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News Release
David Bugni (center holding plaques) and his wife, Mary Ann (not pictured), are Oregon's new Tree Farmer of the Year. Also pictured from left are Chad Davis (US Forest Service, Josh Barnard (Oregon Department of Forestry), Dick Courter, Wylda Cafferata an
David Bugni (center holding plaques) and his wife, Mary Ann (not pictured), are Oregon's new Tree Farmer of the Year. Also pictured from left are Chad Davis (US Forest Service, Josh Barnard (Oregon Department of Forestry), Dick Courter, Wylda Cafferata an
Clackamas County couple named Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year (Photo) - 06/30/22

ESTACADA, Ore. – David Bugni and his wife, Mary Ann, believe in leaving the forest on their land near Estacada in Clackamas County better than they found it. The Bugnis’ careful stewardship has earned them the 2022 Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year title.

The award was bestowed last week by the non-profit Oregon Tree Farm System (OTFS). Runners up were Linn County landowners Mike and Jo Barsotti. 

Steve and Wylda Cafferata are co-chairs of the OTFS Board. They said, “The Oregon Tree Farm System's membership is proud of Mary Ann and David Bugni's stewardship. We celebrate it both as an excellent example of active management and as representative of the good work all dedicated small woodland owners do to promote forest health and the values of wood, water, wildlife and recreation. Mary Ann and David ably fulfill the OTFS purpose of making Oregon better, one acre at a time.”

For more than a decade, the Bugnis have planted about 500 tree seedlings of diverse native species each year on their property. In 2014, the Bugnis thinned a 20-acre parcel of 60-year-old Douglas-fir on their property. The harvest generated 238,000 board feet of saw logs along with 258 tons of pulp. They followed up by planting 2,000 Douglas-fir seedlings as replacements and 1,000 western redcedar in shadier areas. They also work to protect the native ecosystem by keeping out invasive species, such as holly, blackberry and reed canary grass.

To benefit wildlife, each year they girdle seven trees to create snags. Many birds and mammals, build nests in the dead trees or use them as hunting perches. The snags are also food for a variety of insects eaten by woodpeckers. 

Improving fish habitat is also important to the Bugnis. They are involved with the Clackamas River Basin Council’s “Shade Our Streams” program. As part of that program, they have planted over 6,000 native deciduous and conifer trees and shrubs along over 1,800 feet of Suter Creek, which runs through their land. In 2015, David obtained a grant from PGE ($295,660 plus $83,403 of in-kind donations of services and materials) to replace two, 6-foot diameter twin, fish-blocking culverts within Suter Creek with a new, precast concrete bridge. The following year he received the Cole Gardiner Stewardship Award from CRBC for “Outstanding efforts in stewardship of the Clackamas River watershed.”

“The Bugnis model a responsible, sustainable approach to forest management,” said Oregon State Forester Cal Mukumoto. Their work provides great examples for other landowners who want to manage for both wood products and the environmental benefits forests provide.”

In 2019, David secured a large grant from PGE’s Clackamas River Hydroelectric Project Mitigation and Enhancement Fund (over $207,000 plus $48,550 of in-kind donations). The grant paid for the placement of 95 logs (via helicopter due to lack of road access) along about one mile of Suter Creek. Bugni got agreement from four different property owners for the project. Combined, the two projects have restored two miles of Suter Creek and opened up over five miles of creek to migrating salmon and steelhead. 

David shares his knowledge of practical forest management in articles for the Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association, whose board of directors he has been on since 2019. He also lets students from the Fisheries Technology Program at Mt. Hood Community College perform their term-long capstone research project on his land, allowing them to collect data on stream and woodland conditions.

Prior to the pandemic he presented information about stream-crossings for woodland owners at the Tree School held at Clackamas Community College. And he was co-presenter in 2020 with Dave Stewart from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on fish habitat restoration for forestland owners. 

Rick Zenn, Director of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, summed up the Bugnis’ impact: “The greater community is very well served by the Bugnis' effort to educate the public and share their work. They are excellent representatives of family forest owners, demonstrating the public benefits that forest stewardship provides. Their ongoing efforts are yielding good outcomes. They are true community leaders.” 

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