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Our new ReCONEissance story map and Survey123 app is LIVE! Our agency and private partners need your help to support their cone monitoring efforts. Download the cone monitoring app HERE. View the full story map HERE.

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Achieving successful reforestation is critical to restore the growing backlog of California's fire damaged forests.  Recommended practices have been developed as a result of 50 years of concentrated effort to improve reforestation success and reduce costs under the difficult conditions present in most of California.

Reforestation is a complex, multi-year process involving a sequence of seed collection, soil preparation, planting, and seedling maintenance. Because reforesting burned forestland depends on natural precipitation and not costly irrigation systems, proper planning and implementation of these time-sensitive steps are required. 

To successful reforest an area, planning should begin as soon as stand mortality occurs.  Careful evaluation of each site and availability of locally adapted native seeds must be identified. If seeds are available, then foresters can prescribe treatments for the site and the identify quantity of seedlings of each species needed. Over the next two years, the forester may then plan and implement site preparation, plant nursery grown seedlings, and arrange follow-up treatments as needed.  Careful control of competing vegetation results in the retention of sufficient soil moisture for excellent seedling survival rates, even on very dry sites during prolonged droughts, when high quality, locally adapted native seedlings are planted properly. Reforestation without proper planning and implementation of each time-critical reforestation step will result in a waste of money, time, and valuable conifer seed.

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) publications office has released a new book, “Reforestation Practices for Conifers in California”. This manual presents a planning process, with a detailed explanation of the options at each step to provide landowners and managers with the why, where, who, when, what, and how of getting sustainable forests back into California's diverse landscape. Significant lessons have been learned since the last reforestation manual for California was published in 1971. The 16 co-authors of this new book present the best practices gleaned from their combined experience of planting over 100 million conifer seedlings on hundreds of thousands of acres of public and private land in the state. Funding for the preparation of this book was provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Vegetation Management Conference, and private donors. 

California Reforestation Manual

Chapter 1
Reforesting California
Herb Baldwin, William Stewart, Sari Sommarstrom
Chapter 2 Investing in Reforestation
William Stewart, Richard Standiford, Susie Kocher, Jeff Webster
Chapter 3 Planning a Reforestation Project
Jeff Webster, Ed Fredrickson, Bob Rynearson
Chapter 4 Site Assessment
Jeff Webster, Ed Fredrickson, Bob Rynearson
Chapter 5 Seeds
Teri Griffis, Laurie Lippitt
Chapter 6
Thomas Jopson, Mark Gray
Chapter 7
Site Preparation
Mark Gray, Jeff Webster
Chapter 8
Vegetation Management
Ed Fredrickson, Mark Gray
Chapter 9 Planting
Bob Rynearson
Chapter 10
Precommercial Thinning in CA Forests
Martin Ritchie, John-Pascal Berrill
Chapter 11 Damage
Don Owen, Greg Giusti
Chapter 12
Reforestation of Area Burned by Large Wildfires
Mark Gray