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I’ve got a forest restoration project I’ve been working on in Southern Oregon, just outside of Ashland. It’s a beautiful location with an amazing amount of diversity. There are at least 8 different species of native trees on the property as well as an endless array of edible/medicinal plants and wildflowers.
The forest was logged probably 40-60 years ago and since then has gone pretty much uncared for. This has resulted in an unhealthy density. Instead of trees being able to thrive in their own space, they’re overcrowded and competing for resources this results in a lot of broken and misshapen trees, or situations where the conifers have pieced the canopy of the shade intolerant oaks, killing off limbs, and in many cases, whole trees. While the conifers are great as a marketable resource, the presence of the oak, and diversity in general, are key factors in supporting the teaming wildlife communities. Aside from poor forest health, this overcrowding also makes the forest inaccessible to us humans to enjoy. Instead of being able to go out for a hike (or easily manage the land), one must bushwhack through the understory, literally, unable to see the forest through the trees. As you can imagine, this also make for an extremely volatile situation when fires come through, which are an ever growing threat out here in the west.
There are also a few springs and riparian zones that we’ll spend some time addressing in a way that slows the flow and keeps the water on the land, and recharging the groundwater, as much as possible.
We are trying to take a wholistic approach to this process, honoring the plants, animal, and land as we go. Instead of piling and burning the slash, we are chipping where we can and laying the fallen logs on contour in order to basically make swales, again keeping the carbon and water on the property, not putting it in the air or enabling mass run off and soil degradation. We’re also building wildlife habitat with some of the debris. Where it’s not possible to get the chipper, or plausible to drag it out, we are doing some minimal burning.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in checking out and helping with, I would welcome a discussion about specifics. The property is pretty wild and “off-grid”. There is a solar generator on site and amazing spring water to drink. A shared propane shower and composting toilet. There are a couple of domes available for Living or sites to park your bus,van, or tiny home. There’s a veggie garden site available to grow some food but our growing season is pretty short. Work would primarily consist of hauling and piling limbs and log sections. You would definitely have direction and help. Some time would also be spent on creating and maintaining some infrastructure to improve yours and others’ time on the property. Running water and kitchen access come to mind. Here are some photos of what it looks like after the work is done.