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Post-Fire Reforestation In Oregon Hampered By Tree Seedling Shortage

OSU Extension

Many forest landowners are in the process of replanting forests that burned in last year’s wildfires. Tree seedlings are in high demand, but supply is limited.

Demand for seedlings in Oregon has been high for years, but after last year’s wildfires, it’s higher than ever. Nurseries say they can’t keep up with the need.

Ryan Gordon is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He says the agency is teaming up with the Oregon State University Extension Service and other organizations to help landowners meet their goals.

“Reforestation is important because we want to protect all the values we have for our forests," said Gordon. "Whether that be for wildlife, water quality, and timber production, recreation, or something else like preventing the spread of invasive species. And it’s just really important that people have the trees they need to get the job done.”

Gordon mostly works with smaller landowners, who often struggle to buy from nurseries that prefer to sell in bulk. The agency is working on increasing nursery capacity across the state.

The Oregon Forest Practices Act requires reforestation within two years after a harvest -- or a wildfire. Gordan says that ODF wants to help forest owners who are struggling to meet this deadline, and he encourages anyone reforesting to reach out for assistance.

“I’d really encourage folks who have been impacted by the fires to reach out to their local ODF Stewardship Forester and start a conversation with them now," said Gordon. "Both for help around seedling procurements and planting, but also thinking long term about making sure about if they’re positioned to try and hit those deadlines, and if they can’t hit them, then to have a conversation about a potential extension.”