Noble fir (Abies procera Rehder) bough harvest has been part of the nontimber forest products industry in the Pacific Northwest for decades. The boughs are used for seasonal decorations and command a higher price than most other decorative bough species. However, noble fir boughs that are harvested in the region have been merely a byproduct of noble fir plantations managed for timber products. This article presents the results of a study assessing the financial desirability of managing noble fir plantations in the southern Cascade Mountains of Washington State for the production of both timber and bough products. The Landscape Management System software program was used to simulate the growth of noble fir in four different plant associations on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Data from recently established noble fir plantations were used in the simulations. Harvestable bough weights were estimated using a previously published noble fir bough weight model. Comparisons of estimated harvest volumes for sawlogs and noble fir boughs showed positive present net worth (PNW) values for each stand under a combined timber production and bough harvest scenario and negative PNW values for each stand with a timber production management scenario only. Bough harvest is compatible with other land use activities, and the harvest revenue can cover stand establishment and precommercial thinning costs.
Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.