Forest Conservation


What we do

Western Multnomah County offers a bounty of lush native forest land. These forests support a wide array of wildlife and plants, keep our streams flowing strong and cool, support our economy with locally-sourced forest products, improve air quality, and offset climate change by storing carbon and cooling the air.

Our services help you with forest stewardship planning, tree thinningTree thinning Also called “selective harvest,” this is the practice of removing some but not all trees in a forested area., wildfire risk reduction, habitat conservation and several other helpful resources.

On this page:

    Forest stewardship planning

    We can help:


    Contact Forest Conservationist Laura Taylor about designing a plan for your forest. 


    A forest stewardship plan is a document we develop in collaboration with you that describes your goals for the forest, its current condition, and recommendations for long-term care. The plan will detail the trees, soil, plants, wildlife, and water that you currently have on your property, and how to care for them. The planning process will help you imagine how you want your forest or woodland to look in 5, 25, or 50 years.

    As our climate becomes more unpredictable, we can help you tend to your forest so that it is more resilient—more able to survive or recover from threats such as droughtDrought A longer than normal time with not enough rain, heatwaves, fire, storms, and outbreaks from pests and disease.

    We can provide strategies that you can use in your forest to increase its health and resiliency. We will help you learn how you can enhance biodiversity, connectivityConnectivity the degree to which patches of landscape are connected, either helping or impeding animal movement and other ecological processes like the flow of water or dispersal of seeds, soil health, and carbon sequestration to give your forest—and our broader environment—a better chance at maintaining health and resiliency into the future.

    Having a forest stewardship plan in place is the first step to accessing our other Forest Conservation services and those of our federal partners at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It can also help forested properties be eligible for forest tax deferral.

    Properties with 5 acres or more of forested land are eligible for help with a forest stewardship plan.

    Tree thinning

    Learn more:


    The goal for many tree thinning projects is to reduce competition for sunlight and nutrients and provide more space for the remaining trees to grow. Growing larger trees more quickly can enhance habitat for wildlife that nest and feed in bigger trees. Also, trees that are growing vigorously are often healthier and more resistant to drought, disease, insect pests, and even wildfire damage. Tree thinning combined with planting new trees and understoryUnderstory The area under and around trees plants also increases the biodiversity of the forest which further supports forest health and resiliency.

    When to thin?

    • If some tree crowns are smaller than others

    • If the understory is heavily shaded and there are few shrubs, ferns, or wildflowers

    • Measure tree spacing and tree diameters to gather more data to support a decision on thinning. We can help complete these measurements as part of a forest stewardship plan.

    • We can help design and implement tree thinning, invasive weed management, and tree and understory planting for those who have completed a forest stewardship plan. These projects may also be eligible for financial assistance.

    There is very little ground vegetation in this densely forested area, pictured at left. A thinning project will allow more light to the forest floor where wildflowers and shrubs could grow as shown on the right.

    On the west side of the Cascade Range, we’re unaccustomed to wildfires in our “backyards” despite their historic presence on the landscape. Fires in this relatively wetter part of the state historically occur every 150-500 years, compared to the dry east side of the state where fires can happen naturally every 2-50 years.

    With changing weather patterns and longer and more intense wildfire seasons, it’s time for our communities to become better adapted to wildfire risk.

    Learn how to prepare your family and home for wildfire.

    home in background with open green space and three trees in foreground

    How to prepare your family and home for wildfire

    If you see something that could present a wildfire risk, call your local Fire & Rescue. Call 911 if you’ve see an active fire emergency.

    FireWise communities

    See how Forest Park neighbors are reducing wildfire risk

    woman in brown sweater standing in forest with cleared ground in front of her

    Forest Park neighbors join against ivy and wildfire risk

    Forest conservation easements

    A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that protects natural areas such as forests on your land for the long term. This ensures that even if you or your family no longer own the land, the forest will be protected and managed according to the conservation goals you established.

    We are partnering with the Forest Park Conservancy to develop conservation easements on properties that demonstrate a high level of conservation value in the Greater Forest Park Conservation Initiative area.

    We can help you develop a forest stewardship plan outlining your long-term conservation goals and a strategy for helping the forest move toward those goals. This forest stewardship plan then provides the Forest Park Conservancy with the information they need to develop of a conservation easement for your property. Learn more about the Forest Park Conservancy conservation program.

    We provide support

    Find out if you're in our service area.

    Forest conservation resources

    Staff contact

    Laura Taylor

    Forest Conservationist

    Contact me about:

    Forest and woodland health; Wildfire risk in rural forests; Plants; Pollinators.
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