Forest Understory Vegetation Enhancement Project

person kneeling on forest floor counting seedlings


In the temperate rainforests of western Oregon, diversity is key to high quality wildlife habitat. Wildlife need diverse food sources such as berries, leaves, nuts, and seeds and they thrive in forests that have a healthy forest floor, or understory, where much of the food and shelter is found.

Woodland owners in our area manage their forests with several objectives in mind, including keeping invasive weed species under control and providing ample wildlife habitat for a variety of species. Whether your goal is planting a shade tolerant shrub or spreading native seeds that will grow into the next forest wildflowers, it’s important to consider how to establish the plant and shrub layer of the forest to enhance native habitat.

Between 2018 and 2020, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District set out to gather new information on ways to manage the shrub layer and forest floor with a goal of reducing invasive plants and increasing and protecting diverse, native plants. We studied ways to seed understory vegetation and plant understory shrubs, and also looked at soil conditions to learn what impact soil health might have on seedling success.

Learn more about the project and findings from the study:

Healthy Forest Understory Vegetation and Soil: A Guide for Soil Conservationists and Small Forest Managers

Understory Forest Monitoring: A Guide for Small Forest Managers

Forest Understory Vegetation Enhancement Project Final Technical Report

Related articles:

Monitoring Understory Seeding Project Plots

Understory Seeding Project Update

Tree School 2021 presentation: