Restorative Forest Health Work

As many of you know, some of the newer Preserve parcels have incredibly crowded tree stands that not only put the landscape at higher risk of wildfire, but also are prone to disease. As part of our work to restore the forests to healthy stands, work on restorative forest thinning will begin in late July.

A bunch of trees all together with the sun shining through. Showing that there are too many trees close together

In planning for this work, I met with the forester and our U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contact in mid-June to flag the areas to be thinned. A total of 27 acres will be thinned this summer with financial support from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program.

There are many benefits of selective thinning on over-stocked forestlands. Thinning is one of the most important tools to reduce wildfire risk in forests. It is used to restore more natural forest structure with a focus on tree density, tree species distribution, tree age distribution and natural gaps in the canopy. Additionally, reduction of the number of trees reduces stress and competition for resources, like water and sunlight, in forested areas susceptible to insects and disease. 

We’re using the best science available to decide where the thinning should take place. We’re also working alongside our USDA partners to address short-term wildlife disturbance through the creation of habitat piles from downed trees that we’ll leave on the landscape. These habitat piles are used by songbirds, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, salamanders, frogs, lizards, snakes, and insects for dens or nesting spots, to shelter from bad weather, to escape predators, and to forage. In addition, the piles can serve to slow the flow of water down hillsides during the rainy season which helps limit soil erosion and protect the salmon-bearing creeks on the Preserve.

Feel free to reach out with questions or if you would like to know more about our forest restoration work.

– Jeff Wirtz, Vice President