Cambria’s Forest Committee will explore what kind of organization a Forest Management District should have to keep the region’s Monterey pine forest healthy and safe.
The topic will be discussed at the committee’s Aug. 12 meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. at Rabobank in Cambria.
Cambria’s Forest Management Plan was adopted in 2002 but never funded. Forming a Forest Management District will provide the administrative and funding framework. With that in place, the district will be able to contract with a forest ecologist. That person’s job would be to assess problem areas in the forest, implement projects to improve the number of healthy trees and reduce the risk of fire in the forest.
A healthy, safe forest will also keep insurance rates low.
The drought has stressed the rare local Monterey pines, making them subject to bug infestation and disease. Despite the losses of older trees, young trees continue to take hold and grow.
“Pine tree mortality is in the overstory,” said Alan Peters, Cal Fire unit forester. “The understory is doing well.”
Several models of forest management districts are available. The Cambria Community Services District could oversee the district, or it could be under San Luis Obispo County purview. Alternatives will be discussed at the Aug. 12 meeting. The goal is to place a proposal on the November 2016 ballot to form the district and begin collecting a small tax or fee to fund its operation.
Replacing trees now can help the forest regenerate in the future. Small trees planted now or in the fall can survive. A small amount of nonpotable water when the seedling is planted will help the tree get started.
“We should be planting young trees now,” said committee treasurer Laura Swartz. “We don’t need to wait until the drought is declared over. That’s a political decision. Trees planted now can survive.”
The Forest Committee works with Greenspace, which has 1,000 young trees ready to plant, and Growing Grounds in San Luis Obispo, which has 2,000 trees ready to plant. Contact committee chair Crosby Swartz at 203-5134 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a location suitable for planting trees.
Hundreds of dead trees have already been removed, and more are scheduled for removal. Dead tree locations are good candidates for replanting. If a large tree grew there before, it’s a good place for a new tree to be planted.
Cambria’s Forest Committee is a 501(c)(3) public benefit nonprofit organization. Its directors meet the second Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 p.m. at Rabobank. The public is welcome at all meetings, which begin with an “Ask the Experts” session. Bring questions about how to manage the trees around us and get answers.