Why support restoration?
Much preliminary restoration work must happen before we can safely let fire play its natural role in our forest— more thinning, mowing, controlled burning. All these activities, including smoky air caused by controlled burning, can be disruptive, but please remember these benefits. One of the best ways you can help us move forward on our restoration efforts is by helping your family, friends, and area visitors appreciate the benefits of restoration too.
- Safer communities. Forest restoration, including controlled burning, promotes a resilient fire-adapted forest. It helps clear out heavy underbrush. It frees up nutrients and water for remaining trees to grow larger and more fire-tolerant. This reduces the likelihood of out-of-control blazes that pose a threat to our communities and firefighters.
- Improved habitat. Forest restoration means some trees are logged and some are killed by controlled burning. But it also means that water and nutrients are made available for the trees that remain. Understory plants likewise benefit from increased sunlight, nutrients and water. This results in revitalized habitat for the wildlife that depend on the more open conditions maintained by frequent fire.
- Clean, cold water. DCFP restoration projects sometimes include remeandering streams, replacing or removing culverts, or reconnecting floodplains, so natural hydrologic processes can be restored in important watersheds. These projects also often involve restoring native deciduous trees like aspen, willow, and alder along streams, providing shade and important nutrients for streams to keep water cool and food plentiful for fish.
- Added jobs in the forest products industry. Forest restoration involves thinning small- and medium- sized trees to achieve a forest density similar to the days when fire played its natural role. Harvesting these trees creates work for our local loggers and millworkers, and products that contribute to the local forest products industry and our regional economy. Whenever possible, the smallest trees are processed into products ranging from charcoal briquettes to wood pellets, or are made available as local firewood for heating Central Oregon homes.
- Less disruption for visitor-reliant businesses. No one wants to spend summer vacation where communities are threatened by fire and the air is clogged with smoke for weeks on end. Unnaturally large wildfires burning out of control have a major impact on recreation and hospitality businesses. Scientific research has shown that forest restoration and controlled burning can help reduce such risks.
- Potentially reducing smoke from high-severity wildfires. Often, smoke from wildfires is beyond anyone’s control, especially when it blows in from fires outside our region. We will never eliminate smoke entirely. And some smoke in the air is often a sign that important forest restoration work is getting done near by. However, as forest restoration becomes established practice throughout the West, we can hope one result will be fewer days of heavy smoke.