Restoration Forestry Program

Restoring thousands of acres. Creating hundreds of jobs.

Lomakatsi restores a wide range of complex forest communities and wildlife habitats, while simultaneously reducing the threat of severe wildfire. In the process, we create hundreds of living wage jobs and support rural economies by delivering restoration byproducts—including small diameter trees and biomass material—to local mills.

We recognize the power of collaboration. Lomakatsi has established long-term collaborative partnerships with agencies, tribes, conservation groups, industry and forest-based communities throughout Oregon and Northern California. These collaborative relationships are the foundation for our Restoration Forestry Program, which includes projects spanning two states and over 10 counties.

What is restoration forestry?

Restoration forestry is the concept of restoring modern forests to health using history as a guide. Restoration forestry provides a blueprint to return forests to a more natural, healthy, and fire resistant condition. This approach utilizes the principles of natural forest development, including the role of natural disturbances (such as fire), to guide maintenance and restoration of forests.

An overly-dense clump of trees in the Ashland Watershed.

Our ecosystems are out of balance.

Forests throughout Oregon, Northern California and the West are under extreme environmental stress. Contributing factors include unnaturally high tree densities and hazardous fuels resulting from 100 years of fire exclusion, excessive logging and mismanagement. Climate change puts further stress on ecosystems and is increasing the risk of severe wildfire events.

Old “legacy” trees are threatened by the encroachment of small, shade-loving trees like Douglas fir, which were once kept in check by the historic frequent, low-intensity fire regimes. Current forest conditions increase the risk of uncharacteristically severe wildfire, which can result in impacts to soil, water, air, plant, animal and human resources. Stressed forests also experience increased risk of insects and disease, loss of large old trees, reduced wildlife habitat value, and decreased productivity.

Science-based, ecological restoration is the solution.

Lomakatsi develops fine-scale, science-based ecological treatments that result in high quality restoration outcomes. Prior to restoration implementation, Lomakatsi’s foresters perform vegetation inventories and forest condition assessments that inform how treatments and operations will be implemented. Key priorities and objectives during the planning and design of forest restoration projects include protection of large old “legacy” trees as well as protection of wildlife habitat, such as large old snags. In addition to employing our own Lomakatsi forestry personnel and restoration crews, we hire local timber operators and forestry contractors from the communities where we conduct projects.

Lomakatsi foresters plan an ecological treatment on private land in the Colestin Valley.

A large, old, “legacy” madrone tree.

Guiding principles of Lomakatsi’s restoration work

Restoration forestry is guided by underlying ecological values including natural ecosystem function, resilience and overall health. In this approach, incorporating these ecological values is held paramount to any commercial interests (such as timber extraction). If our projects do incorporate commercial elements, any revenue from restoration byproducts is reinvested into achieving our main objective of recovering forest diversity, health, integrity and resilience.

Referred to as byproduct utilization, this practice is much preferred to burning all materials on site which eliminates and wastes any use the newly cut material may have. If possible, as an alternative to on-site burning, utilization of cut material as saw logs, firewood, or biomass is encouraged. This is different from timber production, forest agriculture, and other commercial interests which manage stands for economic gain. Byproduct utilization makes use of materials that would be created by ecological restoration activities regardless of whether there was a plan or need to use those materials.

Partnering to achieve restoration objectives

Lomakatsi works collaboratively with tribal, state, federal, nonprofit organizations and private landowner partners to maximize conservation investments. Our expertise is in project management and administration, design and planning, and monitoring and implementation.

For example, through a partnership with the City of Eugene and local forestry operators, Lomakatsi managed the implementation of the South Eugene Meadows Oak Restoration Project. Young encroaching Douglas firs were removed to protect oaks through this ecological commercial thinning project and the restoration byproducts (Douglas firs) were removed by helicopter to protect sensitive meadow habitat.

As part of the Snow Creek Oak Restoration Project, located in Siskiyou County, California, Lomakatsi staff marked small diameter Douglas fir trees for removal in an effort to protect old California black oaks. Taking place on private lands, this project was managed by Lomakatsi through a partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service, private landowners and local forestry contractor Shelterwood Enterprises.

Restoration byproducts (saw logs) removed as part of the Pepperbuck Project in Josephine County, Oregon.

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