Working Community Forests  

Ferns in Redwood Forest, photo credit: Greg Jirak  


About RFFI
Community Forestry
Usal Redwood Forest
Plant a Redwood Now
Bank of America
News & Newsletters
RFFI In The News
Who We Are
Contact RFFI
Join our mailing list

Redwood Forest Foundation

Fall 2014 Newsletter

A 100-Year Vision - Yours, Mine, Ours
by Mark Welther

Mark Welther
Mark Welther
President and Chief Executive Officer
Redwood Forest Foundation

RFFI Volunteer of the Year Warren DeSmidt spoke passionately about his vision of a healthy and productive redwood forest at this summer's 2014 RFFI Annual Meeting. He told the crowd of 130 that he never thought he would see the day when business and public leaders, timber industry workers and environmental activists, like himself, would all work together to rebuild the redwood forest.

"Going to our Usal Forest continues to be a very emotional thing for me," he said. "We have a chance to create a business model that will treat forests and livelihoods in a way that respects both people and the environment."

We each have a vision - and it is our collective vision that bonds the Redwood Forest Foundation community together. My own vision also begins with creating a new "RFFI" business model of forestry, one that uses innovative and best forest practices to improve forest health and the long term productivity of Usal Redwood Forest.

This RFFI model includes using least-toxic vegetation management to control hardwoods and completing the transition to unevenaged forest management sooner than our conservation easement requires. It also includes engaging the redwood community in forest management decisions and creating opportunities for public access as soon as possible.

Once RFFI owns the property outright, I see us growing a sustainable forest in perpetuity and selectively logging conifers in a way that creates community jobs, products and profits for the community, while also protecting the species that need a healthy forest to survive. I envision a visitors' center and regular community educational and recreational access to the forest.

In an age full of resource depletion horror stories, this RFFI forestry vision represents a world-changing model of economic and environmental balance.

In the short-term, the business of converting a young hardwood-dominated forest into a mature community redwood forest is made up of a thousand steps, some of which are high-minded and glamorous, others of which are "pick and shovel" or even painful, all of which are important.

In 2014, these steps included:

  • Fighting fires. You can visit for a report on August's Lodge Complex fire, which burned nearly 500 acres - 1% - of our Usal Forest. Read about how the threat was handled.

  • Developing eleven new Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) and increasing our harvest to meet financial obligations for the next three to five years.

  • Restoring the forest, including:

    • Completion of Phase 5 of our 6-phase Standley Creek restoration project, by removing stream obstructions and decommissioning roads in the watershed. This is funded by a grant RFFI and Trout Unlimited received from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

    • Adding Large Woody Debris (LWD) to Usal Creek and testing ground water levels in an effort to improve stream flow and salmon survival rates. This is funded by grants from CA Fish & Wildlife and Mendocino County Fish & Game.

  • Kicking off our Biochar Demonstration Project - the inaugural production of North Coast Biochar begins this fall - see the Biochar Report in this Newsletter.

  • Completing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in 2015, a requirement of our conservation easement.

  • Progressing toward carbon registration and sales in 2015 and beyond.
That is my vision, and RFFI's. What is yours? I challenge you to stay focused on our collective long-term vision of RFFI's redwood forests as we take these short-term steps together. You can support your vision by donating, volunteering and advocating on behalf of RFFI's worldchanging mission. The more community support we generate, the more trees we can plant and the more we can leave to grow.

I encourage you to email me at and share your 100-year vision. Excerpts will appear on the RFFI website in the coming months.

Return to
Fall 2014 Newsletter
Table of Contents

Redwood Bark

Home  -  FAQ  -  Credits  -  Search/SiteMap

© 2004-2016 Redwood Forest Foundation