Maintaining Essential Habitat

The health of forests cannot be measured by trees alone, but must take into account the wildlife that inhabits them.

The North Coast of California offers some unique wildlife habitats, which require special attention.

In 1990, we hired a wildlife biologist to study the impact of timber operations on wildlife in our forests -- particularly the northern spotted owl. This groundbreaking scientific research and monitoring program led to the development of an effective means to sustain populations of spotted owls during timber operations.

As a result of this pioneering research, our California timberlands were the first privately owned timberlands in the nation to be awarded a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the northern spotted owl by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An HCP is a voluntary forest management plan developed in cooperation with the landowner and numerous governmental agencies. HCPs provide habitat protection beyond that required by current state forest practices regulations. In June of 2007, we successfully completed an Aquatic HCP covering several aquatic species on our lands in California.

These ground-breaking Habitat Conservation Plans, which incorporate the best of science and resource management techniques, are the foundation for our approach to manage our lands on a landscape scale. They are summarized in our comprehensive Forest Management Plan. We want to look across our landscape and employ rigorous standards and practices to enhance and protect habitats for numerous species, protect water quality, mitigate the impacts of harvesting, and grow healthy and productive forests.

Our natural resource professionals have been engaged in research for decades assessing and guiding our forest management and sustainable production. It is important to understand that no one harvesting method is appropriate for all areas and forest types. Through their studies our scientists have found that wildlife, in particular northern spotted owls, can thrive in areas where there is a mosaic of habitats across the landscape. This mixture of tree sizes and ages combined with stream buffers and other habitat set-asides create a complex landscape where the wildlife and fisheries have the opportunity to prosper.

On a good portion of our lands, we have found that even-aged management (the removal of most trees in openings from 5-30 acres), where suitable and carefully applied, is an effective means of ensuring prompt reforestation and rapid growth of new forests. This is especially true for growing Douglas-fir and redwood – species that need lots of direct sunlight to grow most rapidly. Even-aged management also creates the important mosaic of complex habitat for wildlife and fisheries.

Below are reports that company scientists produced to aid us in evaluating the proper forest management on our lands:

Forest management elements not covered by our Habitat Conservation Plan, such as silviculture and other practices, are provided for in the California Forest Practices Rules. See this webpage for more information.

Green Diamond Resource Company California Timberlands Management Plans

Sustainable Forestry Initiative