Holistic Forest Management
Our active forest management policy stems from our commitment to land stewardship, including the responsibility to enhance air, soil, and water quality for the entire watershed.
A history of 'high grade' commercial logging on this land has required forest restoration to stabilize erosion and reinstate the delicate balance of diversity required for forest health on the Ranch. Beginning in the 1990's, forest restoration and replanting have been a priority. We have looked to Marty Main, of Small Woodland Services, Inc., since the 1980's for direction with our forest management planning.
Historically, successive commercial logging had reduced species diversity among our conifer stands before we acquired the land in 1985. Removal of ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and Douglas fir for timber had left a void rapidly filled by the less commercially sought-after white fir. Unfortunately, while white fir was a native of the forest here, a history of poor timber management created virtually homogenous stands of it, leaving the forest vulnerable to disease and pest infestations. The white fir were succumbing to micro-mistletoe (witches broom), a species-specific disease killing the tree from the top down. Overcrowding of just this one type of tree created a negative impact on the health of our whole forest.
Diversity in our forests helps to prevent catastrophic loss due to disease and reduces the ability of species-specific diseases to spread. For these reasons, dead and dying white fir have been harvested and replanted with ponderosa, sugar pine, Douglas fir, and Incense cedar, reassembling the diversity of the natural forest. After thirty years our plantings are filling in and contributing to the overall health of the forest. Dead snags near wetland meadows are left standing to provide habitat for birds and other species. To learn more about how holistic forest management practices work in tandem with wetland restoration projects, visit our restoration page, also on this site. Our photo and video gallery pages show more about life on the ranch.
As a certified member of the American Tree Farm System, Willow-Witt Ranch manages in accordance with scientific forest management practices to protect soil, water, and wildlife values. In this way, our forests can remain a renewable resource for the future, while providing essential habitat for the diverse plants and animals who also call these mountains home. Owners Suzanne and Lanita are proud to be Jackson County's 2007 Tree Farmers of the Year for the long term stewardship and educational practices on the ranch.