Timber mats will be deployed to help test forest management practices at the Olympic Experimental State Forest in Washington state, a report from The Chronicle indicated in March

Managed by the state’s department of natural resources, the Olympic Experimental Forest covers 270,000 acres and serves as a means of testing how one designated area can cover both habitat conservation and timber harvesting.

The new study to examine the experimental effort is being co-conducted by the state and the University of Washington, and it will analyze 16 watershed areas across the forest.

The testing will kick off in 2018 and be in full throttle by 2019. “The bulk of what we’re doing, the hard evidence we’re going to produce, will take quite a few years to fall into place,” stated Bernard Bormann in the report. Bormann serves as the director of the Olympic Resource Center.

Specifically, timber mats will be deployed as a means to test the efficiency of temporary access for harvesting, as compared to having to build a more permanent road. Timber mats will perhaps then be re-used in other parts of the forest once current harvesting projects are completed.

The results of the testing could have further implications regarding forest management pertaining to the larger Pacific Northwest. To learn more about the Olympic Experimental State Forest, visit the Washington State Department of Natural Resources webpage.