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Forest Health

Healthy Forest Program

We’re here to help you with your woodland! West Multnomah SWCD has staff that can help you with questions that you may have about the woods you own. Please contact Forest Conservationist Michael Ahr, 503/238-4775, ext. 109; michael (at) wmswcd.org for more information.

Conifer Forest with Native UnderstoryWildlife live in your woods

If you own a wooded property or homesite in West Multnomah County, you are providing a home to at least some wildlife. If you’re interested in talking about the quality of wildlife habitat on your property, we offer free technical advice. We may be able to provide financial assistance for projects that improve the habitat.

Weeds can kill your trees

Almost any woodland is going to have some undesirable plants, but here in Multnomah County, we have some weeds that we really need to watch out for. Invasive weeds such as English ivy, Japanese knotweed, and garlic mustard can invade your property and spread quickly. They have the potential to push many or all of the natives out of the way as they spread, and English ivy can climb health native trees and kill them by choking them of sunlight. We recommend early detection of these plants followed by a phone call to our office so that we can help you get rid of them quickly. Please see our Invasive Weeds Program page for more details on identifying these plants.

Is your forest healthy?

It’s not uncommon for a woodland owner to wonder if their trees are healthy. We often hear questions like, “Do my trees look good?” or “Does the forest seem to be doing okay?” and these are great questions. We welcome you to give us a call and request a site visit to walk the property and just check things out. We may identify some potential opportunities for enhancement on your property.

We’d like to talk to you about your property and how to take care of your woodland. Other topics that might come up include:

  • Wildfire risk reduction
  • Planting trees
  • Reducing competition between trees
  • Protecting a creek or wetland
  • Harvesting timber
  • Increasing diversity of tree species
  • Tree insects or disease
  • Accessing local markets for wood or other products (mushrooms, boughs, essential oils, others)
  • Certification
  • Local mills and other processing services
  • Countless other topics

Read about The Nature Conservancy’s Forest Restoration project at Ellsworth Creek where tree thinning is helping to save the forest.

Stewardship Plans

We encourage woodland owners to work with us to complete a stewardship plan for their property. These plans help landowners to consider what their objectives are for their land. It’s a great exercise to look ahead and think about how you want your woodland to look in 5, 25, or 50 years. A stewardship plan will detail the trees, soil, weeds, wildlife, and water resources that you currently have on your property and document the actions that you may wish to take in the future to manage these resources.


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Native Species Spotlight-Pacific ninebark

Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) is a member of the rose (Rosaceae) family and native to the Pacific Northwest. The shrub is erect, but it can spread, and typically grows 8-10 feet tall and 4-7 feet […]

Pollinator Monitoring Community Science Program

The District encourages pollinator conservation by helping residents grow vibrant pollinator habitat on their land. Read more on our Planting for Pollinators and Pacific Northwest Urban Meadowscaping pages. To help you learn more about pollinator habitat […]

Hummingbird Hill Forest Restoration Project

In 2013, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District board member Jane Hartline met Carol Canning at a gathering in Linnton.  They quickly bonded over their distaste of English ivy, in particular the ivy covering […]

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