Starker Forests takes sustainability seriously. Our forestland is tended with the future in mind and we grow more than we harvest. Our nearly 90,000 acres of forestlands are managed with the vision that the land will grow forests forever. Our forests include a wide variety of ages. As stewards for actively managed, working forests, we do not manage our forests/timberlands to become old growth. It is our objective to harvest as much as we grow in the future.
All of our acres of forest land in Western Oregon are carefully managed by our team of highly trained foresters to provide high-quality timber products and ecosystem services for the benefit of human and ecological communities. Our ownership is managed in accordance with Best Management Practices and the best available science. Key to the maintenance of healthy and productive forests is our continual collaboration with forest scientists and ecologists at Oregon State University. We place a high value on education and continually improving our practices, believing that education is the ultimate solution to numerous social and ecological problems facing our world.
Managing forests in changing climates and economies can be a daunting task. The active management of our forests reflects the unique ecology of forests west of the Cascade Mountains. The majority of our forests are managed on an even-aged system, where the primary species, Douglas-fir, is harvested in clearcuts. Clearcuts mimic the natural disturbance of forests in a region which has been historically characterized by large and severe wildfires.
Although many view clearcuts as unsightly scars on the landscape, this period in the long-term forest lifecycle boasts the most biodiversity and provides a mosaic landscape important for foraging ungulates, small rodents, birds of prey and other members of critical food webs. That said, we strive to keep our clearcuts smaller than industry average and well below legal requirements to better control the transition of our forest stands. Each year, our harvested stands are replanted with 500,000 to 600,000 seedlings and include a range of endemic, non-GMO conifers and hardwood trees such as Douglas-fir, Oregon white oak, western redcedar, western hemlock, ponderosa pine, Oregon ash and grand fir. Additionally, our reforestation silviculturists are looking ahead to changing climates by assisting in the northward migration of redwood trees.
Healthy forests and the harvest of wood products will play an essential role in curbing climate change. Through the miracle of photosynthesis, trees, snags and downed logs serve to sequester and store carbon dioxide for long periods of time. Even after harvest, the carbon stored in wood products can last for centuries when properly maintained. As a renewable resource capable of carbon storage, wood products offer a more sustainable alternative than materials such as concrete and steel for residential and commercial construction.
The soils of Western Oregon are rich in nitrogen and many other macro- and micro-nutrients, which contribute to growing some of the most productive forests in the world. Like trees, soil also stores carbon for long periods of time and its conservation is critical to not only controlling greenhouse gas emissions, but in maintaining productive forest ecosystems. Our professional operators are trained to mitigate soil disturbance as much as possible on all sites.
Starker Forests is habitat for thousands of species of mammals, reptiles, fish and insects and we recognize the critical role that each play in complex ecosystems. Our forests are home to numerous herds of Roosevelt Elk, black-tail deer and black bear in addition to rare species, including the red tree vole and Fender’s blue butterfly. We work with a certified wildlife biologist to ensure that the way we use our forests can make a positive impact on wildlife. We also have traditionally carried out the rotation age of timber longer than our industry peers. This provides wildlife with forest cover containing greater structural complexity, and enhanced species composition.
In Oregon, the highest quality water comes directly from forestlands. Modern forest management is different from the past. Today’s methods use cable logging systems to pull logs to roads on the top of the ridge, away from streams and wet areas. Advancements in logging systems and road construction and maintenance have greatly helped to minimize erosion and keep water in our watersheds clean. Starker Forests form the watersheds of hundreds of streams from unnamed creeks to the popular Marys and Alsea Rivers. We recognize the great importance of clean water to human and ecological communities and we strive to both maintain and improve stream health. We work to mitigate the effects of active forest management operations on streams by following established BMPs. Whether harvesting timber or spraying herbicides for vegetation management, buffers are always placed around streams to minimize impact.
Starker Forests is certified by the American Tree Farm System. This means we are committed to “getting more good forestry on more acres, and keeping it there” by following sustainable forest management practices and technique.
ATFS certification is done by a third-party auditor who validates and recognizes owners are committed to doing their best for their land and managing the forests for long-term health.
All certified family forest owners have a management plan that addresses air, water, soil quality, wildlife, special sites, invasive species and integrated pest management. Properties are inspected by ATFS trained foresters to ensure that land management activities are up to standards and forest owners are held accountable.
We are proud to make our forests available to the public through our free permitting system. We have long provided local citizens with places to recreate and enjoy the natural beauty of Western Oregon. We take great pride in all phases of our forest management and welcome you to visit our diverse stands on foot, bike or horse and share with us your impression of our management choices.