Collaborative Forest Restoration

The purposes of the grants are: to promote healthy watersheds and reduce the threat of large, high intensity wildfires, insect infestation, and disease in the forests in New Mexico; to improve the functioning of forest ecosystems and enhance plant and wildlife biodiversity by reducing the unnaturally
high number and density of small diameter trees on Federal, Tribal, State, County, and Municipal forest lands; to improve communication and joint problem solving among individuals and groups who are interested in restoring the diversity and productivity of forested watersheds in New Mexico; to improve the use of, or add value to, small diameter trees; to encourage sustainable communities and sustainable forests through collaborative partnerships, whose objectives are forest restoration; and to develop, demonstrate, and evaluate ecologically sound forest restoration techniques.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

The following activities were among those funded in fiscal year 2004: (1) The project will remove small diameter trees, reduce fuel loads and other flammable materials on 200 acres of Forest Service land that abuts private land north of Shady Brook and around campgrounds on the west end of Taos.

Emphasis will be on eliminating crowded and non-native plant and tree species by removing trees less than 12 inches in diameter.

Healthy old and large trees and snags in both conifer and aspen stands will be preserved.

Free firewood will be distributed to local residents and posts and poles less than 12 inches in diameter will be provided to recipients with permits.

Local community members will be hired for thinning projects.

The project proponents estimate that 10-12 jobs will be created for the thinning work, and at least eight people will be trained in forest practices.

(2) The project will gather and review information about the Santa Domingo Pueblo Bosque (riparian) area and upland resources to identify information gaps; establish methodologies for fuel loading inventories to establish monitoring protocols; conduct baseline surveys of vegetation; explore the feasibility of opening a tribal wood-yard for small diameter timber; involve the community in the development of the project; develop a comprehensive fuels management strategy; and conduct a pilot restoration treatment on 50 acres of Tribal Bosque and woodland.

The project includes a summer education and work program for Santo Domingo youth on the restoration protection of the Rio Grande floodplain protection.

(3) The project will conduct fuels reduction and forest restoration treatments to reduce hazardous fuels, improve habitat, reduce non-native species and improve watershed conditions on 225 acres of Ponderosa Pine, mixed conifer, and pinyon-juniper forest on Tribal, BLM and NM State Lands near the communities of Candy Kitchen and Fort Wingate.

Logs over 9 will be milled, graded, and dried to sell to the Zuni Furniture company and others.

Lower grade material will be dried and sold to the community for construction.

Logs too small for milling will be made into posts and vigas with traditional Zuni carvings for local and regional markets.

The grantees will also study the feasibility of biomass heat and/or power applications for the remaining materials and milling waste.

High school students will collect data for multi-party monitoring and assessment reports.

(4) This project will chip trees resulting from forest restoration and Wildland Urban Interface fuels reduction projects on the Gila National Forest to provide the Fort Bayard Medical Center with biomass for a new biomass fired boiler system.

Gila WoodNet will purchase and install chip handling and processing equipment to be used in screening and re-chipping; purchase and install chip storage bins and equipment to deliver chips; purchase a truck for chip transport; purchase and install scales and moisture monitoring equipment for determining BTU content and value; install transfer, storage, and re-chipping facilities to receive and process biomass; and provide monitoring and system evaluation assistance to other biomass heating projects in the state.

The project will create up to five permanent year-round jobs and support up to twenty other forest and wood product related jobs.

(5) This project will develop and manufacture high value wood products using logs removed from forest restoration and Wildland Urban Interface fuels reduction projects on National Forest lands in Catron County.

The Forestry Association will: purchase, fabricate, and install milling equipment and train local operators to manufacture products made from small diameter trees; participate in collaborative processes that incorporate forest restoration principles and work with business enterprises; mentor young people through Youth Conservation Programs; and design and coordinate community-based multi-party forest restoration monitoring efforts.

(6) This project will develop maps, models and assessments of current, reference, and alternative future forest conditions and fire behavior in the Sheep Basin and Negrito Watershed areas and use a collaborative process to develop science-based prescriptions for forest restoration.

Treatments will restore the size and age class distribution and spatial pattern of trees to their historic range and variability on approximately 456 acres of the Gila National Forest.

The mechanical treatments will be followed by broadcast burns to reintroduce fire when it is ecologically appropriate and safe to do so.

The grantee and their partners will develop a model of science-based adaptive management practices through multi-part monitoring and assessment of the ecological and socio-economic effects of the project.

(7) The project will conduct forest restoration and fuels reduction treatments on approximately 249 acres of tribal and municipal land.

The non-federal match includes the treatment of 267 acres of adjoining tribal land.

The project acres adjoin other on-going forest restoration projects on Forest Service land (153 acres) and private land (99 acres).

The harvested material will be used by local businesses to produce wood shavings for animal bedding, compost and mulch products.

Data for a multi-party assessment of the ecological and socio-economic effects of the project will be collected with assistance from the Mescalero Apache School and Youth Conservation Corps.

(8) The Santa Fe County Fire Department will thin trees to reduce fire risk and restore forest health on 43 square miles of high hazard County land in the Wildland Urban Interface where people have built homes and live in forested areas adjacent to County lands.

The County will use a collaborative process to identify and prioritize areas to be treated, develop treatment methods, solicit proposals from local contractors, measure and assess treatment processes, implement a media campaign, analyze data, and train participants.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Regional or Local Office: Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for addresses and telephone numbers of the Forest Service National Forests in New Mexico.

These are the Gila, Lincoln, Cibola, Santa Fe, and Carson National Forests.