Managing Your Forest

Since we are based in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we live in young, geologically active mountains composed of sandstone and slate.  We average about 40 inches of rain per year, most of it falling in the span of three to four months, which makes for a highly erodible landscape.  We often have five or more contiguous months with no appreciable rainfall, so wildfire is a part of the natural environment.

Our ecosystems are primarily redwood forest, oak woodlands, mixed redwood/ Douglas fir and oak/madrone forests.  Knobcone pine occupies the dryer sand-hills and coastal areas see Monterey pines and cypresses.

These lands are home a wide array of indigenous animals, including deer and cougars, coyotes and bobcats, raccoons and skunks, gophers and wood rats.  Our birds range from redtail hawks and great blue herons down to juncos and hummingbirds.  Steelhead, salamanders and newts occupy our streams.

Our lands are under a constant assault from invasive exotic species of plants animals and diseases, including French Broom, Pampas Grass, German Ivy, Sudden Oak Death and potential threats like the Golden Spotted Oak Borer.

These are all aspects we must consider as we weigh our management decisions.

Explore this section for articles on management planning, preparing for and recovering from wildfire, installing and maintaining erosion control measures, identifying and treating tree diseases, learning more about the native and exotic components of your landscape, supporting your native animal life, planting and harvesting your resources, and seeking links to other sources of information when you need more help.

We intend to create articles for the newcomer to forestry as well as the experienced.  We welcome questions, suggestions and stories from our readers about how you manage your lands.