The Precision Forestry Cooperative

The mission of the Precision Forestry Cooperative (PFC) is to develop advanced technologies to improve the quality and reliability of information needed for planning, implementation, and monitoring of natural resource management, to ensure sustainable forest management, and to increase the competitiveness of Washington's forest sector.

The PFC was founded as part of the Washington State Advanced Technology Initiative (ATI), funded by the legislature. The University of School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, in collaboration with the School of Engineering, created the Precision Forestry Cooperative to conduct pioneering research in forest production, management, and manufacturing at a new scale of resolution and accuracy with the goal of producing economic and environmental benefits.

The forest products sector employs over 26,000 workers and generates $15 billion in revenues (2010, Washington State Dept. of Commerce). This represents an opportunity for the Precision Forestry Cooperative to leverage money and resources from both the private and public sectors to work cooperatively in developing new technologies that will bring greater economic benefits to the state.

Quick facts about Washington State's forest products sector (2010, Washington State Dept. of Commerce):

  • Washington's forest products industry is the second largest in the U.S. with about 10% of the nation's private establishments and employment.
    Of the softwood lumber produced in the U.S., 13% comes from Washington state.
  • The forest products industry is the 2nd largest manufacturing sector in the state after transportation, making up almost 15% of total manufacturing in Washington.
  • There are more than 5,000 different consumer products that are made from trees grown in Washington.
  • Forest products from Washington are recognized throughout the world. The largest importer is Japan.

Commercial forestry is more focused in rural portions of the state, these areas will benefit the most from the technologies developed and deployed by the Precision Forestry Cooperative.