The FPA and associated rules apply to activities that are part of the commercial growing and harvesting of forest trees. Most forest practices fall into one of the following general categories:
- Road construction and maintenance
- Site preparation by treating slash
- Use of pesticides or fertilizers
Before conducting an operation or forest practice, landowners and operators need to inform the Oregon Department of Forestry of their planned operation by completing a Notification of Operation.
- Notifications must be submitted at least 15 days prior to the start of the operation.
- Failure to file is violation under the Forest Practices Act and Rules.
- A Notification of Operation can be filed electronically via E-Notification.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 605 for more information.
Well-designed and maintained road systems are a necessity for safe timber operations. Landowners are encouraged to consider water and fish protection when planning, siting, and constructing roads.
- The location, construction, maintenance, use, and drainage of forest roads must prevent sediment from getting into streams. Rules encourage roads to be built way from streams.
- The number and times a road crosses a stream must be minimized. Where crossings do occur, use bridges and culverts to allow for fish passage.
- Log trucks may not use some forest roads during wet weather.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 625 for more information.
Timber harvesting is an integral part of forest management and important to Oregon's economy. The forest practices harvesting rules establish standards for forest practices that will maintain the productivity of forestland, minimize soil and debris entering waters of the state, and protect wildlife and fish habitat.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 630 for more information.
A large portion of the FPA rules are aimed at the protection of water sources.Regulations require landowners to leave forested buffers and other vegetation along streams, wetlands, and lakes to protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.
- Timber harvesting, road building, and chemical use are restricted near streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
- Trees and other vegetation must be left along streams in which fish live. Stream buffers provide the following benefits:
- Shade, helping keep the water cool
- Good fish habitat, as logs that fall across or into the stream provide pools of slow water and hiding places for young fish
- Nutrient input in the form of leaf litter fall -- important to the food web
- The location, construction, maintenance, and use of roads to assure should ensure that muddy water is not delivered into forest streams from roads or ditches.
- Roads should be built away from streams. However where a new or improved road must cross a stream, it must not block fish passage. Typically, either a bridge or a properly size culvert will be installed.
- Spraying pesticides and herbicides near streams is prohibited where they might kill vegetation along the banks, get into the water, or harm insects and fish. Spraying must always follow stringent state and federal rules concerning careful application.
- Heavy log truck use on forest roads during storms or other extremely wet weather is carefully managed—or curtailed—to ensure that the roads do not create muddy water that enters fish streams.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Divisions 635, 640, 645, 650, 655, and 660 for more information.
Woodland owners provide key habitats for Oregon´s wildlife and fish. Often landowner objectives include enhancing and protecting fish and wildlife habitat. These goals are commonly integrated with other management objectives such as healthy forests and recreation.
- Operations must be timed to avoid excessive disturbance to certain wildlife species.
- Operators must leave at least two standing live trees or snags per acre of harvest. These retained trees or snags should be at least 30 feet tall and 11 inches in diameter. These provide important nesting sites and habitat for bids, bats, squirrels, and many other animals.
- Operators must leave at least two logs per acre on the ground, each at least 10 cubic feet. This downed wood is important to amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and insects, as well as plants and fungi.
- If sensitive wildlife sites are present in a proposed harvest area, harvest activities may have to be modified to protect these sites. Sensitive sites include areas actively used by bald eagles, osprey, northern spotted owl and other species identified as sensitive, threatened, or endangered.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 665 for more information.
Road side buffers enhance the appearance of Oregon's roadways. Specific requirements are in place for designated scenic highways.
- Operators must retain a screen of trees along certain state and federal highways. The Oregon Department of Transportation may make exceptions to this rule for highway safety.
- Major debris from harvest must be removed quickly from roadways.
- Replanting of a harvest site along designated scenic highway must occur within one year of harvest, rather than the usual two years.
See Oregon Revised Statute 527.755 for more information.
Timber harvesting and road construction can increase the likelihood of landslide occurrences. It is important that the risk of landslides in minimized to protect public safety and reduce negative impacts to streams from excess sediment that can affect fish habitat.
- Harvesting and road construction on steep slopes above homes or roads are regulated to minimize the risk of landslides to public safety.
- Trees may be required to be left near some smaller stream channels. If a landslide occurs these trees can reduce the amount of sediment that enters a steam and, if carried downstream, will create large wood in the stream channel to help improve fish habitat.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 623 for more information.
The forest practice rules allows slash treatment and burning for site preparation as long as soil, air, and water are protected. Following a harvest, slash (or tree tops, limbs, and defective wood) is often left on site and may require treatment to make the site ready for successful reforestation (site preparation), to reduce wildfire hazards, or both. Piling, burning, and chipping are examples of slash treatments and may be done in combination with site preparation or separately.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 615 for more information.
Reforestation goes hand in hand with timber harvest planning. Reforestation rules are intended to make sure new trees are replanted and successfully growing after an area is harvested.
- Landowners must complete replanting of harvested ground within two years of a harvest.
- Within six years of harvest, the young trees must be "free-to-grow", meaning they are vigorous, well-distributed, and ready to grow into successfully into a young forest.
- Depending on site productivity, a minimum of 100 to 200 trees per acre must survive following replanting.
- A landowner may be required to replant additional seedlings to ensure a sufficient number of trees per acre following selective harvest or thinning.
See the Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 610 for more information.
The forest practice rules recognize that chemicals including, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, are valuable management tools in controlling unwanted vegetation and forest pests. There are restrictions to where and how these chemicals are applied to protect water quality and other natural resources on forestland.
- It is illegal to spray herbicides in or near streams where they might impact vegetation or insects which are food sources for fish.
- Aircraft must not spray within 60 feet of fish and domestic use stream
- Ground spraying requires staying at least 10 feet away from fish and domestic use streams
- Chemical may not be applied if weather might carry them offsite.
- Landowners must notify state officials of chemical use and keep daily records.
- Federal and state laws and label directions must be strictly followed.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Division (ODA) administers rules relating to applicator licensing, proper application, and pesticide labeling. Contact ODA if you think pesticides have drifted or moved across property lines and have damaged human health or property.
See Forest Practices Act Rulebook, Division 620 for more information.