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Tom Bean

Arizona Forests - The Four Forest Restoration Initiative

  • Ponderosa pine forests can frequently be unnaturally dense, setting the scene for catastrophic fire.

    Tom Bean
  • A much more open, natural, and fire resistant forest structure after restoration.

    Tom Bean

The Four Forest Restoration Initiative

The largest restoration project of its kind in the nation is an ambitious effort that will affect 2.4 million acres over the next 20 years.  The effort is vast in scale and has turned forest management on its head, requiring new approaches to planning and implementation, science integration and collaboration.  We intend to meet 4FRI’s ambitious goal of restoring the vast majority of ponderosa pine forests in northern Arizona over the coming 20 years, generating benefits for forest ecosystems, imperiled wildlife species, key watersheds, and at-risk communities across this globally important forest.

Arizona Forests - Our Role

Our Role

The Grand Canyon Trust has been deeply engaged in Arizona forest restoration efforts since 1996.

The Trust has led efforts at the local and state levels, and across the West, to build a science foundation, partnerships, and agreement amongst diverse stakeholders to guide landscape-scale restoration.  We helped launch the Four Forest Restoration Initiative in 2009, and have been playing critical leadership, negotiation, facilitation, and planning roles as the Initiative has progressed. We will continue to ensure that restoration planning is of the highest caliber, that implementation proceeds at pace, and that on-the-ground efforts are well-monitored and re-directed as necessary to ensure that forests and their dependent wildlife across northern Arizona are protected and restored.

Our Solutions Title

Our Solutions

Arizona Forests - Our Solutions

Forest restoration

Restoration project planning and implementation have historically occurred 10,000 acres at a time.  As evidenced by the Rodeo Chediski and Wallow Fires – each of which burned nearly 500,000 acres – this rate of restoration is far from sufficient and endangers invaluable, irreplaceable, and at-risk forests. We are working to accelerate the pace of restoration to 30-50,000 acres per year, and simultaneously expanding the scale of planning to 1 million acres. 

environmental safeguards

Accelerating restoration is the right thing to do for Arizona’s ponderosa pine forests, but restoration activities aren’t risk-free.  Tree thinning and burning can cause soil disturbance, exotic plant species invasion, and degrade habitat for species that have adapted to denser forests.  We demand and help develop and implement safeguards and adaptive management protocols to ensure that restoration activities keep moving these forests in a healthy direction.

Align economics

Historically, forest restoration has cost as much as $1,000 per acre, making restoration in northern Arizona prohibitive.  For landscape-scale ponderosa pine forest restoration, we recognize the need to partner with a wood products industry that can utilize small diameter trees to offset restoration costs, and we also recognize the challenges and risks of such partnerships.  We work to ensure that industry partners support ecologically appropriate restoration.

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