FRG promotes the utilization of materials thinned ONLY from forest restoration and improvement projects.
Crowded even-age trees on millions of acres of forestland—a result of clear-cut forest management—have increased the certainty of catastrophic wild fires throughout California. Very fast growing Douglas fir crowds out the slower growing redwood and hardwood forest structures, compromising species diversification and stable forest structure. In the untended even-aged forest all flora is in deep competition for ground water and soil nutrients, increasing the risk of insect and disease infestation. Dense shrubs, young, dead and suppressed trees, called ladder fuels, allow fire to climb the healthier trees and burn entire forest canopies.
FRG’s forest stewardship standards are based in traditional Indigenous practices and restoration management for improving forest structure and watershed stability, for regaining canopy integrity and supporting genetic diversity.
Keeping in mind that every micro-ecosystem has a unique prescription, below is a basic outline of stewardship methods FRG agrees with to meet these ends.
Removing Ladder Fuels: Small diameter tree thinning
Small diameter tree thinning allows healthier trees to take in more water, nutrients and sunlight. Removing over crowded trees and ladder fuels reduces the fire fuel load and can be a preparation for prescribed burns.
Controlled burns intentionally set burn away excess vegetation to mimic the impact of historic ground fires and keep the forest from becoming overgrown. Many California species such as the fire poppy, redbud and manzanita lay dormant and will only germinate after a place has recently burned. Without fire there is a loss of species diversification and severely compromised forest structure.
Watershed restoration / Infiltration
The litter and duff layers over the forest’s mineral soil consist of decaying organic matter. These layers hold much of the water available to the ecosystem long after the rainy season and even into drought years. A portion of thinned materials can be mulched and/or tree trunks strategically placed within the landscape to increase water retention and reduce erosion.
We live in an era with great need to sequester carbon as quickly as possible, as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Yet today’s wildfires are taking human lives, whole townships, and entire forests—one of California’s greatest sources of carbon sequestration—while pumping massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in increasing amounts annually.