Forestry

Acres Of Opportunity

Rayonier is built upon our ability to grow and manage a healthy, abundant renewable resource: trees. We maximize yields on our more than 2.6 million acres of timberland thanks to our advanced silviculture practices, research, industry-leading tree genetics and the passion of our people deploying market driven precision silviculture.

It takes more than trees to deliver the wood products our world needs. From the decades of research behind each seed we produce, to the layers of data and expertise that go into choosing how to nurture each stand of trees, we constantly seek opportunities to do more for you with our resources. 

Research and Breeding - 0 Years

As one of America’s only public timber companies with its own research team, we place top-performing trees in designated seed-producing orchards. They're planted far apart (with about 10 times more space than our plantation pines), which gives them room to produce the maximum number of seed-bearing pine cones. Our foresters use practices like controlled pollination, which creates ​superior seeds by ensuring both parents are exceptional. This helps future forests not only grow at a faster pace, but also resist disease and be more inclined to grow straight without forking. Rayonier researchers provide tens of millions of seeds for our future forests every year.

Seedling Nursery - 0 to 1/2 Years

Our seedling nursery in Elberta, Alabama, is home to some of the best soils for growing pine seedlings in the U.S. South. Here, we grow more than 70 percent of the trees planted on Rayonier land. Local soil has a layer of fine sand, ideal for producing a robust root system, and a layer of clay that holds water well, ensuring a healthy start for seedlings. After about 7 months of growing in the nursery, the seedlings are ready to be shipped to forests throughout our ownership. Each species is delivered to the specific region where it performs best. Since their inception in 1957, our nurseries have produced more than one billion seedlings!

To learn more about the seedling nursery, visit rayonierseedlings.com

Site Preparation and Planting - Year 1

After a fully matured forest has been harvested, preparations begin for a new generation of trees that will ​meet the needs of your children and grandchildren decades from now. We use various methods to prepare and plant sites throughout our ownership. In Northeast Florida, for example, a tractor mounds the top six inches of soil — the ​most productive​ soil — into rows for our trees. A tractor also aids in the planting of seedlings. In other areas, like the mountains of New Zealand or the Pacific Northwest, we plant our trees by hand without the aid of a machine on the steep terrain. Whatever the planting method, all of our foresters carefully design each stand by choosing the right species, row spacing and interval to ensure the best use of every acre.

Maintaining the Forest - 1 Year to Harvest Age

Just as we need the right tree on the right land, we also need the right treatment plan. If every tree was nurtured the same way, a lot of money would be spent with very mixed results. That’s where foresters come in. They determine what each stand of trees needs by using a mix of old fashioned techniques performed in the forest and modern techniques that rely on our vast internal mapping and data system, drone technology, LiDAR and other cutting-edge tools. These tools also serve in inventory analysis, which allows us to anticipate the wood our forests will yield decades in advance.

Tree Thinning - 12 to 15 years

As the forest matures to about 12 to 15 years old, the once perfect spacing designed at planting becomes too crowded. Our foresters use a technique called thinning to carefully harvest specific rows of trees and poor​er​-performing trees. This gives the remaining trees room to grow into larger trees that will fulfill demands for sawtimber, used in important products like lumber, plywood and poles. Meanwhile, the trees that are removed in the thinning are generally used in pulp production, which is needed to make paper and boxes ​as well as cellulose fibers used in everyday items, such as plastics, textiles, paints, tires, diapers and many other products.

Harvest - 20 to 40 years

Once trees are fully grown, it’s time to harvest. Depending on the species and location, the ideal age varies from the early- to late-20s in the U.S. South and New Zealand, to 35-40 years in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Harvest schedules are carefully planned to ensure a sustainable yield of wood, which means we will be able to keep producing a relatively steady amount of wood each year. Different locations use different machinery to harvest trees, ranging from cutting down trees by hand with chainsaws to using high tech computer-enabled, unmanned equipment. The trees are then loaded into a truck to be transported to a mill or put onto a ship to be taken to another part of the world.

Products

Once they’re harvested, our trees have an important job to do. The largest, straightest trees typically become utility poles! Many more are cut into boards for building projects. The smallest trees are destined to be turned into pulp, which can be used for paper products​, consumer packaging, cardboard boxes​, or a cellulose material used in thousands of everyday products. Wood has played an important role in our everyday lives all through history, even as our needs have changed. It’s exciting to wonder what new products the trees we plant today may play a role in when they’re fully grown.

  • Research and Breeding - 0 Years

    As one of America’s only public timber companies with its own research team, we place top-performing trees in designated seed-producing orchards. They're planted far apart (with about 10 times more space than our plantation pines), which gives them room to produce the maximum number of seed-bearing pine cones. Our foresters use practices like controlled pollination, which creates ​superior seeds by ensuring both parents are exceptional. This helps future forests not only grow at a faster pace, but also resist disease and be more inclined to grow straight without forking. Rayonier researchers provide tens of millions of seeds for our future forests every year.

  • Seedling Nursery - 0 to 1/2 Years

    Our seedling nursery in Elberta, Alabama, is home to some of the best soils for growing pine seedlings in the U.S. South. Here, we grow more than 70 percent of the trees planted on Rayonier land. Local soil has a layer of fine sand, ideal for producing a robust root system, and a layer of clay that holds water well, ensuring a healthy start for seedlings. After about 7 months of growing in the nursery, the seedlings are ready to be shipped to forests throughout our ownership. Each species is delivered to the specific region where it performs best. Since their inception in 1957, our nurseries have produced more than one billion seedlings!

    To learn more about the seedling nursery, visit rayonierseedlings.com

  • Site Preparation and Planting - Year 1

    After a fully matured forest has been harvested, preparations begin for a new generation of trees that will ​meet the needs of your children and grandchildren decades from now. We use various methods to prepare and plant sites throughout our ownership. In Northeast Florida, for example, a tractor mounds the top six inches of soil — the ​most productive​ soil — into rows for our trees. A tractor also aids in the planting of seedlings. In other areas, like the mountains of New Zealand or the Pacific Northwest, we plant our trees by hand without the aid of a machine on the steep terrain. Whatever the planting method, all of our foresters carefully design each stand by choosing the right species, row spacing and interval to ensure the best use of every acre.

  • Maintaining the Forest - 1 Year to Harvest Age

    Just as we need the right tree on the right land, we also need the right treatment plan. If every tree was nurtured the same way, a lot of money would be spent with very mixed results. That’s where foresters come in. They determine what each stand of trees needs by using a mix of old fashioned techniques performed in the forest and modern techniques that rely on our vast internal mapping and data system, drone technology, LiDAR and other cutting-edge tools. These tools also serve in inventory analysis, which allows us to anticipate the wood our forests will yield decades in advance.

  • Tree Thinning - 12 to 15 years

    As the forest matures to about 12 to 15 years old, the once perfect spacing designed at planting becomes too crowded. Our foresters use a technique called thinning to carefully harvest specific rows of trees and poor​er​-performing trees. This gives the remaining trees room to grow into larger trees that will fulfill demands for sawtimber, used in important products like lumber, plywood and poles. Meanwhile, the trees that are removed in the thinning are generally used in pulp production, which is needed to make paper and boxes ​as well as cellulose fibers used in everyday items, such as plastics, textiles, paints, tires, diapers and many other products.

  • Harvest - 20 to 40 years

    Once trees are fully grown, it’s time to harvest. Depending on the species and location, the ideal age varies from the early- to late-20s in the U.S. South and New Zealand, to 35-40 years in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Harvest schedules are carefully planned to ensure a sustainable yield of wood, which means we will be able to keep producing a relatively steady amount of wood each year. Different locations use different machinery to harvest trees, ranging from cutting down trees by hand with chainsaws to using high tech computer-enabled, unmanned equipment. The trees are then loaded into a truck to be transported to a mill or put onto a ship to be taken to another part of the world.

  • Products

    Once they’re harvested, our trees have an important job to do. The largest, straightest trees typically become utility poles! Many more are cut into boards for building projects. The smallest trees are destined to be turned into pulp, which can be used for paper products​, consumer packaging, cardboard boxes​, or a cellulose material used in thousands of everyday products. Wood has played an important role in our everyday lives all through history, even as our needs have changed. It’s exciting to wonder what new products the trees we plant today may play a role in when they’re fully grown.

Did you know?

Wood Makes it Possible

Did you know wood is in thousands of products we use every day? It's in the obvious places, like the frames of our houses, but it's also where you would least expect it, like tires in our cars and bicycles; LCD screens; and bath products like shampoo and toothpaste. Imagine how many conveniences wood makes possible in your life!

At every stage in the lifecycles of our trees, we take careful measures to ensure the sustainability of our forests and the wildlife, soils and water within them.

Learn More