Oregon Forest Practices Act

All “operations” on forested land are regulated by the Oregon Forest Practices Act (FPA), unless existing county forest land regulations meet or exceed the protections required by the state law.

Very briefly, the requirements and intentions of the Oregon Forest Practices Act are:

Planning / Notification

Operators must notify the Oregon Department of Forestry at least 15 days before starting operations to allow time for cooperative discussion before activities begin.


If tree stocking is below rule standards after harvesting, landowners must plant trees within two years and have a healthy, freely growing stand by the sixth year.

Slash Treatment

The forest practices rules allow burning and other valuable management tools as long as soil, air, and water are protected.

Chemical Application

The rules recognize that fertilizers and pesticides are valuable management tools, if soil, air, and water are protected.

Landslides & Public Safety

Harvesting and road construction on steep slopes above homes or roads are regulated to minimize the risk of landslides to public safety.

Road Construction & Maintenance

The forest practices rules recognize the necessity for a well-designed and maintained road system; soils and water quality must be protected.


The forest practices rules recognize timber harvesting as an important practice. Soils, wildlife habitat, and water quality must be protected.

Water Protection

Forest practices rules require tree retention along many streams, wetlands, and lakes. Operators must protect soils, fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality.

Wildlife Sites

Operators must time operations and retain trees near specific wildlife sites to protect those sites and avoid excessive disturbance of specified wildlife species.

Scenic Highways Program

Operators must retain a screen of trees along certain state and federal highways. Foresters with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Scenic Highway Program are your best resource for understanding how forest regulations may apply to your situation.

Further Reading

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute has published an excellent guide to the Oregon Forest Practices Act, available to order online called “Oregon’s Forest Protection Laws: An Illustrated Manual – Second Edition.” It is also available from the offices of the Department of Forestry, OSU Extension Offices and in some libraries.

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