Forests do so much for us. They provide us clean air, filter our water, sustain an unbelievable breadth of plant and animal life, and offer an incredible sanctuary to recharge our spirits. They also provide us with the products that we use every day – wood for building homes and furniture, paper for packaging, rayon for clothing, and so much more.
Forests do all these things free of charge when we steward them appropriately and sustainability. Sadly, all too often that means restoring the land after devastating wildfire. That is exactly what Communities for Healthy Forests, Inc. (CHF) an Oregon based non-profit, has set out to do with support from an SFI Conservation and Community Partnership Grant in response to the 2013 Douglas Complex fires. Earlier this week, the group celebrated a day of forest renewal by replanting native seedlings in an educational event that saw 50 fifth graders from Fir Grove Elementary and SFI program participants – Plum Creek and Swanson Group – engaging in the very stewardship that fire affected forests desperately need.
This work is so important to both the ecological integrity of the forest and the local community that work, play, and live in it. When the Douglas Complex and associated wildfires spread across southern Oregon in August of last summer 144,688 acres of forest lands were burned. Despite valiant effort by 3,000 firefighters the forest was devastated. While many groups have been quick to step in and work towards restoring these lands, much of the area has been left untouched leaving it vulnerable to stalled recovery, invasive pests, and more fires. That’s why Communities for Healthy Forests has taken the initiative to put boots on the ground, conducting restoration and recovery monitoring while simultaneously educating folks about why this work is so critical.
“The Douglas Complex fire left profound destruction in its wake, and we will need to be proactive to restore the landscape and help avoid future catastrophic fires,” said CHF Chairman, Lee Paterson one of the founders of CHF. His enthusiasm was echoed by Javier Goirigolzarri, a Certified Forester who works with CHF, “We are thrilled to work with local families and leaders to begin forest restoration, and we’re especially excited about the support from SFI.”
At SFI we are proud to be partnering with CHF and the wonderful tree planting ceremony it supported. We all have a role to play in stewarding and restoring forests for our future – and Communities for Healthy Forests is doing just that. After all it is the least we ca
n do in return for all forests do for us.
Click here to watch a video news segment of the restoration.