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Redwood Forest Foundation

Fall 2010 Newsletter

Stewardship Plan
by John Rogers, RFFI Board Member and
Executive Dir. of the Inst. for Sustainable Forestry

RFFI's mission is to acquire, protect, restore and manage forestland in the Redwood Region for the benefit of the forest ecosystem and the local communities. Making this a reality requires creating a stewardship plan that simultaneously builds ecological, social and economic equity in working forests and incorporates an innovative approach to community-based forest management and forest ownership on the north coast. In effect, the Plan will concretize RFFI's mission, integrating the diverse elements of RFFI's vision and providing an umbrella document that guides current and future activities.

Usal Redwood Forest Designing our model "working community forest" requires a high level of professional, community and on-the-ground engagement. The 50,000-acre Usal Redwood Forest we've purchased offers RFFI and Usal's adjacent communities the opportunity to explore, articulate and eventually implement specific strategies to build all three types of the equity we hope to achieve.

Forest stewardship is an on-going, dynamic process. Changes in forest growth, regional markets and community demographics, as well as climate change and our increased understanding of forest functions will all influence the desirability or feasibility of specific stewardship priorities into the future. Thus, the Stewardship Plan will also be a "living" document capable of providing a strategic action plan for activities in the Forest for generations to come.

RFFI's intention is for the Stewardship Plan to strike the optimum balance between ecological functions and forest productivity; between habitat restoration and fiscal responsibility; between local knowledge and professional expertise. To achieve an environmentally sound and economically viable Stewardship Plan, we will and community representatives to address the key elements of the Plan. These include:

  • Natural Resource Assessment and Land Use History
  • Ecological Restoration Goals and Objectives
  • Community Access, Recreation, Cultural Resources and Stewardship Participation
  • Economic Strategies to Achieve Stewardship Objectives
  • Forest Management Planning and Regulatory Compliance

Three independent, active working groups are already in place and their expertise and experiences on the ground are helping RFFI determine "best practices" for the Stewardship Plan. The RFFI Restoration Committee has implemented over $1.6 million dollars worth of restoration projects on Usal. The Tanoak/Herbicide working group is moving forward to articulate and evaluate hardwood treatments that do not require the use of herbicides. And the Cultural Resources working group has identified tanoak groves with potential for being managed for acorn production. RFFI has also completed the initial scoping session seeking Forest Stewardship Council certification.

RFFI believes that the Usal Redwood Forest has the potential to provide a ground-breaking model of community-based, restoration forestry that is powerful and unique.

RFFI believes that the Usal Redwood Forest has the potential to provide a ground-breaking model of community-based, restoration forestry that is powerful and unique. Yet we also recognize that some stewardship objectives will be challenging to achieve. We appeal to you for your committed participation and support so that we can continue to develop the Stewardship Plan with a clear vision for the future and articulate the steps necessary to restore a healthy, productive and mature Usal Redwood Forest for coming generations.


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