Back in the 1850s, the Mendocino Coast was blessed with what seemed to be endless miles of old-growth redwood forests. Redwood is incredibly resistant to disease, pests and fire, making it a dream material for building the then-blooming cities of Northern California.
Unfortunately, what took thousands of years for nature to create, human beings reduced to zero in a matter of 150 years. Nature paid a stiff price for human progress.
The story is not entirely grim, however. With isolation and ample rain, Mendocino’s redwood and Douglas fir forests continue to grow and are extremely resilient. Redwood trees re-sprout from stumps and fallen trees. Douglas fir seedlings grow in large numbers where forests have been harvested.
Continued logging without rest, however, leaves a dense and tangled mess of small, unhealthy trees, all fighting for water and sunlight. Many of these trees grow for a few years, but are eventually shaded out and die, leaving the forest disease-, pest- and fire-prone.
The Mendocino Land Trust is working to restore these unhealthy forests, by thinning out dead and unhealthy trees, leaving the dominant trees to grow larger, soaking up the sun and water. These practices, all currently conducted by hand, are restoring forest health and vigor for the land’s animal species to thrive in and to create awe-inspiring natural beauty for future human generations to enjoy.