Active Restoration

slash slide show

See slideshow of our recent slash treatment trial.

We perform active forest habitat restoration in a small proportion of the forest that is recovering from previous logging, leaving the majority to develop through passive restoration without human intervention. We typically locate our restoration projects to benefit old-growth dependent species, creating larger patches of forest with greater habitat value and providing connectivity between patches of old-growth forest. We also link upland forest restoration with aquatic and riparian restoration projects to achieve synergistic benefits for multiple species. In addition to accelerating habitat development for at-risk species dependent on old-growth forest, active restoration will enhance current habitat for numerous wildlife species, including many songbirds and small mammals. View a poster (pdf) presented at the International Association of Landscape Ecology World Congress in 2007 on how we prioritize forest habitat restoration based on late-seral habitat connectivity.

In the HCP we use the term restoration thinning to describe active forest habitat restoration in very dense forest stands younger than 30-40 years of age. Restoration techniques in these forests include variable density thinning and restoration planting. These techniques encourage more rapid tree growth, restore a more diverse plant species composition, and create more variability in canopy cover and forest development. The thinned trees on the ground, or slash, can be a short-term fire hazard, cover up understory herbs and shrubs, and potentially limit large mammal movement. So we have initiated a trial examining various methods of slash treatment.

45 Road ET slideshow image

See slideshow of our first ecological thinning project.

The term ecological thinning is used when we conduct active restoration in dense forest stands over 30-40 years of age. Techniques include variable density thinning, restoration planting, and creation of canopy gaps, snags, and logs. Goals are to help restore natural ecological functions, enhance forest structure and species diversity, and encourage development toward late-successional and old growth forest habitat.