Progress in Central Cascades Forest Og Back in Old Growth

In American slang, “O. G.” means Original. It refer to the legends, the best in the game, the people who deserve respect and whose legacy will live on beyond you. In forestry, There is another type of “O.G.”, The Old Forest. It is equally legendary and deserves our respect. And yes, enclosed in ancient forests are indicators of a rich heritage — a time capsule of growth, decay, fire, water, flora and fauna, all in balance with each other.

In the Central Cascades Forest (CCF), Herman Flamenco, conservation forester at TNC Washington, says he envisions a day when the CCF will reach OG maturity. Although the time scale of maturation of forests means: “reaching the old growth will not necessarily happen in our lifetime.”

* Record scratch * achieving the old growth requires patience and commitment to a long-term Vision.

While TNC manages this forest, Herman says that it is about balance: “To make the forest manage itself in a way — to make the forests work for themselves and for people.”

He says that when he started working at the CCF, there were “really dense forests — a lot of trees and a dense undergrowth. This was usually maintained by forest fires, but it was allowed to swell and invade.”The landscape he describes previously belonged to a Washington-based forestry company.

In 2014, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Forest Service completed an Analysis of the forest areas of Eastern Washington. They found that 2.7 hectares of forest, including the CCF, were in urgent need of restoration.

“From my point of view, it was left to itself. We have areas that have been replanted after deforestation. They are now overcrowded — way too many trees — and they are all competing with each other,” he says. Ultimately, Herman works to ensure that “our forests persist beyond this life”.

To this end, he and a dedicated team of foresters, scientists, land managers and community members have teamed up to restore the land. Recently, they used heavy machinery to chew over 200 acres of forest to thin out the undergrowth in order to avoid devastating forest fires. If a fire crossed the current conditions of the forest, “you would have what we call conductive fuels, where the fire rises through the undergrowth, in the middle story, then in the upper story, becoming a catastrophic forest fire.”

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