Healthy Forests Program
Bainbridge Island’s forest landscape is a complex matrix of enduring, replanted, and naturally regenerated trees. While some legacy trees remain on the island, most of today’s trees were established after one, two, or even three rounds of commercial logging. Logged lands were densely replanted with Douglas fir for the purpose of harvesting again, and seeds resting in fallow fields began to germinate and grow. Both scenarios have created the concentrated tree stands we see on Bainbridge Island today.
Lydia Roush, Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District’s Natural Resource Manager, makes the acquaintance of famous island resident Bill Taft.
Healthy forest ecosystems follow typical patterns of succession where open areas are colonized by shrubs, followed by deciduous trees, and finally, coniferous trees establish and outcompete the early colonizing species. Healthy forests also experience periods of disturbance that often remove pockets of older trees, allowing younger trees and less shade-tolerant species to grow and thrive. Historical logging practices, human development, and lack of management have interrupted regular forest regimes, resulting in dense, unhealthy tree stands.
To reduce competition for resources, create open areas that enhance understory and mid-story growth, and grow trees that are healthy and strong, land managers can implement a host of techniques that mimic natural processes and reinstate forest functions, including their ability to provide habitat, sequester carbon, intercept rain, and stabilize soils.
Curious about Healthy Forests?
Stay tuned to learn more, or play an active role in preserving our island’s resources by volunteering with us!