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Using Inventory Data to Define and Locate Stands of Small-Diameter Timber in the Inland West


  • Intense efforts to suppress wildfire in the western forests for the past 50 years resulted in an increase in the proportion of densely stocked, small-diameter stands. Many of these stands are under stress and may be at risk for disease, insect attack, and uncharacteristically severe fire.
  • Many estimates of the extent of the acreage and location of these stands have been made with little quantitative information to support them.
  • Identifying the extent and location of these stands is essential to understanding the problem and developing realistic management options.

Small diameter densely stocked standThe Ecologically Sustainable Production of Forest Resources (ESP) Team and PRIME Program at the PNW Station are developing methods to use forest inventory data to define and locate small-diameter, densely stocked stands. This information is important for finding ways to use the sale of wood to offset costs of large scale treatments designed to alter developmental trajectories of these stands. Selection criteria were developed from an analysis done on the Colville National Forest and expert information provided by forest managers and researchers. These criteria were applied to the available inventory database for lands in the inland west including all non-Forest Service land and National Forests in Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Work is continuing to add the remaining National Forest lands.Location of small diameter stands in western US


Preliminary findings

  • Approximately 15% of the inland west timberlands meet the selection criteria for small-diameter, dense stands.
  • About 60% of the identified stands are single story.
  • For the states where data was available for all ownerships (Idaho, Montana, and Utah), 70% of small-diameter acreage is in National Forests.

Contacts: Glenn Christensen or Bruce Hiserote, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. (503) 808-2000.