The Value of a Resilient Forest
Mt. Tam’s forests are beautiful and vital ecosystems. For thousands of years, they have been home to the Coast Miwok people and the mountain’s diverse wildlife, from woodrats to bobcats. We escape to them to hike trails and connect with nature.
The natural processes that occur in forests provide benefits for us all. Forest grounds allow rain to infiltrate, preventing erosion and providing clean water. Trees drink in carbon dioxide, sequestering carbon and purifying the air. Whether northern spotted owl or human, we all rely on forests for our well-being.
Forests Need our Help
Forests are naturally resilient, they can adapt with nature’s changing conditions and recover from damage, but a combination of disease, drought, and a warming climate has a devastating impact on California forests. You may have noticed dead and dying trees on a hike here in Marin. Diseases such as sudden oak death and pitch pine canker, in combination with high temperatures and lack of rainfall, are damaging our forests and may be creating conditions for extreme wildfire.
Pine Pitch Canker between the Coast Trail and Limantour Road in the Point Reyes National Seashore: 2010 vs. 2018
Left Image: Few of the ~14-year-old bishop pine on the ridge between the Coast Trail and Limantour Road had been infected by pine pitch canker as of 2010.
Right Image: Many of the ~22-year-old bishop pine on the ridge between the Coast Trail and Limantour Road had been infected by pine pitch canker by 2018.
Forest Management Strategy & Treatments
One Tam partners are responding to the urgent need to protect forests and reduce wildfire risk by developing a strategy to help forests maintain their natural resiliency. The Marin Forest Management Strategy will provide a series of informed treatment methods to improve the ecology of Marin forests. These approaches will improve forest habitat and protect biodiversity, while also strategically managing vegetation to reduce “fire fuels” such as dry brush and diseased or dying trees.
Our first task in 2020 is to better understand the distribution and current health of all Marin County forests. We will build on the One Tam Peak Health report, growing our data to determine the ecological benefits and health threats of different forest types. This data will help us decide the best treatments - for example, removing dead trees to reduce fire fuel loads, thinning vegetation impacted by sudden oak death to stop the disease cycle, or selective removal of smaller trees to reduce encroachment into sensitive habitats.
The Marin Forest Health Strategy will be completed in 2022. Check this page to stay up to date. More information on how to get involved coming soon.
Our Resilient Forests work is funded by grants from the California State Coastal Conservancy and California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.