Forest Restoration: Meeting the Challenge
A century of fire suppression and two decades of drought has left our forests in urgent need of restoration. We must increase the pace and scale of forest thinning before we lose our forests permanently to large, catastrophic wildfires and a changing climate..
Transforming Forest Management
The Nature Conservancy is working with the Forest Service, wood industries, and stakeholders to accelerate forest restoration by reducing costs and improving how we work. Past timber sales valued one commodity for the public: large-tree sawtimber. Now, a restored forest, not timber, is the value. But management practices have not kept up. Substantial time and funds are spent to administer timber sales on tasks that do not meet current needs. We need new processes that value the end product of a restored forest rather than what is removed. The challenge is how to change agency practices without delaying ongoing forest treatments.
Investing in Arizona’s Future
The Nature Conservancy is investing our resources in helping the Forest Service develop new practices. We are testing ways to cut costs in forest treatments for harvesters. And, we are using information we receive to build trust among all, ensuring forests are ecologically restored.
Benefits of restoration
In addition to lowering the risk of severe wildfires, mechanical thinning and prescribed fire provide benefits to climate, water, and forest resilience. Research published by TNC scientists shows restoration projects, such as the Four Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI) could stabilize carbon on the landscape by decreasing the wildfire risk and increasing growth of the remaining trees. A thinned forest allows more snow melt and rainfall to reach the forest floor, sink into the ground and feed streams. Fewer trees reduces competition for resources and allows trees to grow faster and be more resistant to drought and pests. Please see our published literature in the "Related Research" section on the right.
For more information see our Forest Resilience Fact Sheet