The environmentalists who have dedicated their lives battling loggers to protect the ancient redwood tress of Northern California are now joining the other side. Well, sort of.
Save the Redwoods League is beginning a $5 million plan to cut 10,000 acres of trees in the Redwood National and State Parks. The plan will cut down the thinner trees in dense areas of the forest in order to allow the larger redwoods to flourish.
Much of the land was logged over a century ago and these thinner trees were planted by loggers in the 1960’s. The reseeding done by loggers was too dense, creating too much competition for sunlight and creating a less natural situation in the forest.
The old-growth areas of the redwoods have about 200 trees per acre. In some areas reseeded by loggers, there are 10 times that amount. After the Redwood National park is thinned out, the project will be conducted in the Jedediah Smith and Praire Creek Redwoods state parks.
Many of California’s redwood forests were logged back in the 1800’s and only about 5 percent of the old-growth redwood trees remain. The forests have been revitalized since the Save the Redwoods League was founded in 1918. They have been a crucial part of preserving 214,000 acres of redwood forests.
The project makes sense on many levels and it sets up the redwoods to flourish in the future, but some people see it as problematic. Some claim that when the same organization that has protected the redwoods for a century begin to put chainsaws to them, it sets a bad precedent.
This is a new process for everyone. At the end of the day, the only thing that will fully restore the old-growth redwood forests will be time. But this project will attempt to kickstart that process.