Forest Service to plant in burn area as soon as next week |

Forest Service to plant in burn area as soon as next week

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Depending on soil conditions, the U.S. Forest Service may begin planting seedlings in the Angora fire area as soon as next week, said spokeswoman Cheva Heck in a Wednesday statement.

Reforesting the area with native species such as Jeffrey Pine, sugar pine, incense cedar and red fir will speed up progress toward healthier forest conditions, Heck said.

Little to no natural regeneration of conifers would occur in the high severity burn areas without the planting.

The Forest Service will allow natural regeneration in some areas and permit other areas to return to a shrubby chaparral habitat. No replanting would occur in riparian areas or aspen stands, allowing species such as aspen, alder and willow to regenerate, Heck said.

Concerns have been expressed that the planting would be too dense and create conditions similar to those that existed before the Angora fire, but a 30 to 60 percent mortality rate of the seedlings will require planting at much higher densities than eventually desired.

Plans call for the project area to contain an average density of about 50 trees per acre, with a more open canopy and older and larger trees than before the fire, Heck said.

Planting should take about three weeks. To increase the seedlings’ chance of survival, crews will remove competing vegetation for up to three feet surrounding the seedlings during planting and as needed during future years.

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