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The Future of Washington's Forests


Below are links to the four Future of Washington's Forests and Forestry Industries progress reports

Final Report
(July 2007)

4th Progress Report
(November 2006)
3rd Progress Report
(October 2006)

        Streaming Video Presentations from:     

  • November 20-21, 2006:
    Future of Washington's Forest Land Base Forum
    : Click Here!
  • October 30-31, 2006:
    Future of Washington's Forests Roundtable
    : Click Here!


Final Report: July 31, 2007

Prepared for the Washington Department of Natural Resources
as requested by the Washington State Legislature
by the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington

The report, as requested by the 2005 State Legislature, provides findings of research over the past two years to study the timber availability conditions and management alternatives, the economic contributions the forest lands directly and indirectly make, the competitiveness of the industry in Washington, the land-use pressures that exist for these lands, and the financial returns of State-owned forest lands.


Fourth Progress Report: November 2006

This 4th Progress Report on the Future of Washington Forests and Forestry Industries requested by the 2005
State Legislature serves as a preliminary summary report identifying important issues that will be further
developed in the final report. A Roundtable was held at the University October 30-31, where 65
individuals commented on the findings of Progress Reports 2 and 3. This Progress Report contains
findings presented at the Roundtable but not complete at the time the 3rd Report was written, some new
findings discussed at the Roundtable, and questions from the Roundtable that should be assessed at the
November 20-21 Forum. A Roundtable Discussion Summary prepared by Washington DNR supports this
4th Report.



Third Progress Report: October 2006

Introduction to Third Progress Report – October 23, 2006

Please consider this Third Report as a side-by-side document to the Second Report (July 2006), except where the executive summary suggests otherwise. This Third report is intended for the most part, to supplement, rather than replace, the Second report.

  • In the Timber Supply and Forest Structure section of the Third Report we include:
    • A county (Lewis) pilot study on fish-bearing and headwater stream protection, showing estimates of stream buffer impacts and riparian land conversion issues.
    • Eastside forest health, insect, fires, and climate treatment, including the alarming increase in mortality from insects as well as the climate-driven increases in fire hazards
    • Biofuels opportunities and issues
    • Eastside private forest harvest declines and impacts on infrastructure
    • Carbon management and impacts of thinning on fire hazard, carbon, and Eastside economics
    • Climate sensitivity and alterations and impacts
    • Private sector management intentions and impacts on regional economics

  • The Economic Contribution section is essentially rewritten, inasmuch as the Second report had very little data at the time of writing. In this section we provide a Global Overview of Who Produces and Consumes, a review of Washington Production, and an assessment of Competitors to Washington producers. These sections are linked to the section of the timber supply study, Impacts of Management Treatment Alternatives on Regional Economic Activity.

  • The Competitive Position section has significantly updated the data of the Second report and should be read as a new section.

  • The Land Conversion section has much additional information to supplement the Second report, with actual Westside land use and land change data, and forest ownership transfer data, including the extensive increased forest land use conversions in recent years.

*This PDF is 1.1 MBs; it will take a few moments to open.


Second Progress Report: July 2006

A study on the Future of Washington Forests and Forestry Industries was requested by the 2005 State Legislature. Each study area will examine the impact of different management influences and alternatives, providing a rich array of information from which the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the University of Washington, College of Forest Resources (CFR) will collaboratively develop policy recommendations for the Legislature. The following progress report is intended to provide preliminary information that will be used in later stages of this project but may have value now for identifying issues that will be important for policy consideration. (This PDF is 2.5 MBs; it will take a few moments to open).

Below is a preliminary breakdown of the deliverable information, and a link to the original proposal.

In 2005, the Washington State Legislature appropriated $1 million to the Department of Natural Resources (WA DNR) to contract with the UW College of Forest Resources (UW CFR) for the preparation of a comprehensive report on the future of the state’s forests. In this report we will provide:

  • Policy recommendations to enhance the state’s competitive position in the forestry and forest products industries, and to ensure that a productive forest land base continues to be managed for forest products and amenities, including recreational opportunities, on the state’s working forests.
  • Specific recommendations to assist Cascade foothills landowners in keeping working forests intact while accommodating new uses to strengthen the economic and natural benefits from these lands.
  • An assessment of the expected rate of return from State-owned forest trust lands.

The final report will be completed by the end of FY 2007. Preliminary results and recommendations will be available for consideration by the 2007 legislative session. The report’s research results and policy recommendations will provide input to policy decisions at the state and local levels, serve as a framework for public forums that will also help shape forest policy, and enhance discussions convened by UW CFR’s Northwest Environmental Forum. Legislative leaders can consider study results in crafting legislative policy.

UW CFR researchers in forest economics, forest products marketing and trade, and forest land use and policy will prepare five specific studies in fulfillment of the contract with WA DNR:

  • An update of the 1992 timber supply study for Washington State.
  • An independent assessment of the economic contribution of the forest products industry and secondary manufacturing to the state’s economy.
  • A comparison of the competitive position of the forest products industry in the state with respect to other U.S. regions.
  • An assessment of the trends and dynamics that commercial and residential development play in conversion of the state’s forests to non-forestry uses. The Cascade Land Conservancy, as a subcontract partner with the College, will prepare findings on Cascade foothills land use issues.
  • An assessment of the expected rate of return from State-owned forest trust lands.

WA DNR intends to convene an advisory body representing a broad range of stakeholders, to consider the UW CFR study findings and potential policy recommendations. WA DNR will also prepare a final overview report to the legislature, summarizing study results and stakeholder discussions, and containing policy recommendations.

Timber Supply and Forest Structure

We will examine potential ranges of future harvests, log supplies, and representative ecological measures for Westside and Eastside Washington, highlighting owner group differences, and:

  • Analyze forest management changes, including harvest level declines affecting regional economies and forest health and structure important to at-risk habitat and other public values.
  • Develop riparian buffer impacts for required stream protection.
  • Calibrate timber growth and yield analysis to update growth and yield information.
  • Link tree-by-tree stand data projections to economic, habitat, and biodiversity measures; carbon; and biofuel potential.
  • Project Eastside fire and insect risk, supplementing regional information with case studies to characterize variations in impacts, particularly among small owners.

Economic Contribution

We will assess the role, over time, of the primary and value-added wood industries in Washington’s economy, and project the likely near-tem regional contribution (both in timber-dependent regions and urban areas). Using input from the Timber Supply and Forest Structure Studies and recent CINTRAFOR research projecting an expansion of primary industry investments, we will:

  • Link investment potential to future economic contributions and their impact on value-added wood industries and disparate forest landowners, including factors that constrain investments.
  • Describe key factors of productivity and key drivers at state and county levels.

Competitive Position

Weak export markets and a changing competitive environment have adversely affected the international competitiveness of Washington’s forest products, especially high-value log exports and plywood production. At the same time, growth in the U.S. housing sector has provided consistent demand in the domestic market. We will examine:

  • Economic and other factors that determine profitability and competitiveness of the various classes of Washington’s private and public commercial forest lands.
  • The effect of regulatory constraints, policies, and tax burden (harvest and ad valorem taxes) on the competitiveness of the state’s forestry sector, relative to other regions.
  • Linkages of wood products manufacturing sectors with commercial forest lands.
  • Ways to enhance industry sectors in which Washington has a competitive advantage.

Land Conversion and Cascade Foothills Forestry Viability

Conversion of forest lands to urban uses diminishes environmental services provided by forests and constrains the economic, social, and ecological functions of adjoining private and public forest lands. We will:

  • Analyze areas in Washington where working and non-working forest land use has changed or is likely to change to non-forest land uses and identify factors influencing conversion.
  • Identify a range of policy and market incentive programs to assist forest landowners in keeping Washington’s forested landscapes intact.
  • In collaboration with the Cascade Land Conservancy, provide specific recommendations for Western Washington Cascade foothill forests in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and identify approaches for Whatcom, Skagit, Thurston, and Lewis counties.

State Granted Lands Return on Investment

In analyzing the asset value of WA DNR granted lands, this study will utilize the different approaches that exist to measure an asset’s income-producing capability, such as Return on Investment (ROI) or Internal Rate of Return (IRR). We will:

  • Examine revenue from timber and other sources, factors such as export and other regulations, market trends, and management costs.
  • Summarize and evaluate previous WA DNR trust land valuation, including a discussion of the legal requirements for trust land investment and the relationship between state general capital funds and capital funds available for acquisition of trust lands.
  • Assess expected rate of return from state granted lands, describing methodologies and indicators, and recommend appropriate measurement of investment returns from granted lands.

Final Proposal

Timber Supply
Economic Contribution
Competitive Position
Land Conversion
State Granted Lands ROI

For answers to questions contact Brian Boyle and Bob Edmonds

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences
USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry
WSU Cooperative Extension
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Last Updated 10/13/2022 12:34:08 PM