Brad Withrow-Robinson. OSU Forestry & Natural Resources agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

In the fjord regions of Norway, both forestry and farming are limited to the area between the rock and the water.   The bottom of the valley is farmed, and the narrow toes of the valley walls are forested. Many communities were not connected by roads until the 1920s.  It is beautiful country, but it strikes me as a beautiful place to starve. It is not hard to see why so many people left for America in the late 19th Century.  Those who stayed looked for alternative sources of income to supplement farm incomes/earnings.

Looking up valley and seeing patches of spruce and pine on lower slopes of valley wall.
Looking up valley and seeing patches of spruce and pine on lower slopes of valley wall.

 

Local County Forester Rune K. discussing management of Spruce in the Valley.
Local County Forester Rune K. discussing management of Spruce in the Valley.

 

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Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural resources Extension.

 

One of our visits was to a cooperative forest jointly owned by about a dozen families from Bengtshedens village. The Mellanskog landowner cooperative also has a significant share of ownership.

One of our visits was to a cooperative forest jointly owned by about a dozen families from Bengtshedens village. The Mellanskog landowner cooperative also has a significant share of ownership. We were greeted on arrival by two family owners with coffee and cinnamon rolls before touring the forest.
We were greeted on arrival by two of the family owners with coffee and cinnamon rolls before touring the forest.

 

Mellanskog Forester Lars Eric explaining management practices such as regeneration, thinning and fertilization in a 100-year-old stand of Scotts pine.
Mellanskog Forester Lars Eric explaining management practices such as regeneration, thinning and fertilization in a 100-year-old stand of Scotts pine.

 

 

 

We visited the Log Max factory in Grangarde, innovative producers of logging processing heads.
We visited the Log Max factory in Grangarde, innovative producers of logging processing heads.
Our group observing Log Max and Eco Log equipment in their native habitat of central Sweden.
Our group observing Log Max and Eco Log equipment in their native habitat of central Sweden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regeneration of pine with seed tree cuts is common in Sweden and Norway.
Regeneration of pine with seed tree cuts is common in Sweden and Norway.

 

 

Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agent for Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

Dalarna County was the seat of a very old and important copper and iron mining industry, an early source of wealth and power for Sweden.  We visted the Falun copper mine, active since the 10th century and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Preparing to head down into the Falun Copper mine.
Preparing to head down into the Falun Copper mine.

Why is that part of our forestry tour?

Forest products were a critical part of early mining industry, which needed massive amounts of charcoal and round wood to extract and process the metals. Forestlands near the mine were hard pressed to provide these products.  The mine is also the birthplace of world’s oldest stock company, which eventually became large forest and paper corporation Stora Enso.

Over-exploitation of forest resources by the mid-16th century led to a series of perhaps the world’s oldest forest protection rules.  In 1607 King Charles IX issued a ban on logging and charcoal production within a one-mile radius of the Falun mine (using the old Swedish mile, about 7 English miles). It was named the “Peace Mile” in hopes it would reduce disputes over unregulated charcoal production.

However it was not until 1754 that the surveyor Johan Brandberg finished measuring 112 points around the circumference of a the circle, marking each with stones.

from: http://www.fredsmilen.se/RosenGammalKarta.aspx
from: http://www.fredsmilen.se/RosenGammalKarta.aspx
Marker stone number 112 in the Peace mile ring, marked with an arrow.
Marker stone number 112 in the Peace mile ring, marked with an arrow.

See old and new maps of the circle drawn by Brandberg at:

http://www.fredsmilen.se/RosenGammalKarta.aspx

and

http://www.fredsmilen.se/Default.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties

 

A New Approach

Dalagård farm & forest retreat is a large working forest owned by Cecilia and Leif Öster. These first -generation landowners are developing an active silvo-trouism enterprise to diversify the farm’s income and promote its sustainability. Forest products and hunting leases are other significant income streams.

We enjoyed a wonderful Swedish Mid-Summer style lunch while enjoying the beautiful setting.
We enjoyed a wonderful Swedish Mid-Summer style lunch while enjoying the beautiful setting.

 

Leif explains alternative forest management practices used near the guest complex. This is aimed at balancing the guests aesthetic expectations of forests with broader forest production objectives.
Leif explains alternative forest management practices used near the guest complex. This is aimed at balancing the guests aesthetic expectations of forests with broader forest production objectives.

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Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources agent

Our group of 26 family woodland owners arrived in Sweden this week at the start of the Scandinavia Forestry Tour.

The tour is organized by the Oregon Woodlands Coop along with Washington County Woodlands Association and OSU Forestry &

Woodland owners visiting the Skansen historic museum in Stockholm Sweden
Woodland owners visiting the Skansen historic museum in Stockholm Sweden

Natural Resources Extension.

The purpose of the tour is to look at forestry practices in this part of the world, meet fellow family forest landowners and focus particularly on the strong role of landowner cooperatives in both Sweden and Norway.

Most of our group is from Oregon, but we have people from four other US states, as well as South Africa rounding out the group.

This is my first electronic post card from the tour, where I will try to share some of the things we are seeing and learning here.

 

Old traditional buildings at Skansen
Old traditional buildings at Skansen Museum

 

DSCN3584

View of Stockholm
View of Stockholm

 

 

 

Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

Conifer trees around the Valley continue to show signs of severe drought and heat stress this year. This should not be news to many readers:  young dead trees are now a common sight throughout the Valley.  Also, I wrote about this problem in past Tree Topics blogs (See stories from  May and September 2015 for background) but have new updates for this season.DSCN2333cr

I think you can expect to continue seeing similar damage to Douglas-fir this year and that symptoms will continue to unfold as the season progresses. Some of the trees damaged late last year did not show that damage immediately. The damage did not become evident until the trees came out of dormancy and began to grow this spring.  Also, the various insect and disease organisms that take advantage of       weak and damaged trees are likely to continue with their business this year, causing new signs of drought damage to show up during the season.  Happily, those players like Douglas-fir cankers and twig weevils do not typically blow up and kill healthy trees.  This suggests things will look much like what we saw and described last year and is likely to continue to unfold this season and maybe longer, whatever weather we get.  “It is important to understand that the effects of drought damage do not go away suddenly when the rain starts again” cautions Christine Buhl, ODF Forest Entomologist “drought can impact the tree’s whole plumbing structure, and affect the growth and vigor of the tree for years.”

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By Brandy Saffell and Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

rhapu345If one of your land management goals is to provide wildlife habitat, you’ll want to consider keeping a mix of native shrub species on your property. Shrubs provide a host of services to wildlife, including shelter or cover, nesting space, and food from their twigs, leaves, flowers, and fruit. With thought given to species selection and location, retaining existing shrubs or planting them can benefit wildlife without compromising timber growth or forest operations. This is the first article in a series intended to help you recognize some of the “brush” species that may exist on your property, and understand how they may fit with your management goals. Each article will highlight one species that benefits wildlife in northwest Oregon forests.

Species Name: Cascara (or cascara buckthorn, chittam) – Rhamnus purshiana Continue reading

Many aesthetic and habitat objectives of family forest landowners come with older, less dense stands like this stand of about 70 years. It is important to get on this path early.
Many aesthetic and habitat objectives of family forest landowners come with older, less dense stands like this stand of about 70 years. It is important to get on this path early.

Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

In previous segments I argued that many people have too many trees in their young stands   which may be costly and harmful to the long term growth of the stand. Most importantly, having too many trees at this stage can undermine common landowner objectives of growing attractive, longer rotation diverse forest habitats and can force landowners into shorter rotations than imagined.

While this suggests that people should think about planting fewer trees per acre in the future (a step deserving some careful consideration), it highlights the need for thinning in many existing young stands to correct overstocking at an early age. This may include your stand.

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Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

 

Pretty much every landowner I know has a weed issue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome are fairly short term and narrow, such as controlling common weeds in a new tree planting. Others are much longer term and less defined, such as keeping invasive species at bay in the woodland, or perhaps encouraging  native plants in a meadow or streamside restoration.

There are multiple approaches to weed management, including preventing new weed introductions, mechanical or physical control such as mulching or mowing and the use of herbicides. Most people use a mix of two or more of these approaches, with many including herbicides as one of the methods they use.

Here are some key resources to help you manage your weed issues.

 

ec1563Invasive Weed Identification and Management EC 1563 

It is important to know the enemy, and this is a good place to start, beginning with the 3-page introduction. This publication goes on to describe the identifying characteristics, origin, habitat, ecology and management strategies for selected invasive weeds in the Pacific Northwest. This list is not inclusive of all invasive weeds, but focuses on the most dominant or potentially invasive species that plague us. Check PNW Weed Management Handbook for current herbicide recommendations.

 

The Nature Conservancy’s Weed Control Methods Handbook

A useful resource for many types of landowners, the Weed Control Methods Handbook: Tools & Techniques for Use in Natural Areas provides detailed information about weed control techniques including manual and mechanical methods, grazing, prescribed fire, biological control, and herbicides.  Check PNW Weed Management Handbook for current herbicide recommendations.

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Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.

Picture 1160

In a previous article , I wrote that many folks in NW Oregon are growing too many trees in young stands given some common family forest landowners’ objectives, including doing a selective thinning harvest when the trees are in their mid-20s.  While on their way towards a variety of longer-term objectives and stand conditions, most people are hoping that their initial harvest will at least break even (when it is sometimes called a commercial thinning).  So we need to focus on reaching that first thinning harvest in a timely manner and leaving the stand in a good condition to meet future objectives. Let’s begin by looking at what it takes to have a successful thinning harvest.

My contacts in the business around the mid-Valley tell me that while the first thinning harvest should provide a mix of saw logs and chip logs, most of the surplus trees removed in the thinning need to produce a sawlog or two if you hope to break even or make a little money (a mix of around 2/3 saw logs and the remaining 1/3 chip logs is a rule of thumb used by some). Too many small logs and the operation is costing money. That sawlog will vary according to the mill it is headed to, but is generally 20 feet to 32 feet long with a 6 or 7 inch top. Smaller wood goes to chip and saw or pulp.

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