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Cleaner logging demonstrated

Andy Bourelle

More than 200 people showed up Saturday to learn about and help preserve the forest at the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s inaugural Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day.

Volunteers treated about 20 acres of forest, thinning the parcel to increase tree health and decrease the chance of a wildfire.

“It was a real success. It was a really good experience working with the forest service and all the agencies that pitched in,” said Richard Kentz, event coordinator. “All the different parts of the basin came together, and I think the community got a lot out of it.”

The parcel of land was tractor logged six years ago, and Kentz said it could take up to 50 years for forest soil to recover from tractor logging.

The purpose of Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day was to help thin the forest, show that it can be preserved without using heavy machinery and also to educate the public about forest health.

When trees are too close together, they compete against each other for the same nutrients and water, decreasing the forest’s health. Additionally, latter fuels – or small trees – increase the danger of wildfires.

Although thinning trees is important, tractor logging poses potential dangers to the forest health. The machinery compacts and damages the upper layer of the soil.

The upper layer – an “organic buffer layer” – is the most important part of the soil, according to Kentz, because it absorbs water, retains moisture and prevents erosion.

Volunteer Carla Ennis said the participants enjoyed the work and learned from the experience.

“I know everyone, at the end of the day, really felt a sense of accomplishment,” she said. “Through the course of the day, you could see the forest change. It was really dramatic.”

Kentz said another Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day is slated for next year.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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