Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsParker, B, Bennett, M
Series TitleReducing Hazardous Fuels on Woodland Property
Document NumberEC 1573-E
Date Published08/2008
InstitutionOregon State University
CityCorvallis, OR
Keywordsextension publications and factsheets, fuels and fuel treatments

Thinning is one of the most powerful forest management tools available to landowners for achieving a wide range of goals and objectives. Thinning influences:

  • Trees’ growth rates and potential economic value
  • Which species of trees and other plants will be in the stand
  • Trees’ resistance to insects and disease
  • Quality of wildlife habitat
  • Forage production
  • The stand’s aesthetic appearance

Another, very important effect is that thinning increases a forest’s ability to survive wildfire.Thinning is:

  • Removing trees that, if left in the stand, could increase fire risk and could lessen stand vigor (for example, through overcrowding)
  • Retaining and managing trees that will best meet your long-term goals and objectives

Aggressive fire suppression over the last 100 years means many forests are much more dense than they were before European settlement. As a result, in Oregon today more than 70 percent of forests are at dangerously high risk of severe wildfire. It’s not a question of whether a fire will occur but when and how severe it will be.