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:: Home > Forests and Timber > Reforestation > Replanting
Tree planters.

 Replanting I

...go to part II


The goal of reforestation is to get trees onto treeless forest lands as soon as possible, with a number of trees that is acceptable to the land owner or manager, of a species of trees that is desirable, and as economically as possible. Although there are two types of reforestation; "artificial" is when the trees are regenerated by planting, and"natural" is when the trees are regenerated by "seeding," in western Oregon the vast majority of reforestation is carried out through tree planting.

In general, it's quite simple: if you cut down a bunch of trees in a forest, then you are responsible for making sure that trees come back on that land! Oregon has laws and regulations that require us to regenerate the forests successfully. In 1941, Oregon was the first state in the entire nation to require that we reforest all state and private forest land. In 1971 the Oregon Forest Practices Act, administered by the Oregon Department of Forestry, was passed in order to strengthen existing laws and, among other things, required even more aggressive reforestation following timber harvests!
Planting Douglas-fir seedlings on a recent clearcut.

In 1991 the standards for reforestation were strengthened once again to require at least 200 live seedlings per acre, shorter time frames for planting, and additional stand maintenance after planting. It's the law— every acre of forest land must be replanted if it is logged. Federal lands such as Forest Service and BLM lands, are required to be replanted too.

"Oregon is one of the nation's leaders in reforestation. Over 100 million new seedlings are planted on forest land each year. That is an area equal to a six-mile wide strip from Portland to Salem planted each year."

-Oregon Department of Forestry FAQs

So how do we do it? Well, there are several steps to getting a seedling into the ground, and these steps are part of our management plan, because no timber harvest should be planned without preparing for replanting.

Getting the Seedling... When we use natural regeneration, there must be a healthy supply of seeds available from"seed trees," or perhaps from trees growing on the edge of the harvest unit. When planting trees we grow seedlings in nurseries, then we take the trees from our nurseries and replant them in the forest.

Choosing the Seedling... We always try to use the healthiest seedlings, because the healthier the seedling the better it will grow in the forest. We use seeds from parent trees that have shown that they can grow well in that particular environment. When appropriate we try to use seedlings representing several different species of trees in order to maintain diversity in the working forest.

Planting the Seedling... We plant from the onset of wet weather in the late fall, through winter months and into the spring. Seedlings are planted while they are dormant so that later they can take advantage of cool, wet weather conditions that promote good root development (in the fall and spring). In this way the seedlings will have grown some roots into the deep, wet, soil before the hot, dry summer months that follow! The first step in planting a tree is loosening the soil...
... and then we make a hole deep enough to accommodate the roots of the seedling, making sure that the roots lay deep and straight...