Blog

Mar 10 2014

Juniper: A True Oregon product

By KC

The fabulous deck pictured at right is built out of our Restoration Juniper Decking. The homeowner chose juniper because of its beauty and durability, but also because it's a "true Oregon product," as he put it.

And it is. Juniper is grown in Oregon, and it is "made" in Oregon (harvested and milled), but as this savvy client understands, its value to our state reaches much deeper than that.

Juniper supports Oregon's economy
The communities of central and eastern Oregon have been hit hard by economic recession over the past several years.  Lumber mills that operated for decades have closed up shop, and families have had to make do with far less.

Juniper provides a solid solution to this chronic problem.  As the popularity of this wood grows, the number of individuals employed by its harvest and milling also grows; we estimate that as many as 60 people are now employed by juniper-related businesses east of the Cascades. This is approximately equivalent to 4,200 jobs in the more populous communities west of the Cascades.

Juniper supports Oregon's environment
The scrubby, fragrant juniper is native to Oregon, but in the past 150 years the environmental pressures that used to keep its population in check (specifically, rangeland wildfires) have been virtually eliminated by humans intent on preserving property and grazing livestock.

As a result, juniper's population has boomed from about 1 million acres of coverage at the turn of the 20th century to between 6 and 9 million acres today. This means millions of acres of prime sagebrush habitat are being rapidly transformed into dense woodlands, as shown above, endangering valuable species (PDF) and drying up entire streams and water holes.

The respectful harvest of juniper helps to restore historic flows of groundwater and resurrect the important sage steppe habitat. Many groups are intent on accomplishing this restoration work; Sustainable Northwest Wood is proud to offer the juniper lumber products that are the fruit of this restoration work -- and that provide the economic incentives to keep the restoration projects going.

How to use juniper
Juniper is an ideal wood for many outdoor applications due to its remarkable durability: It lasts 30+ years in ground-contact installations.

  • Garden beds and retaining walls
  • Decks and outdoor living spaces
  • Fences, arbors, and decorative barriers
  • Outdoor benches, tables, and other furniture


Check out our Restoration Juniper landscaping timbers and decking pages and other blog posts for more project ideas.