In the Real World:
This case study has been provided by Sustainable Northwest.
Colleen Krieger was raised on a cattle ranch. When she and her husband Wayne bought a 310 acre property in southwestern Oregon in 1973, they planned to clearcut and start a ranch of their own. Then they began talking to other people about forestry practices and getting other ideas. “Now,” says Colleen, “although we do run some cattle, we have more trees and fewer cattle than we expected.”
The land they bought had been logged in the 1940s and 1950s, with no follow-up planting. They found brush patches, lots of hardwoods, and, in other areas, densely-packed firs. The Kriegers sought help, and by the late 1970s, they were working with a state forester and their local extension agent to return their forest to a healthy state. They started with a management regime that included a few small clearcuts of six to 38 acres, regeneration cuts, site conversion, and thinning. In 1992, that work was formalized under a comprehensive Forest Stewardship Plan that has guided their management ever since.
“We had to convert the brush patches, which were full of twisted material,” Colleen says. “We thinned and replanted Douglas fir, and nature added white fir, alders, and cedars. We added some redwoods to see how they would do. The Port Orford cedars were not doing much until we thinned the Douglas fir, then they came in as an understory crop.”
Wayne & Colleen Krieger
95702 Skyview Ranch Road
Gold Beach, Oregon 97444
The Kriegers perform 95 percent of the work on their land themselves. Over the years, they have improved the condition of streams and riparian areas. Their open meadows provide habitat for elk and deer, and wild, fruit-bearing plants offer food for wildlife forage. “We went from having hardly any elk to having them break down a fence every now and again,” Colleen says without annoyance.
For three years the Kriegers raised salmon fingerlings in their pond as part of the Salmon Trout Enhancement Program; the fingerlings were used to repopulate nearby Euchre Creek. They maintain hiking trails on their land which are open to public schools and youth groups, and they conduct tours of their operation for local and national organizations.
Yet their focus remains in timber management, and in 1993 they were awarded the National Tree Farmer Award. The Kriegers sell small quantities of timber, and sometimes ornamental greens. But, says Colleen, “we don’t make a living off of it. Our main goal is to regrow the forest for our children and grandkids. The kids are being taught to manage the forest, respect its values, and take only what’s damaged or needs to be thinned.
“Nature doesn’t grow monocultures,” Colleen continues, “and it teaches us a lot of lessons. We’ve been studying how it does things like thinning, pruning, and leaving wood on the hillsides to provide moisture. Management puts these things in a better time frame.”
From “Founders of a New Northwest 2000” published by Sustainable Northwest,
620 SW Main, Suite 112, Portland, OR 97205-3037. www.sustainablenorthwest.org
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