Rose’s Creek Project Update

In addition to prescribed fire, timber management is a key tool for restoration of ecosystems on the Grandfather Ranger District. The Rose’s Creek Project is the first vegetation management project that was planned and is being implemented under the Grandfather Restoration Project. With involvement from collaborators beginning in the early stages of scoping, the project is geared toward restoration of historical conditions, including removal of white pine and planting of shortleaf pines.

This week I was able to join the district’s Timber Sale Administrator to look at the active harvest operation taking place in the upper units. These units are the final units to be harvested in the sale, and are undergoing  “sanitation thinning” to remove undesirable White Pines, Scarlet Oaks, and Virginia Pines while retaining a high basal area. Walking through the harvest unit, I gained a better understanding of sustainable logging practices and the oversight role of the Forest Service in the process. We inspected cut stems to make sure they were marked to be cut, and looked for damage to residual trees and soil resources. Luckily our local loggers are doing a great job!

Loggers move cut trees to the logging deck

Loggers move cut trees to the logging deck

One of the key goals of the CFLR program is to encourage “utilization of forest restoration by-products to offset treatment costs, to benefit local rural economies, and to improve forest health.” Vegetation management projects like the Rose’s Creek Project help to support the local economy by working with small, family-run loggers. The logging company on this sale is based in Morganton, NC.

Elsewhere in the Rose’s Creek Project area, prep-work is being done on units already harvested under a two-aged regeneration and restoration prescription to conduct site-prep prescribed burning to prepare for shortleaf pine plantings in the spring. These areas have a lower basal area to allow light to reach the shade-intolerant shortleaf pine seedlings.

One of the four shortleaf pine restoration units to be burned this fall

One of the four shortleaf pine restoration units

Prescribed burning across all units planned for shortleaf pine restoration will be conducted this fall.