Union Européenne

Douglas Fir

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6 • Forestry

France Douglas does not intend to propose forestry schemes. The drafting of these is the responsibility of the Centre National de la Forêt Privée (CNPF – National Centre for Private Forest) for private forests and the Office National des Forêts (ONF- National Forest Office) for public forests. However, given the clear impact of forestry on the characteristics of forest products, France Douglas' Board of Directors adopted a certain number of Forestry Recommendations at its meeting on 17 December 2015, with a view to anticipating current developments.

The formulation of these recommendations takes place within a context marked by the development of the construction market and the need, with regard to the dynamic of the resource, to broaden Douglas Fir's market share. Although current developments in the field of construction are particularly favourable to wooden material, the latter must nevertheless be able to respond to the user's legitimate safety requirements while asserting its competitiveness compared to other materials, which presupposes an increased harmonisation of the production chain, from undressed timber to finished product.

Douglas Fir cannot avoid this rule, and all the more so because it is a material which has come onto the market recently. Its unique properties (natural durability, mechanical performance, etc.), however significant they may be, must still be very widely disseminated. It is within this context that France Douglas's Board of Directors wished, in the shared interest of each of the links in the chain making up the sector (from producer to processor), to guide foresters in producing trees which meet the technical and economic requirements of the markets.

Three main objectives

1. Reassertion of the priority objective of industrial wood production.

2. Reassertion of the intention to promote Douglas Fir's specific features: natural durability and mechanical performance in particular…

3. Need to adapt the offering to market expectations.

These three objectives presuppose that forest production objectives are mindful of the:

• Level of mechanical performance which correlates positively with maturity

• Proportion of heartwood which positively correlates, all things being equal, with the age of the tree.

• Nodosity and growth form of the tree which can downgrade its quality.

• Taper of the tree when the undressed timber is sawn, which determines the yield.

A number of recommendations result from this which are listed below:

General principles

• General case: Aim for 50-55 cm usable diameter (at 1.30 m) as part of forestry which enables the impact of branching to be minimised and the proportion of heartwood to be optimised. 

• Special case: The production of trees with a greater diameter can only be considered with the objective of accessing products with higher added value (joinery, decorative products, etc.). In this case, it is, however, advisable to ensure that the trees making up the planting are of sufficient quality (thin horizontal branches, good straightness, etc.) or that they have benefited in their young age (younger than 20 years) from an artificial pruning operation (at a minimum height of 6 m, which may ideally then be supplemented at a height of 10-12 m). This system supposes the adoption of long rotations (60 years or more) with a view to getting the most from the pruning operation.


• Harvest plantings which have already reached the usable diameter (50-55 cm at 1.30 m) – or, naturally, which have exceeded it – more especially for those whose quality is not satisfactory with regard to branching, shape etc.

• Adapt the forestry for middle-aged plantings (15-30 years): reduction in rates of removal, early elimination in the first or second thinning of all poorly shaped dominant trees, so as to control the size of the branches and increase the proportion of heartwood.

• Reforest with selected genetic material with a higher density (1500 saplings per hectare, or even more).

The recommendations are available to download from the media library.