SOUTHWESTERN FORESTS AND NATURAL PROCESSES RESTORATION
In the forests of the Southwest, small trees dominate and comprise the vast majority of the fire risk to communities and the forest — in fact, approximately 90 percent of Southwest forest trees are smaller than 12 inches in trunk diameter. Restoration work within the wildland forest — away from communities — has two main objectives: 1) to mitigate the unnatural fire threat to the forest, and 2) to restore the forest ecosystem so that natural processes, such as fire, may be reintroduced at the landscape scale and over the long term.
The “natural processes restoration approach” proposes a conservative method of restoration, implementing treatments that preserve the greatest amount of the present biological diversity while restoring ecosystem integrity. Developed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Southwest Forest Alliance, this approach has so far been implemented in experimental plots on the Gila Apache-Sitgreaves and Kaibab national forests in New Mexico and Arizona.
Specific goals of the natural processes restoration approach include:
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