Photo: Land Trust.

Land Trust Completes Juniper Thinning at Rimrock Ranch

Jul 01, 2024 by Kiyomi Appleton Gaines
The Land Trust has completed another phase of juniper thinning at Rimrock Ranch.

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The Land Trust has completed another phase of juniper thinning at Rimrock Ranch.

As in many parts of Central Oregon, juniper trees at Rimrock Ranch now grow in much denser stands than they did in the past. Our continued goal in forest restoration work is to mimic historic forest conditions and improve habitat for native plants and animals, which also reducing wildfire danger at our Preserves and for our neighbors. Juniper thinning is also part of our strategy to increase the amount of available water for native grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers. 

This year at Rimrock Ranch, we thinned 203 acres. We kept old-growth juniper trees on ridge tops and rocky outcrops, mimicking historical wildfire patterns. Areas dominated by ponderosa pine had a significant number of junipers removed to help strengthen the ponderosa pine stands. We also worked to ensure that soils and plants in the thinned areas were protected and overall disturbance was limited. In addition to old-growth juniper trees, we left small stands of juniper in place as cover for wildlife like elk and mule deer. Cut trees were piled to have a chance to dry out before burning later this winter when weather conditions are favorable and permit us to do so safely.

 

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