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Douglas-Fir

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The unmistakable 3" cone
of the Douglas-fir. Note the "pitchfork-shaped" bracts emerging between the scales.

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1" blunt-tipped needles
form a "bottle-brush" shape around the twig and show two faint white stripes on the underside of the needles.

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Old-growth tree in the proposed Douglas-fir
National Monument.


The Douglas-fir is the state tree of Oregon and the second tallest tree species in the world, behind only the coastal redwood. It can grow to over 300 feet tall and up to 10-feet in diameter (far too large for one person to hug!) They can live for over 500 years, and the oldest known tree was 1,400 years old. Douglas-firs and other tree species in Crabtree Valley and the Millennium Grove are believed to be nearly 1,000 years old.

In the era of climate change, old-growth forests make a major contribution to carbon sequestration, safely storing what was atmospheric carbon dioxide in the wood and soils.

As the most common tree species in Oregon, it serves as the signature old-growth species in the proposed Douglas-fir National Monument. There it supports not only the threatened northern spotted owl and one of its primary food sources—the red tree vole—but many other animals.  Elk and black-tailed deer use old-growth for winter cover and will browse on its understory foliage in the winter when other forage is lacking; black bears are known to hibernate in the rotted-out cavities at the base of older Doug-firs.

Porcupines eat the inner bark of younger Douglas-firs; seeds are very important food for mice, voles, shrews and chipmunks; the Douglas ground squirrel caches cones for use throughout the winter.

Any number of birds eat the seeds of Douglas-fir -including dark-eyed junco, song, white-crowned and golden-crowned sparrows, pine siskin, purple finch and red crossbills.

The proposed Douglas-fir National Monument contains vast stretches of Douglas-fir and numerous small stands of old-growth. Our mission is to restore the area to the fully natural functioning forest it once was.

Read more on the Old-growth Forests Page


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