Reconnecting People and Forests
Careers, Forest Products

Standing Proud

You grow through what you go through. And through it all, we'll be here. Standing proud.

We’re a community that knows a thing or two about growth, and regrowth.

More than 30+ years ago, we planted trees and cared for forests that are being used today to help meet the demands of a global crisis. But providing essential products - face masks, protective equipment, testing components - is really only half the story.

Our people - their commitment to safety, the environment, and to a better future. That’s what makes this possible. It’s why we’ll always remain committed to keeping forests as forests. We plant and regrow trees to ensure that the world can continue to rely on us for innovative and essential solutions to whatever challenges the next 30 years holds for us.

#forestproud.

Clouds and Sun Illustration
Fast Facts
Fast Facts, Recreation

Responsible Recreation

It's more important now than ever to take care of our mental and physical health.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Careers, Forest Products, Products

Thank You to Paper and Wood Products Employees

We all rely on paper products for our daily lives. The employees at paper and wood products mills across the country are safely and sustainably manufacturing the goods we need– from tissue and hygiene products, packaging for food, pharmaceuticals and other consumer products, paper for notebooks and coloring, specialty paper for medical supplies, building products and shipping containers and more.

American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members have no higher priority than the safety of our people, and we are humbled by those who are showing up big to make the products we rely on.

Thank you.

Reconnecting People and Forests
Careers, Products

The Crew

The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work. – Thomas Edison

Innovation and new technology allow us to operate faster, safer, and more efficiently - creating new products and solutions for a society that is constantly on the move. Forest products manufacturing looks very different than it did 100 years ago.

But behind the fancy machines and the new technology - at the heart of these organizations – is a group of skilled, dedicated, and hardworking individuals who make it all possible.

A group who takes pride in their work creating natural, renewable, and sustainable solutions. A group that knows they're making a difference.

In that sense, nothing has changed at all.

#forestproud

How many people are part of the forest community?
Community
Fast Facts
Fast Facts, Forest Management

Fast Facts | Who is part of the forest community?

Who is part of the forest community? HINT: It's more people than you think, and probably includes you!

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Community
Reconnecting People and Forests
Conservation, Forest Management

Growing Trees at Hill Nurseries

Every year, more than 1 billion trees are planted in the U.S. But who grows the baby trees?

All these millions of seedlings have to come from somewhere. Take a look behind the scenes - meet the people who grow and care for tiny baby trees at Hill Nurseries.

Reconnecting People and Forests
Forest Products, Products

Cup to Cup: Closing the Loop

The "Cup to Cup: Closing the Loop" partnership project is an innovative collaboration between Sustana and three other supply chain partners, working together to demonstrate that Starbucks cups could be recycled and turned into new cups.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Forest Products, Products

Cup to Cup: Closing the Loop

Aaaah the Starbucks coffee cup. An icon.  But what happens to the cup after you finish a caramel macchiato? Enter the Cup-to-Cup collaboration.

 

 

Learn more on the Sustana blog.

Healthy Trees Healthy Lives
Community
Urban Forests

Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives

As research is being conducted and becoming available, findings reinforce what much of the urban forestry community already knows — that trees have a positive impact on human health.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Carbon + Climate Change, Conservation, Forest Benefits, Forest Management, Forest Products, Products

Reimagine. Rethink. Reconnect.

Rising to the Challenge.

"Every generation has a big question that they have to answer. I think, fundamentally, our generation has to answer 'what is our carbon future going to look like?'"

#forestproud is a diverse community united by a shared ethic of forest stewardship. Together, we are committed to solving key societal challenges by making choices that keep forest as forests.

With a rapidly urbanizing population comes a new set of challenges for society. Challenges that include: an increase in pollution and waste; increasing demands on aging infrastructure; growing demand for affordable (vertical) housing; and a pressing need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable materials. We can seize the initiative and work together as a community of innovators, problem-solvers, and responsible stewards, providing scalable solutions to some of today’s most pressing urban challenges through forests.

Reimagining Cities Illustration
Reimagining Our Cities
Biomass + Renewable Energy, Carbon + Climate Change, Careers, Cities, Forest Management, Innovation, Mass Timber, People, Products, Urban Forests

FORESTS: Reimagining Our Cities

For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in a city.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Careers, Forest Management, Innovation, People, Products

FOREST TO OCEAN | Grain Surfboards

As a society, we are becoming increasingly disconnected from our forests. With nearly 8 billion people in the world - half of which live in cities – we're not just becoming physically disconnected but disconnected from the benefits and solutions they provide us every day.

A wooden surfboard isn't going to solve this, but it serves as a powerful reminder that we always have a choice. And that natural, renewable, and sustainable solutions are always the best solutions.

Hand built using locally grown wood from sustainably managed forests in Maine, Grain Surfboards is not just creating a product for profit. They're creating a product that has a soul, tells a story, and provides a powerful connection spanning forests and ocean. They're creating a product that is not only doing right by surfers, but right by our environment, and by our forests.

Meet Mike LaVecchia and Brian Schopfer of Grain Surfboards and see why they are #forestproud.

Smokejumpers on the Tarmac
Reconnecting People and Forests
Careers, Fire, Forest Management, People

SMOKEJUMPER | Naomi Mills

For a look at what it takes to put it all on the line to protect our forests and keep our communities safe, hear from Naomi Mills, a smokejumper with the USDA Forest Service.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Carbon + Climate Change, Fire, Forest Management, People

Living with Fire

WORKING WITH FIRE ON THE LANDSCAPE

In Trinity County, California, wildfire is ever-present . Fires blackened 220,000 acres in 2015, destroying eight homes. In the last twenty years, fires have scorched 650,000 acres, almost a third of the 2 million-acre county. Large fires erupted in 2006, 2008 and 2015. Communities have been threatened by wildfire five times in 15 years.

Faced with a pervasive threat, one would expect forest managers to try to get ahead of wildfire by thinning small trees and brush from large swaths of land to keep fires smaller and less destructive. Across much of the West, this type of landscape-scale forest restoration is the new mantra of federal land management. To be sure, thinning is a part of the Trinity County strategy. However, local leaders and federal forest managers are also taking a different tack—living with fire.

Trinity County is a remote rural community deep in the steep and dissected Trinity Mountains. The once-thriving timber community boasted seven sawmills, but the Northwest Forest Plan and automation knocked out all but one of them. Between 1994 and 1996, salary income in Trinity County dropped forty percent. Good-paying jobs dried up and the economy tanked.

A NEW PATH FORWARD

Faced with massive job losses in the mid-1990s and a shift to ecosystem management, community leaders knew that their relationship to the woods had to change. They rejected the stark choices of “log it or lock it up” to start a local non-profit, The Watershed Research and Training Center, to find a new path forward for federal forest communities.

“The Watershed Center was born to retrain displaced forest and mill workers to do ecosystem management. We recognized early on that whatever ecosystem management was going to be, we needed to find opportunities for jobs in the woods and jobs for people working with wood,” said Nick Goulette, executive director of the Watershed Research and Training Center.

Image of forester wearing orange helmet in the woods
A forest technician with the watershed center cuts brush on private land in preparation for a prescribed burn.

The path to aligning economic development with federal ecosystem management was bumpy. Lack of access to wood supply from federal forests short-circuited numerous attempts to create local businesses. The local sawmill was getting less than two percent of its wood from nearby public forests.

" We were living in a sea of trees and never had enough logs to run a business that everybody agreed we ought to have. "

Nick Goulette

BORN FROM DECADES OF INACTION

Federal forest management can be controversial and litigious; especially in the last stronghold of the northern spotted owl. Convening diverse stakeholders can be effective at reaching agreement and avoiding lawsuits. Community leaders had collaborated on local projects but were exasperated by enduring stalemates over sticky natural resource issues such as timber sales and fire salvage.

Goulette and others convinced Trinity County to set up a standing natural resource collaborative. Meanwhile, local leaders brought Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to Weaverville (pop. 3600) where he learned about community needs and interests. Shortly after Vilsack’s visit, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell hosted a forum on forest management. “The visits from Secretary Vilsack and Chief Tidwell really gave the collaborative a unique and valuable kick in the butt,” said Goulette of the watershed center.

Image of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaking at a forum.
Secretary of Agriculture addresses community roundtable in Weaverville California. Left to Right: Secretary Vilsack, Dick Morris (Board President Trinity Public Utilities District), John Letton (Board Member of Trinity County Chamber of Commerce). Photo Courtesy of USDA.

LIVING WITH FIRE: FROM GREEN TO BLACK

Fire became a touchstone that drew diverse interests—conservation, timber, recreation and local residents—to the table.

Image of tree stump on fire
Fire became a touchstone that drew diverse interests—conservation, timber, recreation and local residents—to the table.

" Fire is the primary change agent on the landscape. The collaborative group fomulated a strategy that accommodates wildfire and finds better ways to live with it. "

Nick Goulette

The strategy aims to keep communities safe in a fire-prone landscape while supporting local businesses that use small-diameter trees from treated areas. The collaborative focuses on cleaning up the mess left by last year’s fire. “We supported the Forest Service and their staff to pivot from green projects—projects that would thin and get ahead of the fire problem to black—cleaning up the fire problem from last year. And that resulted in a pretty ambitious proposal,” said Goulette of the watershed center.

A before and after of a shaded fuel break on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Shaded fuel breaks are designed to slow the fire’s spread and give fire crews places to suppress a wildfire. Photo courtesy of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
A before and after of a shaded fuel break on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Shaded fuel breaks are designed to slow the fire’s spread and give fire crews places to suppress a wildfire. Photo courtesy of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The shift from green to black puts the emphasis on fire safety and transportation. When a wildfire threatens homes, residents need to get out and fire crews need to get in. Fire crews need places to safely fight the fire, referred to as anchor points. Remote rural communities often have only one way in and way out. The collaborative proposed that Forest Service officials focus on a series of roadside fuel breaks and fire salvage. The strategy was timely, avoided controversy, and most importantly, achievable.

" The vision is to work on all of the major road systems within the county, to create shaded fuel breaks anywhere possible. That totals 3,000 miles of roads and more than 30,000 acres of roadside thinning. "

Nick Goulette

If the landscape goal is about survival; the economic development goal is about hope. It aims to give residents a reason to stay—supporting local and regional businesses that create jobs. The goals reinforce each other. Markets for commercial products, such as saw logs or commercial firewood, lowers the cost of getting the work completed. “We cannot do all this work on the national forest with monies from our budget; we have to be able to sell commercial products,” said Dave Meyers, forest supervisor of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, BENEFITING BUSINESSES

When people spend big chunks of time on challenging topics two things can happen—they get to know and respect each other or they walk away swearing never to come back. In Trinity County, collaboration strengthened bonds and and built a foundation for new partnerships.

Case in point: Trinity River Lumber is the largest customer of the Trinity Public Utility District, representing 10 percent of their load. According to Paul Hauser, general manager of the Trinity PUD, the district has more than 500 miles of power lines in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. “It’s critical how that land is managed for the health of the utility and the local community,” said Hauser. He credits the collaborative for furthering the utility’s role in business development.

Image of a pile of firewood
Commercial firewood dries in the open air at Tule Creek Forest Products in Hayfork, CA. The forest collaborative created the conditions for Tule Creek’s success and helped it aquire start up funds.

California has the largest commercial firewood market in the U.S. When Goulette learned this he saw a business opportunity that fit the shift from green to black. A commercial firewood business could use the dead, downed and charred wood coming from roadside thinnings and fire salvage. With the help of USDA Rural Development—a federal agency charged with rural economic development—they discovered a grant program that allows public utilities to guarantee loans to local businesses. “Trinity PUD is the conduit for the loan. We guarantee the loan’s repayment and funnel low-interest federal funds to the business so they can invest in infrastructure and get off the ground,” said Hauser of the Trinity PUD.

The Trinity Public Utility District loaned $400,000 to Tule Creek Forest Products—a new commercial firewood operation in Hayfork, CA—to get them up and running. Tule Creek currently purchases a mix of federal and private timber. They buy small federal salvage sales and they buy and trade for logs with other buyers of federal salvage sales.

SUPPLY CHAIN SERVES LANDSCAPE STRATEGY

Federal forest restoration relies on a mix of appropriated dollars and product value to accomplish work on the ground. Restoration projects are expensive and many of the smaller trees and brush have limited commercial value.

" You have to design projects that pay their own way. If you do a stewardship contract, you can't get the necessary work completed without commercial value. "

Paul Hauser

Federal stewardship contracts use product value, such as sawlogs, to pay for service work, such as thinning, piling and burning of small trees that cannot be made into products. Larger trees fetch a higher price but may not align with restoration objectives and public sentiment. Where product markets exist, the cost of restoration projects goes down. Conversely, with no markets, the full cost of needed work must come from scarce federal dollars.

The supply chain for Tule Creek aligns with the shift to “the black”. Other more traditional businesses that rely on “the green” also benefit. Goulette and officials with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest hope that expanding forest thinning projects will spur new growth in the forest products industry. As evidence that the strategy is beginning to pay off, they point to long-time industry partners such as Trinity River Lumber in Weaverville and Sierra Pacific Industries in Anderson purchasing timber sales and stewardship contracts from the national forest. Equally important, they highlight new businesses such as Blue Lake Roundstock, a post-and-pole operation near Redding, that are creating demand for the low-value trees resulting from forest health projects.

BLUE LAKE ROUNDSTOCK—AN INTEGRATED SOLUTION

Economy of scale matters: Small-scale production of low-value wood is not a recipe for a sustainable business. Producing a suite of products where waste from one process becomes a low-cost input to another improves efficiency and boosts profits. It’s called industrial ecology and the traditional wood-products industry has been doing it for decades. For example, using bark and chips from processing raw logs to fuel a kiln drying lumber or veneer. Now, the concept is being applied at Blue Lake Roundstock in Anderson, CA.

Zane Peterson, log buyer for Blue Lake, is planning more than a post and pole operation at their former mill site near Redding, CA. He envisions the family business as a fully integrated biomass solution center that contributes to forest health by providing a market for low-value logs. The expansion plan calls for selling commercial firewood and biologically enhanced soil. A small-scale heat and power generator will convert wood waste from operations to power the site and the electrical equipment. The integration and co-location of different businesses aims to improve the bottom line of all partners.

The growth of businesses like Blue Lake reinforces the idea of building a solid pipeline of projects. Here’s general concept. The collaborative creates consensus on projects, Forest Service officials convert concepts to stewardship contracts and timber sales and industry purchases the wood and completes the restoration work.

LivingWithFireLumberYard

“The collaborative strategy supports local and regional businesses such as Trinity River Lumber, Tule Creek Forest Products, Blue Lake Roundstock and Sierra Pacific Industries. It increases the alignment of Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests with those businesses in the future. We are beginning to see projects come through the pipeline in the form of stewardship contracts,” said Goulette of the watershed center.

RURAL-URBAN PARTNERSHIPS

Trinity County leaders are building a system where the profit motive supports public land stewardship—indispensable in a county dominated by federal land. Equally important are the rural-urban partnerships that provide market access and expertise to explore innovation.

Jim Jungwirth knows a thing or two about rural business development. In 1996, he started Hayfork-based Jefferson State Forest Products which manufactured high-value, locally-sourced wood products. He developed a line of artisan produce bins for Whole Foods Market and grew the company to 56 employees and $6 million in gross annual revenue. He sold Jefferson State in 2007 but remains committed to finding innovative uses for under-utilized wood. The optimism of a serial entrepreneur still drives him but he’s candid about the hurdles facing rural startups.

" In rural areas, you have to create products that urban markets want. "

Jim Jungwirth

“And that’s what we did with Whole Foods. It is very difficult to start a business in a rural area that is dependent only local markets. So build partnerships with urban areas that are looking for the products that you can create,” said Jim Jungwirth, economic director program director at the watershed center.

Sudden Oak Death—a pathogen that attacks oaks—has killed thousands of tanoaks and other species in northern California and southern Oregon. The main defense against this quiet killer is cutting and burning the infested trees inside the quarantine zone. The thought of so much good wood going up in smoke piqued Jungwirth’s commercial curiosity. He dug into product options and discovered a company that made baseball bats from tanoak in the 1960s. Determined to find out if it could be done in Hayfork, he enlisted some “virtual citizens” to help—experts who understand the plight of rural communities and have the technical expertise to offer. They figured out how to dry the wood and built a beautiful prototype.

Jim Jungwirth sports a prototype of Mountain Thunder; a tanoak baseball bat which he hopes will be manufactured in Hayfork, CA.
Jim Jungwirth sports a prototype of Mountain Thunder; a tanoak baseball bat which he hopes will be manufactured in Hayfork, CA.

" Keep an eye out. The next time your favorite slugger steps up to the plate, he might be swinging a tanoak bat made in tiny Hayfork, CA. "

The efforts in Trinity County show that the old paradigm that pitted communities, timber industry and conservationists against each other no longer holds. In today’s environment of frequent fires and limited public funds, solutions are forged at the collaborative table. Living with fire means learning to work together both as a collaborative and as a community. And that is a lesson for all of us.

Words and pictures by Marcus Kauffman, Oregon Department of Forestry. Videos by Dan Bihn.

Project support provided by USDA Forest Service and the Oregon Statewide Wood Energy Team.

Original Post

restoring balance for fire solutions
Reconnecting People and Forests
Carbon + Climate Change, Fire, Forest Management

WILDFIRE | Fire and Our Forests

Megafires are devastating our forests and our communities. Find out what you can do to help stop them. We all have a part to play.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Carbon + Climate Change, Fire, Forest Management, People

FORESTS IN FOCUS | Central Oregon

Roseburg, Ore. – Restoring central Oregon’s federal forests is a big important job, requiring a  diverse group of stakeholders working together to create science-guided solutions that strive for balance, landscape scale and local economic benefits. Too many small trees crowd the landscape, putting homes and property at risk from intense wildfires. But what to do about it? This six-minute video showcases how stakeholders are working to restore central Oregon’s forests and make them more fire-resilient.

“The forests in central Oregon are adapted to fire,” said Pete Caliguiri, a fire ecologist with The Nature Conservancy. “With 450,000 acres of forest in need of restoration, it is important that we learn how to scale up our efforts. Sound science should continue to guide us.”

Forest restoration is expensive and results in a lot of by-products with varying degrees of commercial value. Finding markets for less valuable by-products from restoration projects, such as small trees and brush, would lower costs and create more local jobs.

“Ideally we’d have markets for the small trees and biomass that result from these treatments,” said Nicole Strong, assistant professor at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to create markets for some of these by-products like firewood, post and poles, pellets and wood chips for heat and power,” said Ed Keith, Deschutes County Forester.

“Forest restoration creates a lot of benefits: reduced fire risk to communities, improved economics and utilization of the by-products and improved forest ecology,” Stowe added. “We’ll never get the forest back to where it was before we mucked it up. But we can get it headed in the right direction, and it will be a better forest for everyone.”

The video was produced by the Oregon Department of Forestry with generous funding provided by the USDA Forest Service.

Image of a forest covered mountain
Reconnecting People and Forests
Biomass + Renewable Energy, Carbon + Climate Change, Careers, Forest Management, Innovation, People, Products

LOOK UP | The Future Of Forests Anthem

We’ve pulled together six pioneers of the forest community to have a conversation about innovation, challenges and the future of wood.

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Reconnecting People and Forests
Fire, Forest Management, People

Restoration in a Fire Forest: The Benefits of Burning

Who are the people in yellow setting fires in Oregon's dry forests? Wildfire has historically played an important role in the health and structure of Oregon's dry forests. Prescribed fire is a valuable tool used to restore forest health, increase firefighter safety, and better protect nearby human resources in these fire-adapted landscapes. The Northwest Fire Science Consortium's new video showcases the role of prescribed fire.

Image of trees under blue sky
Reconnecting People and Forests
Careers, Conservation, Fire, Forest Management, People, Wildlife

Restoring Habitat And Creating Jobs Through Western Juniper

Discover Oregon’s effort to restore habitat for sage grouse and create jobs by harvesting Western Juniper. Collaboration efforts like this one protect Oregon's forests and create rural jobs.

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