Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest – Crown Royal Restoration
The Crown Royal Reforestation project spans a large majority of the Crown Royal project area that was harvested in 2018. Due to past management practices, exotic diseases, and fire suppression in the last 120 years, the area has become dominated by late seral tree species that are fire intolerant and more susceptible to natural disturbances than early seral species. Through regeneration harvests followed by planting, we are able to remove less desirable and fire-intolerant tree species and then replace them with longer-lived fire-tolerant tree species that were historically dominant in the area before fire suppression and disease took their toll.
Continuing the trend of regeneration activities in this area gives the forest a better balance in age classes and a diverse species composition, which is slowly returning the area to within its historic range of variability affecting a more resistant, resilient forest.
In the project area, fires that occurred in 1910 and 1934 and the introduction of white pine blister rust have created a homogeneous age class and species composition which has become highly susceptible to insect and disease change agents due to its current age. Mortality in grand fir and Douglas-fir dominated stands is increasing from root disease, Douglas-fir bark beetle, and grand fir engraver. In 2015, some of the proposed treatment areas were burned causing extensive tree mortality. Insects are invading stands within and outside of areas burned in 2015. Currently, a higher percentage of grand fir and Douglas-fir exist than natural long-term disturbances patterns would have created and that would have dominated these habitat types in the absence of historical disturbance events. Grand fir and Douglas-fir are more susceptible to insects and diseases, and grand fir is less likely to survive intense wildfires, than early several species such as ponderosa pine, western larch, and western white pine.
Young forest habitat is lacking in this landscape, while the quality of available habitat for sensitive and old growth-associated species has declined. Patches of young forest that do exist are smaller with edges that are straighter and more even than natural disturbances would have created.
This vast, diverse area is managed to provide a variety of recreational activities to many of the surrounding communities.
Improving watershed function and stream conditions by reducing road densities and repairing existing roads and culverts to reduce sediment and improve drainage is needed. New system roads would be constructed to provide a long-term transportation system while reducing roads located within riparian habitat conservation areas.
western white pine
Planting program information with usage permission provided by One Tree Planted