|Photo source: American River Conservancy|
TNC's forest ecologist Ed Smith believes that by managing the land as a developing old growth forest—eliminating overabundant small- to medium-sized trees, allowing controlled burns, letting big trees remain—he may build more scientific support for increased forest restoration. The first strategy Smith wants to further test is whether by eliminating thick underbrush and smaller trees, fires will be less likely to climb up into the canopy and explode into uncontrollable blazes. The second strategy Smith wants to further test is whether by eliminating underbrush and smaller trees more snow and rain will reach the ground, allowing more water to soak into the ground, and resulting in more water running into streams, where it could increase flows by up to six percent. It’s not a solution to the drought, but the increase could lead to better habitat for fish, more hydropower from downstream dams, and more water for people. Stay tuned.
"Rather than trying to maximize the economic value coming out of the forest in the short term for one resource, like timber, we’re taking a long-term view and trying to meet more of the needs of wildlife, people, and the forest at the same time," says Smith.
The Cohesive Strategy promotes these types of activities that allow for long-term landscape and community benefits.
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