Oregon forestland owners build new bridges to local market
Release Date: 02-16-2007

PORTLAND, Ore. — Green-certified forest landowners in Oregon are taking an unprecedented step to connect with the growing demand for certified lumber. Using sustainable harvest practices and focusing on local market connections, the project will bring more than half a million board feet of lumber directly into the local market.

Four landowners from northwest Oregon are selectively harvesting 60 truckloads of logs — enough lumber for approximately 60 new homes. The wood will be custom cut under contract by Hambleton Lumber, a family-owned sawmill in Washougal, Washington, on the banks of the Columbia River. The certification of forestry practices by the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) differentiates the wood from the usual 2x4s.

“There is a strong demand for FSC-certified lumber, and we are creating a new model to provide Oregon-grown lumber to the builders, lumberyards, and consumers that are asking for the FSC label,” explains Scott Zimmerman, a Portland-based lumber veteran who is selling the lumber into the growing market for local green building products. “By purchasing FSC lumber, consumers express their support for forestry practices that do a better job of protecting our air and water, including storing more carbon to fight global warming,” says Zimmerman.

“The landowners are members of a network of FSC-certified forestlands administered by Trout Mountain Forestry, a group of consulting foresters based in Portland and Corvallis. Trout Mountain Forestry’s Scott Ferguson was the first consulting forester in the Pacific Northwest to achieve Forest Stewardship Council certification in 1997. “It is very satisfying to help a group of long-term land stewards get recognized for their commitment to a strong conservation-based forestry approach,” Ferguson said.

FSC certification requires strict environmental protection measures, including limitations on clearcuts, wide stream protection zones, restrictions on chemical use, and wildlife habitat protection measures that surpass Oregon’s state standards. Because FSC-certified forests are grown to an older average age than intensively managed forests, more carbon is sequestered and stored in the trees, which helps combat global warming. As an added benefit, this older timber contains higher quality wood that produces more value-added products.

“This project is expanding the range of green building products available in our region,” said Kent Goodyear, Director of Forestry Market Connections for Ecotrust. “We’ve seen small quantities of FSC beams and lumber before, but this project brings a significant volume of logs to a large sawmill. The result will be more competitive pricing and better product availability,” according to Goodyear.

FSC customers include Oregon Canadian, a value-added manufacturer and distributor of Douglas-fir lumber based in North Plains. Oregon Canadian has received FSC certification for chain-of-custody, ensuring integrity in the manufacturing and distribution process.

Lumber is also being sold to Voss Framing, an Oregon City company that frames for several large builders including Renaissance Homes of Lake Oswego, a leading “green” home builder. This lumber will go directly into homes built and marketed based on their green attributes. In addition, FSC certified lumber from this project will be available at several FSC certified retail lumber yards throughout the West Coast including Fairfax Lumber in Fairfax, CA, Hayward Lumber in Salinas, CA, and Withers Lumber of Woodburn, OR, which is in the process of achieving FSC certification.

About Trout Mountain Forestry
Trout Mountain Forestry specializes in long-term, conservation-based forest management. Its clients include several municipal watersheds (Forest Grove, Cannon Beach, and Corvallis), youth camps (Camp Fire and Girl Scouts) and numerous family forest owners. Each year, Trout Mountain Forestry supervises the harvest of some five million board feet of logs from client properties according to the strict standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, providing a sustainable supply of high quality wood products.

Forestry contact: Scott Ferguson or Barry Sims, 503-445-1291
All other inquiries: Scott Zimmerman, 503-288-3512 or 503-267-4891

About Ecotrust
Ecotrust is a conservation organization committed to strengthening communities and the environment from Alaska to California. Ecotrust works with native peoples and in the fisheries, forestry, and food sectors to build a regional economy based on social and ecological opportunities. With an operating budget of $6.5 million, Ecotrust has a staff of 45 and manages a $20 million endowment that makes investments in businesses and projects that enhance the capacity for appropriate development and conservation throughout the region.

Contact: Kent Goodyear, 503-467-0752

About FSC
Forest certification enables consumers to make informed choices when selecting wood and other forest products. The Forest Stewardship Council, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the global and national leader in the independent certification of forests managed to exemplary standards covering environmental, social and economic issues. FSC promotes responsible forest management through a third-party certification program that is used as a market-based tool for ensuring that the world’s forests are protected for future generations. There are currently more than 67 million acres of FSC- certified forestland in North America and nearly 200 million acres globally. More information about FSC-US can be found at www.fscus.org.