Midpen Biologist Karine Tokatlian in La Honda Creek Preserve's redwood forest. (Kyle Ludowitz)

Forest Health Management Assessment

Midpen Biologist Karine Tokatlian in La Honda Creek Preserve's redwood forest. (Kyle Ludowitz)

Mature forests are complex ecosystems that have survived for millennia. They teach us about living with fire and climate change, and how to care for the formerly logged second-growth forests on Midpen lands. 

Building on the success of several partner projects, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is assessing the potential benefits of a similar science-based restoration forestry project to improve the health of 1,210 acres of redwood forest in La Honda Creek Preserve. 

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Natural Resources Protection and Restoration
Natural Resources
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Goals and Objectives

Forests throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains have been significantly altered by historic logging and dense regrowth, fire suppression and fuels accumulation, rural development, Sudden Oak Death and climate change. 

The goals of this project are to:

  • Assess ways to help restore mature forests
  • Improve watershed health and function
  • Provide better wildlife habitat, carbon storage and resilience to fire and disease

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Highlights

This video highlights restoration forestry projects in the Santa Cruz Mountains and beyond completed by our partners at Save the Redwoods League, Sempervirens Fund, California State Parks and Peninsula Open Space Trust. It is a recording of a presentation given to Midpen's board of directors in July 2021.

Restoration forestry science

Current science shows us that diversity of age, species, size and genetics of trees are key to forest resilience and survival. Mature forests are spatially diverse with trees standing together and individually interspersed with fallen logs and natural openings.

Selectively removing some small trees in formerly logged second-growth forests can accelerate tree growth by reducing competition for sunlight and water, putting the forest on a path to return to mature, old-growth conditions sooner.

Forests: A Powerful Tool for Climate Change Resilience

Forests actively clean the air and store carbon. Mature redwoods capture and store more carbon per acre than any other tree or plant. The trees in the La Honda Creek Preserve project area contain approximately 440,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. They sequester approximately 16,500 metric tons of carbon each year, equivalent to avoiding the emissions of 3,600 cars driven in one year. The proposed project would increase carbon storage and sequestration over time by accelerating the growth of redwood trees.

 

Partners and Stakeholders

Midpen is working with several regional partners who have successfully completed similar projects and studies to develop a sound, science-based approach.