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Notes From The Forest

John Deere 648H Skidder

John Deere 648H Skidder

July 2012, Scott Worden, Soper-Wheeler Company Forester –

Our two-man crews will be finishing the work on the Soper Ranch this month and are moving onto greener and cooler pastures.  One of our crews will be moving up the hill working on salvage.

Salvage is one of the ways we keep our forest healthy. We remove dead and dying trees so diseases and pests don’t spread, and we use those logs to make good quality lumber so they don’t go to waste- it’s really a win-win situation, and part of good forest management.

Our other crew and Jimmie Michael will be going to the Junction House area to finish up work on that sale.  It  has been a good year so far, and we plan to keep it that way.  Our newest skidder is back with the crew with a shiny new tilt blade, and we’re putting it to good use.

Eucosma sonomana, aka Western Pine Shoot Borer

Eucosma sonomana, aka Western Pine Shoot Borer

Recently, I went to Burney, California to attend the 2012 “Weed Tour” put on by the California Forest Pest Council (CFPC). The CFPC’s ongoing mission is education concerning forest pests and forest health, and the Council advises the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection on forest health protection.

We looked at the progress and the problems of planting 40,000 acres of pine after a large fire- in this case, the Fountain Fire of 1992. The timber companies owning lands involved in this fire area are Sierra Pacific Industries, Roseburg Resources, and WM Beatty and Company.

The take-away from the tour this year is that in a large plantation like this, once an insect infestation gets started, you have to contain it immediately. It’s not just one company’s problem because insects know no boundaries.

Eucosma sonomana, aka Western Pine Shoot Borer is one such pest.  Due to its outbreak in the Fountain Fire plantations, recognizing and treating the insect infestation is much simpler now, thanks to the landowner’s efforts in sharing their knowledge through CFPC.

Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm

Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm

After viewing the reforestation of the mainly pine species in the Fountain Fire plantation area, I appreciate  Soper-Wheeler’s policy of planting mixed species plantations.

If there is a insect infestation, the land owner runs a greater risk of losing the whole plantation in a single species plantation – versus one species in a mixed plantation.

The tour also had a stop at the Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm.  If you have a chance to tour a wind farm and have a knowledgeable person giving the tour, it can be quite interesting.

This site went active in 2010 and is able to supply 44,000 homes with energy while offsetting the emissions of 21,000 cars.  It’s also a good deal for the land owner, with rent being paid on yet to be developed locations on the ridge.

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