Metolius Preserve Forest Restoration

Details on the restoration of native ponderosa pine forests at the Metolius Preserve.


In 2004, the Land Trust hired Darin Stringer of Pacific Stewardship to conduct a thorough inventory of forest resources at the Metolius Preserve. This inventory then provided a basis--and a prescription--for future stewardship of the property. 

Our goal is to restore old-growth ponderosa pine forest conditions which in turn provide important habitat for white-headed woodpeckers and other wildlife.

A mowing machine was used to remove brush that has grown in the absence of fire. Photo: Land Trust.
A mowing machine was used to remove brush that has grown in the absence of fire. Photo: Land Trust.
In 2005, Pacific Stewardship began to implement their forest restoration plan. That winter and the following year, more than 500 acres in the southern section of the Preserve were thinned and mowed.

In 2010, with new funding from the Deschutes-Ochoco Resource Advisory Committee in place, Pacific Stewardship continued with forestry work at the Preserve. In the fall of 2010, crews hand cut 140 acres in the northern section of the Preserve. The goals of this work were to: remove competing small fir trees to benefit the remaining ponderosa and larch, reduce fire hazard, maintain important forest connectivity, and enhance protection of the Camp Sherman community.

Creating Snags for wildlife

Pacific Stewardship has also helped the Land Trust with another forest restoration goal: to create more snags at the Metolius Preserve. These dead standing trees are important habitat features for woodpeckers and a host of secondary cavity nesters (species such as bats, owls, squirrels and other birds).  Snags tend to be rare in secondary ponderosa pine forests like the one at the Metolius Preserve. 

Marking trees. Photo: Land Trust.
Marking trees. Photo: Land Trust.

To increase the number of snags at the Preserve, we’ve experimented with three different snag-creation methods: cutting the tops off of trees, girdling trees with a chainsaw, and baiting trees with pheromones that attract bark beetles.  (Read all about this experiment in our Fall 2008 newsletter.)

On-going monitoring studies conducted by University of Oregon reveal that the topped trees and baited trees are getting the most use by wildlife.  Students and other volunteers have witnessed lots of foraging woodpecker activity around the beetle-killed trees and have documented active white-headed woodpecker nest cavities in several topped trees.


Pacific Stewardship is a forestry consulting firm dedicated to planning and implementing sustainable and restorative forestry. They lead forest management activities on all Land Trust properties. Most recently, they assisted with juniper thinning at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and Rimrock Ranch and aspen restoration at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve.