Earlier this week, in collaboration with outstanding volunteer stewards from the OLLI education program from SOU, we participated in the first steps of a restoration project in a 13 acre plantation forest along Chinquapin Road in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
In the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument:
Chinquapin Mtn. PTS is located just north of the Greensprings Inn, see Figure 1 below, on a relatively flat, 13-acre unit that was managed for timber harvest through clearcutting and then planted to ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine and Douglas-fir. The planted Douglas-fir was heavily impacted by frost damage and there were gophers present throughout the stand for several years. Former ecologist Tom Azet had recommended that the several stands have some sort of restoration to promote better habitat for wildlife, and now, current Monument management is taking action. It was such a terrific project for our volunteer stewards to support, we look forward to participating in further efforts like this.
Chinquapin Mountain Road, Plantation Stand map:
This stand was subject to clear cutting in 1985, and in successive years was burned, fenced for big game, planted with trees for paper (Douglas fir), replanted again... chalking up multiple heavy management practices over the years has resulted in a now sterile, uniform forest stand that is a far cry from the older surrounding forest around it that sustain greater biodiversity. This stand is predominantly stocked with ponderosa and Jeffrey pine.
Promoting an Old Growth Forest:
The project is being designed with the goal of achieving late seral stage conditions as soon as possible. Soil health and wildlife habitat management will be the primary design considerations. It has been shown in a number of studies that soil conditions under old tree clumps varies considerably from formally open areas so we are trying to design our clumps and openings based on historic conditions. It was a pleasure to work with BLM Monument staff Charles Shelz and Christine Beekman (below).
Volunteers get the job done!
Our volunteers assisted in taking inventory of the the stand by locating and mapping the natural tree clumping of a previously cut area in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument using the existence of old stumps as a guide. This information will inform project planners of good areas to plan natural tree clumping and spaces for maximum ecological value. Collectively, we mapped about 50 stumps and clumps throughout the 13 acres parcel. We can't wait to get out there again!