Thinning Your Forest for Climate Resilience


Northwest Natural Resource Group

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This free workshop is made possible with financial support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Western Extension Risk Management Education.

Stewarding a beautiful, healthy forest doesn’t have to mean locking the gate and throwing out the key. In fact, careful stewardship can help you to perpetually manage your forest in a way that improves wildlife habitat, sustains forest health, reduces risks associated with climate change, and provides long-term income opportunities through high-quality timber products.

At this free workshop on a family forest on Orcas Island, WA, professional foresters will introduce forest owners to a set of simple, hands-on strategies for increasing their forests’ resilience in the face of a warmer and drier climate.

Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the ecological risks facing the region and nearby forests due to wildfire, drought, disease, and insect infestation. There will be discussions how to evaluate the current health of a forest based on desired future conditions, when commercial or pre-commercial thinning might be appropriate, and how to select trees for thinning. Participants will learn about the equipment used in a pre-commercial or a commercial thinning, the permitting required for a timber sale, and options for utilizing woody biomass leftover from a thinning.

Driving directions provided in the confirmation email.


Instruction will be a combination of lecture, demonstration, and hands-on activities, including:

  • Expected Climate Impacts and Risks
  • Stand Assessment 101
  • Choosing climate-adapted species
  • Forest Management Goals & Options
  • Pre-Commercial versus Commercial Thinning
  • Tree Selection for Thinning
  • Economics of a Thinning
  • Funding Forest Stewardship

Participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch and water for the day. The workshop will take place entirely outdoors.

Free Site Visits

Participants can sign up for a limited number of free two-hour site visits with the speakers. During the site visit, the forester will help landowners refine plans for managing their forest and answer site-specific questions. To register for a free site visit, please email


  • Kirk Hanson | Director of Forestry | Northwest Natural Resource Group
  • Kai Hoffman-Krull | Forest Health Manager | San Juan Islands Conservation District
  • Carson Sprenger | Forester, Restoration Ecologist, Fire Ecologist | Rain Shadow Consulting
  • Pete Helsell | Landowner | Helsell Family Forest

Register Now

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