A Forester Sprouts Research (Oregon)

  • Local Projects
  • 1940

Edmund Hayes owned small woodlands and sawmills in Oregon, and was a leader in finding newly efficient and effective ways to manage timberland. He started purchasing already-cut forestland and second-growth timber. “We Grow Trees” became his company motto at a time when replanting was thought to be nature’s responsibility. By the end of Hayes’s career, putting in seedlings after cutting timber had become routine, and loggers were learning to profit from second-growth cuttings on land they would often own themselves and manage to maximize multiple uses. Today, forestry science has gone even further in finding new value and efficiencies in woodlands management, including selective logging and multiple overlapping uses of the same acreage.

Hayes eventually became a board member of Weyerhaeuser lumber company and also one of the more generous philanthropists in Oregon. He was the first chair of the Keep Oregon Green Association, a pioneering forest-fire prevention nonprofit. He funded studies of early Oregon history, medical research, libraries, and churches.

After his death, his family endowed a Hayes professorship at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry that continues today to generate fresh ideas on “silviculture alternatives.” The latest Hayes professor is using insights from the new field of complexity science to better understand the confluences of hundreds of factors that allow a forest to thrive and produce timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, and other valuable goods all at the same time. Believing that “Oregon will always need diverse and productive forests and the wood products that come from them,” the Hayes family donors have emphasized the same mix of practicality and bold new ideas that characterized the philanthropic and business career of their father.

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