-to-use bulletin which follows the Northwest Log Rules Advisory Group

Q: Are there markets for making forest slash into biodiesel?

A: Not really, but it has been done.

Q: Is there a list of Certified Foresters to use to locate a member close to our properties?

A: Society of American Foresters ; Association of Consulting Foresters ; WSU Extension Directory

Q: Are smaller lots (for example, under 5 acres) not required to file a Forest Practice Application?

A: WA landowners do not need an FP permit if timber is not sold, and/or is below 5,000 board feet. Forest Practices that may require a permit include: harvesting timber, salvaging standing and down wood, constructing forest roads, opening or expanding a rock pit on forest land for forestry use, operating in or over any typed water and applying forest chemicals with an aircraft.

Q: What does ‘remember soil depth to hold up your leave trees’ mean?

A: This question was regarding leave trees after a commercial thinning.  Soggy soils and gusting winds are usually the reason that trees blow over.  Sometimes Ice and snow can weigh down a tree so much that it is pulled over under the weight of the crown when the soils are soaked.  And sometimes the roots are decayed by a fungus, or root material is severed from a construction project.  Shallow or rocky soils can also fail the tree, and it uproots in a storm or under the weight of snow or ice.  If trees grew up crowded and competed for growing space,  that could limit root spread needed for stabilization.  And some species just grow narrower roots, making them vulnerable to soil failures.