National Geographic : 2009 Oct
and loggers who talk as if they ve discovered the holy grail of redwood management. People like Jim Able, Jim Greig, and Ed Tunheim who have found a way to bring vigor back to this ecosystem---and stay in business at the same time. What they re learning, and how they re applying that knowledge, can serve as a blue- print for the entire redwood range. eir ability to supply large amounts of lumber for humanity and improve ecosystem function is an approach that should be adopted around the world. In brief: ese veteran foresters are carrying out a form of single-tree selection that is more productive in the long term than clear-cutting. Every 10 to 15 years they take about a third of the timber in a stand, going for the least robust trees---the runts, as Jim Able calls them. is creates more open space, allowing the remaining trees to get a greater share of the sunlight, which speeds their growth. Every year the amount and quality of the standing wood increase, and because regeneration happens gradually, the process can proceed for centuries. e advan- tages are twofold: short-term income and a larger payback over the long term. "You can t be greedy or in a rush," Ed Tunheim says. is isn t just about wood. Past damage to ecosystems is being repaired. Sediment is being excavated from streams to restore their original beds, and culverts enlarged to permit natural stream ow. ousands of logs are being placed A glass-plate negative from the 1890s, held by Edie Butler of Humboldt State University, records one of countless fallen giants. Only a fraction of the original redwood forest remains. GLASS PLATE: ERICSON COLLECTION, HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS REPRODUCED AS A NEGATIVE TO SHOW THE GLASS IMAGE AS A POSITIVE.