Redwood Forest Foundation
A 100-Year Vision - Yours, Mine, Ours
by Mark Welther
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.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Redwood Forest Foundation
"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
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
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:
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.
- Fighting fires. You can visit www.rffi.org
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
- 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
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.
I encourage you to email me at
and share your 100-year
vision. Excerpts will appear on the RFFI website
in the coming months.