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May 31: Thinning Your Forest for Climate Resilience workshop on Orcas Island

Thinning Your Forest for Climate Resilience workshop takes place May 31 in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at Helsell Family Forest, Deer Harbor. 

Northwest Natural Resource Group presents strategies for stewarding a forest that provides a broad range of ecological functions and achieves your economic goals. 

This workshop is offered at no cost thanks to support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Western Extension Risk Management Education. 

Stewarding a beautiful, healthy forest doesn't have to mean locking the gate and throwing out the key. In fact, careful stewardship can help you to perpetually manage your forest in a way that improves wildlife habitat, sustains forest health, reduces risks associated with climate change, and provides long-term income opportunities through high-quality timber products.

At this free workshop on a family forest on Orcas Island, WA, professional foresters will introduce forest owners to a set of simple, hands-on strategies for increasing their forests’ resilience in the face of a warmer and drier climate.

Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the ecological risks facing the region and nearby forests due to wildfire, drought, disease, and insect infestation. We will discuss how to evaluate the current health of a forest based on desired future conditions, when commercial or pre-commercial thinning might be appropriate, and how to select trees for thinning. Participants will learn about the equipment used in a pre-commercial or a commercial thinning, the permitting required for a timber sale, and options for utilizing woody biomass leftover from a thinning.

Friday, May 31 · 9:30am to 3:30 pm at Helsell Family Forest, Deer Harbor


9:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Welcome, Introductions, History of this forest

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

How to "read" and understand your forest from an ecological perspective. Discussion of risks forest producers face and how they are aggravated by climate variability (wildfire, pests, disease, drough...

10:45 AM - 11:30 AM

Climate-associated risks

How to identify risks in unthinned forests and what the trajectory of a forest may be if left unthinned. How to determine if harvesting is feasible, and when a forest is viable for commercial thinnin...

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Selecting trees for thinning

What criteria to use when selecting which trees to remove in a thinning.

12 noon to - 12:30 PM

Tree marking exercise

Participants will practice selecting trees for thinning in an unthinned area of forest, then explain decisions.

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM


1:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Permitting a timber sale

1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Harvest logistics: access and log landings

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM

Harvest equipment & dealing with leftover woody biomass

2:15 to  3:30 PM

Economics of thinning, financial assistance programs

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2021-70027-34713


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