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Conifer Encroachment Is a Concern
Native Conifers Outcompeting Oaks in the Northwest


When natural wildfires in forests are stifled, encroachment of the undergrowth can lead to disastrous, and sometimes unexpected, effects.

Many forests of the Pacific Northwest are under attack by trees that have always been there! What is happening is deciduous oak trees are being beat out, in a sense, by a variety of conifer trees because wildfires are being stifled.

Deciduous oak trees rely on small brush fires to clear the undergrowth on the ground and when people put out these fires it allows the faster growing conifer trees to consume the canopy floor and eventually take over a forest.

The new growth conifer trees often reach heights much taller than native oak trees, effectively blocking out the sunlight. Normally, these new conifer trees would not be able to withstand a natural wildfire, and would inherently die off.

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August 23, 2019, 1:39 pm PDT

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