Forest Classification

Introduction

What lands are classified as *“forestland” is important because that determines where within the district the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has  fire protection responsibilities.  That is relevant to landowners because 1. Lands classified as “forestland” within the boundary receive protection through ODF, and 2. Lands classified as forestland are assessed for fire protection.  

Since its inception in the 1930’s, Oregon’s forest land classification system has evolved in response to changes in land uses and markets, as well as social and political pressures and events.  Discussions of where ODF should be providing wildfire protection and where it should not, and who should pay for this protection, have been going on for decades.  These issues have come to the fore in recent decades as rapid expansion and development of Wildland

Classification of lands as *“forestland” essentially determines where within the District the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has  fire protection responsibilities.  Lands classified as “forestland” within the boundary receive protection from ODF, and are assessed for fire protection.   

The review is being conducted by a County Forestland Classification Committee, as authorized under Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 526, and the West Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). 

The primary mission of the ODF Fire Protection Division is to protect forest resources, second only to protecting human lives. However, ODF’s forest protection role in the law is not strictly to protect trees. 

ORS Chapter 477.001: “Forestland” means any woodland, brush land, timberland, grazing land or clearing that, during any time of the year, contains enough forest growth, slashing or vegetation to constitute, in the judgment of the forester, a fire hazard, regardless of how the land is zoned or taxed.