Little Res 2 Timber Stand Project

Little Res 2 Timber Stand Project


We’re here on the side of the little res
two timber stand improvement project. This
is a project on the beaver district of the FishLake National Forest. This is a
project to do some thinning and piling and eventually to burn the piles
adjacent to an inholding of private land and then also around a Forest Service
campground and a small reservoir that’s a popular fishing hole in the area. The
area that the little res fuels project is, the southern and kind of eastern half
of the project is in the ponderosa pine ecosystem and after many many years of
fire suppression in this area and some other things, we’ve had just a really
high number of trees per acre. So
historically in the ponderosa pine would have gotten a fire every seven to
twenty or so years would have had the needles burned off would have ended up
burning out some of the smaller trees and had a larger proportion of large
trees with pretty widely spaced kind of a park-like stand. After so many years of
suppressing fires and other types of growth related things, some drought and
some other stuff we’ve ended up with a really really thick stand here. So this
stand you can’t just go in and burn a stand like that because it’ll have a lot
of ladder fuels in it where the fire will climb from the small trees into the
medium-sized trees and into the crown’s of even these large ponderosas which are
really well adapted to surviving surface fire but can’t survive when you have a
crown fire move through. So the district
staff was looking at the area as a potential area to do some work
given the high values at risk and decided that we would go in, thin out the
stands pile the material and then burn that pile to reduce and eliminate that
material. Then in certain areas where it
could be reasonably done, follow up with some prescribed burning on the ground. If
you look at the ground in this area, there’s a really really thick
layer of needle and duff and litter and it’s so thick in fact that you
really can’t get very good regeneration at this point, especially of the
ponderosa pine that really wants that bare mineral soil to regenerate in. So if
we’re going to maintain this as a stand of ponderosa then we’re going to need to
introduce fire back into the system but we can’t just do that from scratch we
have to do a thinning project like this to kind of reset the system to
reasonably be able to reintroduce fire into it. In this ponderosa pine stand, one
of the things that has come in because you know in the stand where it’s so
thick and there’s so much leaf litter there’s there’s very little if any
ponderosa pine regeneration because it doesn’t handle the shade very well and
it doesn’t handle the the thickness of the needles on the ground it can’t
really grow into that, however this Rocky Mountain Juniper
loves those conditions. So so much of
what’s getting cut here isn’t even necessarily ponderosa pine there is some
being cut as well as a few other things but a large large amount of what’s going
into these piles by volume is actually the juniper component so we’re trying to
reduce that as much as anything so doing a fuel treatment such as this where
we’re reducing the amount of material by thinning it and piling it is going to allow
for several things, one it’s going to reduce fire behavior if we do have if
and when we do have a wildfire move into this area. Also because it’s reducing the
fire behavior, it gives the land managers and the fire managers and fire crews
that end up in this area greater safety and greater options when they’re trying
to protect the structures that are adjacent to this project. So if this was
just a wall of vegetation there really wouldn’t be very many options. But by
removing the material piling it burning that and reducing that risk and that
that fuel load to reduce that risk it’s creating greater numbers of options for
when we actually come in here and do some prescribed burns or even more so if
there’s a wildfire being able to protect our own people, protect the public at
large and protect those values at risk such as
those cabins and that campground.

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