Piñon-Juniper Marketing and Utilization Project
The Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program and the Colorado Office of the Bureau of Land Management have formed a multi-year partnership to identify forest products and marketing opportunities for Colorado's piñon-juniper resources.
Research scientists and staff of the Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program (CoWood) are working with the Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to assist natural resource managers, contractors and businesses in identifying ways to enhance the ecological and economic opportunities affiliated with piñon-juniper management on Colorado BLM lands.
Many of Colorado’s forests have received significant attention regarding hazardous fuels, forest health and wood utilization opportunities; however, comparatively less attention has been paid to investigating the potential economic value of wood products from Colorado’s piñon-juniper forests.
As is the case with other forest types in Colorado, experts are concerned about the health of piñon-juniper forests, which face increasing threats from wildfire, competition among other forest types and rangeland, public access and recreation. Active forest management in piñon-juniper systems will contribute to the health and resiliency of these forest communities and enhance effective wood utilization.
Piñon-Juniper Marketing and Utilization Program partners currently are working to provide piñon-juniper resource managers with a comprehensive online database designed to be a one-stop shop for information regarding the piñon-juniper woodland type. This database will:
- provide free access to public domain publications that date back to 1908, and;
- consist of government documents, conference proceedings, technical bulletins and books.
Partners are now collecting documents to be included in the PJ database. By March 1, we expect to design the database and interactive website. The fully accessible database will be available for the public by winter 2012.
In the early 1990s, the Western Juniper Commercialization Project was established by land management agencies, local industry and economic development organizations in eastern Oregon and northeastern California. Viewed as a nontraditional and noncommercial (“weed”) species by some resource managers and industry, a focused effort to identify and document supply, harvesting, product, and market opportunities began over a ten-year period. The Western Juniper Commercialization Project continues to portray itself as “one-stop shop” for resource managers, industry and the public. To date the Western Juniper Commercialization Project lists a seven-fold increase in the number of businesses that manufacture and market western juniper products. In addition, annual volumes of western juniper products being produced increased from 15 million board feet (mbf)/year before the project to more than 120 mbf/year.
The Piñon-Juniper Commercialization Project is designed to replicate the achievements of the Western Juniper Commercialization Project and build on the findings from the three-year effort (2003-2008) Beyond Firewood and Fenceposts, which established qualitative insights on commercial product and market opportunities of Colorado’s piñon-juniper forest resource. Fundamental material performance, harvesting and market questions remain to be answered in order to attract the necessary harvesting, manufacturing and marketing infrastructure to offset treatment costs and identifying and providing BLM resource managers with utilization opportunities.