About Us

Oregon will have healthy, diverse, and resilient forest and related natural resources to support both Oregon’s resource-dependent industries and citizen needs for energy and ecosystem services.

Oregon State University’s Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Program strives to be the state’s leading provider of research-based knowledge and problem-solving educational programs designed to foster new ways to manage and use Oregon’s forest resources wisely.

This two-minute overview of the Extension Forestry and Natural Resources Program is narrated by Extension Forestry Agent Glenn Ahrens and Master Woodland Manager volunteer Mike Matthews. The video illustrates how Extension teaches best practices that enhance the soil, air and water quality, and how the program is important to family and community success.

Strategic Work Areas

Enhancing the Competitiveness of Oregon's Forest Enterprises

Natural resource enterprises are increasingly critical to rural and urban economies. Growth in new businesses and employment will be in the value-added sector for industry and these enterprises are usually located near the markets - in urban areas. The forest sector contributes $12.8 billion to Oregon's total industrial output, the largest contributor from the natural resource sectors. Wood processing industries provide 75,000 direct living-wage jobs and contribute $2.8 billion in wages. Timber harvests from private and family forests comprise an increasing percent of Oregon’s total annual timber harvest from all production sectors. Taxation and other policies change and will continue to change over time. Family forest owners will need Extension’s help in keeping current with these changes. Forest owners often do not have access to markets for their timber and non-timber forest products. Competition from other countries with low wages, and less stringent or non-existent forest practices laws, safety laws, and environmental laws make it difficult for Oregon businesses to compete. Competition from non-wood substitutes will increase even though wood is often the best economical and environmental choice.

Productivity and profitability of forest products industries and landowners will be enhanced through increased operational efficiency and profit, increased family-wage employment, a more robust value-added forest products sector, an increase in acres of well-stocked forests with appropriate species, and/or an increased volume of small-diameter timber used for products.

Indicators of Successful Achievement of this Outcome:

  • Number of Educational Classes and Workshops
  • Number of Recurring Newsletters Published
  • Number of Web Sites Maintained
  • Number of testing and development projects
  • Value of shipments
  • Amount of labor per unit produced
  • Oregon state employment data
  • Self reporting of efficiency increases (profit can be a measure) by target businesses
  • Change in dollar value of shipments of forest products
  • Change in number of employees per unit processed
  • Change in profit or cost per forest industry
  • Change in number of new forest enterprises
  • Change in number of acres thinned of small-diameter timber
  • Change in volume of small-diameter timber being used by forest industry
  • Increase in sales of employment attributed to new projects/markets developed as a result of assistance from the Oregon Wood Innovation Center
  • Change in company behavior based on interaction with the Oregon Wood Innovation Center

Sustaining Natural Resources


  • 28 million acres of Oregon's 62 million acres are classified as forestland. 38 percent of Oregon's forestland is privately owned. 16% is owned by non-industrial private landowners - often family forest owners. Owners of small family forests do not usually have the education or training to understand how to manage their woodlands to meet their objectives.
  • Fire suppression has allowed the growth of unnaturally dense understory vegetation in Oregon's forests. 39 percent of Oregon forestlands are at high risk and about 45 percent are classified as moderate risk for intense fires.
  • Many of the acres at risk for intense fires are also infested by insects and disease.
  • Due to changing ownership patterns, new landowners often have little or no knowledge to help them decide how to manage their lands to meet their objectives.
  • Current forest landowners need information that can help them manage to meet their objectives.
  • Conversion of land use to residential or commercial uses continues, especially around urban areas and in certain regions in the state, such as the coast.

Long-term stewardship of Oregon's forest resources will lead to healthy and well managed forest ecosystems through a greater economic contribution of forestry sector to Oregon, increased profitability of land ownership and management, increased number of acres managed under a systematic plan, reduced number and significance of environmental catastrophes, more informed stewardship applied to forest landscapes, and/or stable and committed population of forest landowners. Forest owners and managers will be equipped to cope with the effects of a changing climate, and benefit financially from ecosystem services markets such as carbon.

Indicators of Successful Achievement of this Outcome:

  • Volume of timber harvest
  • Number of acres of small diameter timber harvest
  • Value of small diameter timber relative to harvesting cost
  • Number of acres under a forest management plan
  • Riparian management activities
  • Salmon population
  • Number of acres at high or moderate risk to burn and number of acres infested with insects and/or disease
  • Numbers of educational events conducted for forestland owners
  • Number of forest owners and managers trained to develop forest stewardship plans.
  • Number of direct contacts who increased knowledge of the benefits and opportunities of forest stewardship practices.
  • Number of forest stewardship plans developed.
  • Number of forest owners who implemented at least one new forest stewardship practice.
  • Number of acres on which forest management was improved under new forest stewardship practices.

Public Engagement for Planning Oregon's Forestry Future


  • Thirty percent of Oregonians live in one city, Portland. Seventy-three percent live in urban areas. Many Oregonians, especially those in urban areas, are uninformed about everyone’s interdependence on natural resources. All of us live in a watershed and all of us depend on products derived from natural resources.
  • Public policy in Oregon is increasingly being made by referendum and the public needs to be well informed to help them make informed decisions.
  • Most of Oregon’s youth live in urban areas. We need to develop youths' critical thinking skills about conservation and choices concerning natural resources and the environment.
  • Social needs include varied, and often conflicting, activities ranging from no activity to intense management for fiber, wildlife or recreation. Often, the public does not have the information necessary to judge the consequences of choosing one alternative over others.
  • The United States has about 5 percent of the world population but uses about 1/3 of the world's industrial wood.

The public will better understand issues related to forestry in Oregon leading to a more engaged public.

Indicators of Successful Achievement of this Outcome:

  • Public will be able to make more informed decisions about the value of natural resources and their uses
  • Individual households will improve their economic welfare by practicing intelligent consumption
  • Development and enhancement of sustainable industries
  • Reduced use of all types of consumables per capita
  • Improved condition of natural resources
  • More informed and representative policy
  • More informed citizenry on natural resource public policy
  • Reduced community conflict public and more informed decision-making processes