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Oregon Forest Facts & Figures | OFRI Forest Facts & Figures

Forest Facts
2023-24 Edition


Oregon Forest Facts tells the story of Oregon’s forests through data, charts and graphs. It fills a need for accurate and current information about Oregon’s forests in an easy-to-access format.


Ownership >

Forestland Ownership >

Forestland Ownership


Nearly half of Oregon is forestland. Oregon forests vary by species composition and ownership. There are more than 30 distinct forest types, but Douglas-fir dominates in western Oregon, ponderosa pine in eastern Oregon, and mixed conifers in southwest Oregon. In terms of ownership, the federal government manages 61% of Oregon forests; private owners manage 34%; state and county governments manage 4%; and Native American tribes manage 2%.


Oregon’s forests are managed to reflect the varied objectives and practices of a diverse array of landowners. These include the federal government, which owns the largest portion of Oregon’s forestland, as well as state, county and municipal governments, private timber companies, nonprofits, tribes and small woodland owners, each with a range of goals for their land. Some forests are managed primarily for timber production, while others are set aside as parks, wilderness areas or reserves to protect old-growth, riparian or endangered species habitat. Many Oregon forest landowners try to find a balance between environmental and economic values, managing their forests for multiple uses including recreation, water, wildlife habitat, wildfire mitigation and timber.



While the federal government manages most of the forestland in Oregon, only a relatively small portion of Oregon’s timber harvest happens on federal land, and most of that is from thinning. About 76% of the total state harvest comes from private timberlands.


Oregon forest landowners may choose to gain recognition from independent, third-party forest sustainability certification systems by meeting certain standards for sustainable forest management.

America’s three largest certification systems are the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Forest certification may give wood product consumers, architects, engineers and builders an added level of assurance that the products used in their construction projects were produced using responsible and sustainable forestry practices.


& Production >

Harvest & Production >

Harvest & Production


Timber harvest levels from public and private forestlands over the past 20 years have remained relatively stable, although the Great Recession (2007-09) and the collapse of the housing market brought a severe contraction in the U.S. demand for lumber. Consequently, Oregon’s timber harvest reached a modern-era low in 2009, the smallest harvest since the Great Depression in 1934. By 2013, the harvest had rebounded to roughly pre-recession levels.

In the five most recent years where data is available (2017-2021), Oregon timber harvest averaged around 3.8 billion board feet. The 2020 Labor Day fires led to a short-term increase in timber harvest due to post-fire salvage logging on private land. However, long-term annual timber harvest is expected to decrease between 100 and 250 million board feet per year from 2026 to 2065 due to loss of future growth on trees killed by wildfires in 2020.


Oregon forests grow about 2.8 billion cubic feet of new wood per year. Overall, about 39% is harvested, 25% ends up in trees that die from natural causes, and 36% adds to the volume of standing timber.

On private forestland, where most timber harvest happens in the state, the amount of wood harvested each year is about 77% of the annual timber growth. About 11% of that growth is offset by trees that die from causes such as fire, insects and disease.

On federal lands, only about 8% of the annual timber growth is harvested each year. The amount of timber that dies offsets annual growth by 36%. The remainder of the growth, a net change of 56%, adds to the volume of standing timber in those forests.

On many federal forests in eastern and south-central Oregon, high growth combined with high mortality has created unusually dense forests with stressed trees that are more prone to insect infestation, disease and uncharacteristically severe fire. Much work has been done in recent years to reduce the number of trees and to clean up dead wood on federal forests, by thinning and other fuels reduction treatments such as prescribed burning.


Oregon has led the nation for many years in producing softwood lumber and plywood typically used for homebuilding. Oregon’s lumber output of 6.1 billion board feet in 2021 accounted for about 16.5% of total U.S. production, while Oregon plywood mills accounted for about 28% of total U.S. plywood production in 2021.


Oregon is also a leader in producing value-added engineered wood products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), glue-laminated timber (glulam) and mass plywood panels (MPP).


Water >

Water >



Clean water is crucial to all Oregonians. Most of Oregon’s municipal water originates in forested watersheds, including those managed for wood production. The cleaner the source water stays, the less treatment and filtration it will need as it is prepared for human consumption, and the better fish and amphibian habitat it creates.

Loggers and forestland owners are required to leave areas of uncut trees and vegetation along the borders of streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. This rule is most stringent for waterways where fish are present, and those that are sources of drinking water. These areas are called “riparian management areas,” “RMAs,” or simply “stream buffers.” Within these buffers, timber harvesting is either prohibited or severely restricted.


The width of required stream buffers was expanded in 2022, the result of legislation following agreements reached during the Private Forest Accord negotiations between representatives from the timber industry and major conservation groups. Protective buffers along fish-bearing streams were increased overall, and range from 75 to 110 feet in width, depending on the size of the stream and whether it contains certain species of fish. The goal of the newly expanded stream buffers was to increase and improve habitat for native Oregon fish, as well as four species of amphibians and one frog.

The Oregon Legislature also passed a law in 2022 that requires stream buffers for some ephemeral headwater streams. These are streams that are seasonal, or sometimes present during significant rainfall, but are dry at other times of the year.

The width of the required no-cut buffers varies by stream size and location. The buffer requirements also vary between western and eastern Oregon, as seen below:


Laws >

Laws >



In 1971, Oregon became the first state to pass a comprehensive law to regulate forest practices and safeguard water, fish and wildlife habitat, soil and air. The rules of the Oregon Forest Practices Act are continually reviewed and updated to keep pace with the most current scientific research.

The rules most recently changed in 2022, in response to the Private Forest Accord agreement between the timber industry and conservation groups. Some of those new rules are included below.


  • Reforestation: Landowners must complete replanting within two years after a timber harvest, with at least 200 tree seedlings per acre. Within six years, the harvest area must contain healthy trees that can outgrow competing grass and brush on their own.
  • Water and stream protection: Timber harvesting, road building and the use of chemicals are restricted close to streams, to protect fish and safeguard the source of much of Oregon’s drinking water. In 2022, protective buffers along streams where logging is prohibited were expanded. New standards were added for fish-bearing-stream culvert sizes and culvert installation procedures, and some road building rules were modified to focus on minimizing sediment in streams.
  • Wildlife habitat protection: Live trees, standing dead trees (snags) and fallen logs must be left after a timber harvest, to provide wildlife habitat.
  • Limits on clearcutting: Clearcuts cannot exceed 120 acres within a single ownership, including the combined acreage of any clearcuts within 300 feet of each other.
  • Steep slopes: In 2022, the Oregon Legislature passed new rules related to logging on steep slopes, such as retaining trees in certain areas, with the intention to provide high-quality habitat to support long-term conservation of stream habitats.
  • Chemical application: Forest protection laws limit the use of chemicals. Foresters must follow a variety of state and federal regulations when using herbicides.



The Private Forest Accord is a collaborative agreement made between representatives from Oregon’s timber industry, the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, and prominent conservation and fishing organizations, to modify portions of Oregon’s forest practice laws and regulations in a way that expands protections for fish and amphibians.

The changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act include increasing the size of protective buffers where logging is prohibited along streams, new standards for fish-bearing-stream culvert sizes and culvert installation procedures, and new rules for logging on steep slopes. 


Changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act should allow Oregon to receive federal approval for a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for private forestlands. A Habitat Conservation Plan is intended to provide long-term conservation benefits to designated wildlife species while also providing regulatory assurance and minimizing legal risks to landowners so they may continue sustainable management of their land while supporting species survival.


Employment >

Employment >



Oregon’s forest sector includes a wide variety of employment, from forestry, logging, millwork and cabinetmaking to engineering, hydrology, business management and academic research. Here’s a rundown of Oregon’s forest sector jobs in 2021, by type of employment.


Tens of thousands of Oregonians are employed across a variety of forest-related jobs, from forestry, logging, millwork and cabinetmaking to engineering, hydrology, business management and academic research. These forest professionals help care for our forests, conserve fish and wildlife habitat, protect water, sustain forests for future generations, and make innovative forest products.

About 3% of Oregon jobs 8 are part of what is known as the “forest sector.” The sector encompasses a diverse array of career paths that include firefighters, ecologists, foresters, wildlife and fish biologists, and more. Forest sector jobs are present in each of Oregon’s 36 counties. In some rural counties, the sector is responsible for nearly a third of the economic base.

Like other industries, Oregon’s forest sector has been affected in recent years by a statewide labor shortage. The forest sector is looking at several opportunities to improve the forestry workforce, such as by providing forest operator training programs.

Forest-related employment in Oregon totaled 61,970 jobs in Oregon in 2021, according to the Oregon Employment Department. This is about 3% of the total jobs in Oregon. However, in five rural Oregon counties — Crook, Douglas, Grant, Jefferson and Lake — forest sector jobs accounted for more than 10% of the total.

The average annual wage of those jobs was $68,200, roughly 7% percent more than the average wage of $64,000 for all Oregon employment. In some Oregon counties, especially rural ones, forest sector jobs have significantly higher-than-average wages. Forest sector wages in Clatsop County, for instance, are 71% higher than the county average.

2023-24 Edition Forest Facts

Oregon Forest Facts:
2023-24 Edition

Information in this website comes from OFRI’s bi-annual Oregon Forest Facts booklet, presenting data about Oregon’s forests and forest products industry. Download or order a copy for additional information.

About Oregon Forest Resources Institute

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) supports and enhances Oregon’s forest products industry by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products.

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