The Yuba Watershed Institute will be presenting a talk Saturday, Jan. 29 at 5 PM at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the subject of Small Scale Forestry for the Private Landowner. This talk will follow the opening reception for the “Synergies and Confluences” community art show.
Gary Parsons, newly elected president of the non-profit will discuss problems facing the small scale forest landowner in a slide show and discussion. His experience includes ongoing experiments on his own property in how to deal with beetle kill ponderosa pine. He will discuss his findings along with the latest research that forest ecologists are conducting in the Sierra Nevada.
Forestry goals in California have been changed dramatically in the last few decades, and even faster in the last ten years. Historically, California Forests were looked at as a timber resource first, and everything else second. This goal was tenable due to the tremendous productivity of the fire dependent western slope Sierran forests. As time went on, with fire suppression and second growth single age forests, the durability of Sierran forests has diminished. Now, with increased tree density and milder winters, with decreased beetle winter mortality, combined with summer time drought stress, the forests of the Sierra Nevada are in an “unprecedented” condition that can and will lead to permanent forest loss in some regions.
The real value of the forest is now becoming known to California. That value is the water management function. A healthy forest has the ability to absorb a tremendous amount of water and slowly release it downslope. In the past, the great snowpack helped to mitigate surface flows, and disguise this critical function, but now that winter storms are warmer, with greater potential for peak flow storm events to cause havoc, it is imperative to allow the forest to do its work and slow down the surface discharge. A grassland won’t do this, only trees can.
Through slides and the latest research, the YWI will present tools and ideas that are relevant to the small scale private landowner to protect and enhance the forest. Luckily, what benefits all of California is also what benefits the small landowner. Through stewardship and the creation of forest mosaics and heterogeneity (fancy word for “mixed”!), the private landowner can be part of a beneficial legacy to heirs and the state itself.
Please attend and bring your thoughts, worries, and questions about what to do. The YWI will do its best to help you find answers and ideas! Please go to www.yubawatershedinstitue.org for more information on the YWI.