Monday, April 15, 2019

Small Forest Land Ownership: Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm

Date of Visit: April 11, 2019  
Type of event: Study tour
Topic: Small Forest Land Ownership
Organization: Doneen Inc.
Location: Forest Grove, Oregon
Hosts: Anne and Richard Hanschu
International Fellows: Richard Banda (Malawi), Fen-hui Chen (Taiwan), Temitope Dauda (Nigeria), Zhongyuan Ding (China), Ana Kanoppa (Brazil), Will Maiden (United Kingdom), Romain Matile (France), Rodolfo Vieto (Costa Rica)
WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator

The International Fellows' latest study tour was to Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm, owned and operated by second-generation owners Anne and Richard Hanschu. The tree farm was established in 1956 when Anne's father purchase 212 acres. When it became time for Anne and Richard to take over the property, they retired from their previous careers as a schoolteacher and veterinarian, respectively, and relocated from Oklahoma to Oregon. According to Richard, "forestry is the best way to retire." Not having had any formal training in forestry, the Hanschus completed Oregon State University's master woodland manager extension program, which the couple credits with providing practical meaning and application to information and ideas. The Hanschus now own a total of roughly 500 acres divided across three properties, which they actively manage for"economically-minded sustainable production." In addition, Anne and Richard host group tours on their property to share with others the forest management lessons they have learned during their tenure. During our visit, the Hanschus walked us through their operations, talked about what it’s like to be a family-run and operated tree farm, and showed us the work they’ve been doing on their property.

Anne and Richard Hanschu (center), owners and operators of Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm.
Or, as Richard likes to say, "Anne is the owner and I'm her only employee."

Richard Hanschu explains the logging practice known as
a "reverse Humboldt cut" to WFI Fellows
The harvest from Little Beaver Creek is both exported internationally to Japan and China and sold domestically as construction materials, utility poles, and pulp fiber. After a clearcutting operation is completed, the Hanschus bulldoze the remaining slash, scarify the soil to increase mineral accessibility, spray herbicide to control invasive plant species, and finally plant bareroot seedlings by hand. The seedlings are free to grow on their own for the first six years, and the first thinning might occur when the trees are 25 to 30 years old. Replanting is begun within 12 months of harvest, completed within 24 months of harvest, and at a density of approximately 400 seedlings per acre. In recent years, Anne and Richard have expanded to non-timber forest products, mainly in the form of essential oils marked under the Oregon Forest Canopy brand.

Anne and Richard Hanschu describe the age distribution
of the tree stands at Little Beaver Creek Tree Farm
The Hanschus manage their land using the following guidelines:
  • Multiple-aged stands
  • Small-patch clearcuts (6-10 acres)
  • Practice cable logging, land falling, weather logging, and shovel logging
  • FSC and American Tree Farm System-certified
  • Leave snags and heritage frees as wildlife habitat
  • No logging within 100'-wide riparian buffer zone
  • Reinvest in property improvements, including road maintenance/improvement for wildfire protection and year-round accessibility to tree stands

"If your roots are planted in the right place, you will prosper."
-Richard Hanschu

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