Juniper Country: A fact-finding mission
Last week I was fortunate to be able to embark on a fact-finding mission to Eastern Oregon, with the goal of learning more about where Sustainable Northwest Wood's juniper comes from and the route it travels between the forest and our warehouse.
It was certainly an eye-opening outing: The spread of juniper is surprisingly vast, with seedlings and young trees covering many mountain slopes, from Fossil eastward.
Most of these are young trees, just a few decades old (note the bevy of baby trees in the photo above). It is easy to imagine how the landscape will be altered in the coming years, morphing from open sagebrush steppe into dense woodland, barren of the grasses and shrubs that historically hosted much of Oregon's wildlife.
How will these animals evolve to survive in such a different ecosystem in the span of just a few decades? Chances are, they won't.
This is why the work of the brave folks who are pioneering a juniper industry is so important. They are striving to show that juniper can be cut, the landscape can be restored, jobs can be created in communities that are desperate for them, and the broader marketplace will support their work by buying the wood.
We look forward to continuing our work with Oregon's juniper mills, doing our part to help develop the market for their wood, selling it at a price that allows them to grow their businesses and create conservation-based jobs, and making sure reliable standards are developed and enforced to ensure that the wood is cut in a way that minimizes or negates harm to the surrounding plant and animal community.