Conservation at Work: Managing Tree Stand Increases Land Health

Taylor Hillman USDA-NRCS

Did you know that too many trees on one piece of land can be a bad thing? Neither did John Chandler of Camino, California according to his comments in the ‘Forest Stand Improvement’ episode of NRCS’s Conservation at Work video series.

Mariposa County District Conservationist Robyn Smith said it’s true and among other issues can lead to unhealthy conditions and potential fire risks. Having too many trees and bushes in a relatively small area can create significant plant stress as they all compete for the same resources. The type of growth that typically occurs when the area is overcrowded leads to unhealthy trees that lend themselves to exacerbating wildfire conditions.   

“The fire burns much hotter and much more intensely and much more quickly than it would otherwise,” Smith noted. “So, it is a greater hazard that we can reduce greatly by managing our forests and reducing those threats and opening it up.”

While many landowners may have good intentions in wanting to allow every single tree and bush to just grow as they are, the best strategy to produce healthy and vibrant forests is to address overcrowding. Smith said that NRCS has a host of assistance and outreach programs available to landowners.

“It’s important for people to know that forest management planning is alive and well in Mariposa County and throughout the entire state of California. Regardless of the pandemic, our forests continue to grow, and management is a key goal for NRCS and for our partners,” said Smith. “We want people to know that we’re there for them.”

Smith joins AgNet West to talk about forest stand management, in reference to the video and provided some details about the numerous ways NRCS can help landowners manage their trees to create a healthier and safer environment.

Listen to Smith’s full interview.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation at Work video series documents how producers and landowners are using individual practices to improve their land and save time and money. Each episode tackles one subject in a short and easy to understand format. Watch the episodes at Farmers.Gov and contact your local NRCS office for more information.