Responsible Timber

 August 28, 2015

Over the past few decades many people have stopped thinking of logging as environmental evil, and have come to see that responsible timber can be an ecologically sound business. Plus, each tree harvested represents a quantity of carbon sequestered and space for a new tree to sequester more. When habitats are respected and logging practices are considerate, businesses like Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Companies can actually improve the land that they manage.Quinones_D_Scotia 004_2015_4888-Edit copy_WEBThrough comprehensive management plans, reports and analyses, Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) and Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) implement responsible timber harvesting policies that take both local communities and economic partners into account.

Rather than clear cut forests for timber as their predecessors had, HRC and MRC take selective harvests to avoid causing undue damage to the ecosystems their business depends on.

One explicit intention of HRC and MRC is preserving habitats for Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets, endangered sea birds that nest on mossy Redwood branches. This is accomplished in large part by conservation areas, which are not harvested, and also by a ban on the harvest of ‘old growth’ trees, which are Douglas-firs and Redwoods over certain diameters.

CohoSalmonBabyThe two companies also work to reduce sediment levels in waterways, which can increase when roads are built to transport timber. By monitoring waterways on their land, HRC and MRC can take on informed projects to improve those ecosystems. Some of these projects utilize timber debris to create pools that provide ideal waters for species like Coho and Chinook Salmon.

This effort to balance economic incentives with ecological concerns has earned the MRC and HRC Forestry Stewardship Council certification. More importantly, real results of the company’s responsible timber practices are coming to light. Earlier this summer, 60 to 70 juvenile Coho Salmon, another endangered species, were found in a creek and one of its tributaries on MRC land. Though this small return of the Coho is not a certain sign of recovery for the species, their arrival is an indication that the environmental policies of MRC and HRC are providing opportunities for life to return to the waterways they manage. And, considering the several prior decades that Coho were absent from the area for and water stress concerns in California, this is encouraging news to propel the MRC to keep up their conservation efforts.Quinones_D_Scotia 002_2015_4812-Edit copy_WEB (1)

With around 440,000 acres of California between them, Humboldt Redwood Company and Mendocino Redwood Company are responsible for logging amid uncountable ecosystems. If they continue on their current responsible timber path, managing considerately with respect for surrounding habitats, the species they aim to restore will hopefully make it off of threatened and endangered species lists.

If you’d like to learn more about responsible timber and the efforts of Humboldt Redwood Company and Mendocino Redwood Company, visit their site, which has detailed descriptions of their plans and policies.

-Aidan Kelly

Photo Credit: Mendicino Redwood Company

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