Northwest Innovative Forestry Summit

Written by Colleen Robinson and other Summit organizers

The Pacific Northwest region forestry community benefits from a long, deep, and often underappreciated history of experimentation and innovation in the forest sector. Current challenges call us to better understand both present and past examples of forestry innovation, and to chart a course for improving sustainable forest management through partnerships and problem solving. In response to these challenges, a group of regional forestry leaders are convening a Northwest Innovative Forestry Summit. This Summit is a venue for regional learning, exchange, and ongoing cooperation to implement ecological forest management strategies. The Summit’s programs will focus on sustainable, forest-related innovation – past, present, and future. This Summit marks the beginning of an ongoing, intentional effort to connect, innovate, and uplift each other and our ideas in the realm of forests and forestry in the Northwest region of the U.S.

Three-part format

We will precede the event with featured stories online of innovation from around the region. Stores will highlight the successes, challenges, and opportunities that land managers and other forestry and natural resources professionals are engaged in across Oregon and Washington. All members of the forestry and affiliated communities are invited to contribute to the Summit by sharing their experience and questions.

During the virtual event, each day will include a series of themed presentations and discussions from 4 to 6 pm Pacific Time. Partners will share their approaches to modern ecological forestry, and breakout groups will form to discuss themes, ideas, challenges, and partnerships inspired by the topic at hand. Pulling from ancestral knowledge and projecting into future modeled scenarios, topics cover the role of fire in forests, wood products and carbon, non-timber products and first foods, and ecosystem benefits such as water quality and wildlife habitat. On the last day, we’ll touch on how the role of disturbances and multiple benefits of forests factor into innovative forestry practices. Discussions of multi-generational silviculture, the economics and alternatives in silviculture, and more, will provide a thought-space for ideas to breed.

The online stories and virtual gathering are just the beginning. We are building a community space where people can continue to share ideas, ask questions of each other, post and access resources, and engage in focused discussions on popular themes over time, and at their leisure. Guild members know well, the “spark” that can be created in this space is about connection and collaboration to make a lasting difference, to work together to find new ways of thinking, knowing, and exploring solutions. Innovation in forest management starts with inquisitive minds and hearts sharing ways to learn more and practice our work better.

Please register early to embark on this partnership with the Guild and Northwest region collaborators. If you’re interested in getting more involved ahead of the event, please email

Organizers: The Forest Stewards Guild, Northwest Natural Resource Group, Oregon State University, and University of Washington.