masticatingSmall trees being masticated to provide erosion control and brush supressionPost-fire Conservancy goals were to re-establish a native forest, reduce hazards posed by dead trees, and avoid water quality impacts. Contractors cut large dead trees, skidded them to a landing, loaded them on a log truck and sent to a nearby mill. Some large dead trees were left on site to provide wildlife habitat. Small trees were ground up (masticated) and left on site to control erosion and suppress competing vegetation. Then one- to two-year-old native conifer seedlings were planted.

The report's authors estimate this active approach has hastened the return to a forested condition in the area by about 60 years. This is because planted seedlings are growing quickly while there are few naturally sprouting tree seedlings in adjacent untreated areas and these face competition from vigorously growing native brush that was stimulated by the wildfire. Soil monitoring showed no compaction by heavy equipment during tree removal and minimal soil erosion. Woody mulch left on site was also effective at suppressing brush to give newly planted tree seedlings a competitive edge.

Landowners looking for guidance on post-fire forest management are encouraged to download the free UC Cooperative Extension publication "Recovering from Wildfire: A Guide for California Landowners" and consult the UC Center for Forest Research and Outreach website.

Environmental News

April 22, 2022

Connect the Bay: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

At Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, garden curator Rachel Spaeth wrangles dedicated student and community volunteers to keep this historic landmark an ongoing center of learning and beauty.
April 08, 2022

Raptor Fest

Master Falconer Kenny Elvin supports a Peregrine Falcon in his gloved hand when he tells us, "Falconry is the art of hunting with raptors."
February 04, 2022

Identifying a Death Cap Mushroom Could Save Your Life

The fungal network in California has been infiltrated by an invasive and fatal species of fungi––the death cap. Learn more here about the key characteristics of the Amanita phalloides mushroom and how to avoid potential poisonings while hunting for mushrooms in Northern California.
February 04, 2022

Hunting for Wintertime Fungi in Sonoma County

When winter rains fall, life that was dormant underground begins to make its appearance. Mushrooms pop up all over our region – from the forest floor to your own backyard! Learn more here about what to look for when hunting for mushrooms.
February 01, 2022

Winter Bird Observing with Birder Alex Cho

While winter may seem hush and dormant, birds fill the season with sounds and activity as many different species visit the Bay Area during their winter migrations to warmer locations. Learn more about what makes our region special for migratory and native birds during winter from a young and avid…
Dec 14, 2021

Water Conservation - Groundwater

While not visible, underground aquifers hold vast amounts of water. However, during periods of drought groundwater storage is at risk of overuse.…
Dec 08, 2021

Tidal Marsh Soil Elevation

In the tidal marshes at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, research ecologist Karen Thorne, PhD and biologist Chase Freeman, from the USGS…
Nov 03, 2021

Carbon Farming and Ranching

Loren Poncia discovered the powers of carbon sequestration after partnering with the Marin Carbon Project a decade ago. After learning from the…
Nov 03, 2021

The Soil Food Web

Dr. Sajeemas "Mint" Pasakdee is a University of California Cooperative Extension master gardener. Her passion is studying the amazing microscopic…
Nov 03, 2021

Compost and Carbon Sequestration

Kevin Lunny founded West Marin Compost after realizing the local need to recycle organic materials from the area into nutrient-rich and biologically…
Nov 01, 2021

Creating Vermicompost Through Earthworms

Jack Chambers co-founded the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm a quarter of a century ago after a surprising discovery in his home garden's compost bin. The…
Oct 11, 2021

San Jose Airport Pollutants Survey

Neighbors who live near San Jose's Reid-Hillview Airport have been living with noise and air pollution for many years. Now a new study commissioned…
Oct 01, 2021

Agricultural Workers and Poor Air Quality

Late summer is grape harvest season in Sonoma County, an extremely important time for Sonoma County’s billion dollar wine industry. Unfortunately,…
Sep 28, 2021

Growing Food During a Drought

Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, CA is located right next to the Russian River, and during this drought period, their water was shut off to maintain…
Sep 27, 2021

South Bay Water Savings

Like the rest of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County is facing a serious lack of water this year. Valley Water is the agency tasked with providing this…

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