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Forest Practices Act

About the Oregon Forest Practices Act (FPA)

The Oregon Forest Practices Act (FPA) sets standards for all commercial activities involving the establishment, management, or harvesting of trees on Oregon's non-federal forestlands. Oregon law gives the Board of Forestry primary responsibility to interpret the FPA and set rules for forest practices. ODF is responsible for administering and enforcing the FPA and the forest practice rules. ODF works with landowners and operators to help them comply with the requirements of the FPA. The Oregon Legislature first passed the FPA in 1971, and it was the first law of its kind in the U.S. Since that time, the act as well as the administrative rules implementing it have changed many times. Many of those changes are captured in this timeline.

In 2020, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1602 which set helicopter pesticide application requirements discussed below and required the Governor to facilitate mediated sessions between representatives of the forest industry and representatives of environmental interests. As a product of this collaborative process the 2022 Private Forest Accord Report was drafted and released by an author group comprised of representatives from those discussions. During the 2022 Legislative Session, Senate Bills 1501 and 1502 were passed making substantial changes to the Forest Practices Act and requiring the recommendations of the Private Forest Accord Report be incorporated into ODF administrative rules.

To view current or previous compilations of the FPA and Forest Practice Rules visit the ODF Laws & rules webpage.

To learn more about current FPA rulemaking efforts visit the ODF Proposed laws & rules webpage.

Forest Practices Technical Guidance

Compliance

Forest Practices Monitoring Program

The Forest Practices Monitoring Program continually reviews the effectiveness of the FPA and its rules through monitoring and research. The goals of the monitoring program are:

  • To provide scientific information for adapting regulatory policies and management practices
  • To provide education and training on the FPA rules
  • To assess whether the rules and guidance are sufficient in protecting natural resources on forestland
  • To evaluate if the FPA laws, rules, and strategies are complied with and if voluntary measures are implemented

Monitoring and research are conducted in the following areas:

  • Compliance
  • Fish passage and stream crossings
  • Forest roads
  • Storm impacts and landslides
  • Headwater protection
  • Salmon and watersheds
  • Pesticide use
  • Riparian function and structure
  • Riparian function and stream temperature
  • Shade quality
  • Stream temperature

Enforcement

View the enforcement page for more information.

Stewardship agreements

Stewardship agreements are voluntary land management agreements available to landowners under Oregon’s Forest Practices Act rules. They were established by the Oregon Legislature in their current form through House Bill 2114-B in 2007.

Under a stewardship agreement, a landowner agrees to exceed ODF regulatory requirements designed to protect natural resources, such as water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, in exchange for long-term regulatory certainty under Forest Practices Act rules.

For questions or interest in applying, email Nate Agalzoff.

Key elements

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
  • Harvesting
  • Site preparation by treating slash
  • Reforestation
  • 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 Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, 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.

​Key elements​

  • 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.

Resources

See Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 629, 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.

​Key element

  • ​Clearcuts cannot exceed 120 acres within a single ownership, including the combined acreage of any clearcuts within 300 feet of each other.

See Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, 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.

Key elements

  • 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.

Resources

V​ideos

See Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, Divisions 635, 642, 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.

Key elements

  • 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.

Resources

See Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, D​​ivision 665 for more information.​​​​​​

Road side buffers enhance the appearance of Oregon's roadways. Specific requirements are in place for designated scenic highways.

Key elements

  • 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.

​Key elements

  • 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.

Resources

See Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, 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 Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, 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.

Key elements

  • 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.

Resources

See Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, 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.

Key elements

  • It is illegal to spray herbicides in or near streams where they might impact vegetation or insects which are food sources for fish.
  • Helicopters must not spray within: 
    • 75 feet of fish- and domestic-use streams. The buffer is wider for some streams.
    • 50 feet of other streams with surface water present
    • 300 feet of a school or inhabited dwelling
    • 300 feet of a qualifying water intake
  • Ground spraying requires staying at least 10 feet away from fish and domestic use streams.
  • Chemicals​ 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.

Resources

The Oregon Department of Agriculture, Pesticides Program​ (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 ​ Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 629, Division 620 for more information.​​​​​

Effective Dec. 15, 2021, new procedures for helicopter pesticide applications and neighborly communications will start.

The Oregon Department of Forestry will provide training about how to use E-Notification to:

  • Notify for helicopter pesticide applications
  • Register to receive updates about the operations

Training videos

More information on the proposed laws and rules page.​

Videos