BLM Tree Thinning Treatments Improve Land Health and Reduce Risk of Catastrophic Fire | New
The Bureau of Land Management’s Ely District hand thins select pinyons and junipers on 539 acres of public land in the Kern Mountains near the Utah border, about 50 miles northeast of Utah. Ely, Nev.
Natural resource specialist Kellie Dobrescu said hand thinning is used when pinyon-juniper expansion is less dominant. “This is often called ‘pruning and scattering’ because crews prune and scatter target trees in the treatment area. Non-target tree species, brush, grasses and herbaceous plants are not affected,” Dobrescu said.
The tree thinning treatment, which will continue until mid-April, is part of the Kern Mountains Landscape Restoration Project which, over a period of several years, will treat up to 12,580 acres of an area of 15,725 acres project.
Earlier this fall, the District Fuels Management Team completed hand thinning of pinyon-juniper on 4,362 acres of public land in the Egan Range, about 15 miles southwest of Ely. Also completed, a pruning and dispersal treatment on 3,076 acres in the southern Ruby Mountains, about 50 miles northwest of Ely.
The treatments are part of the Ward Mountain and Long and Ruby Valley watershed restoration projects, respectively. The first, a collaborative effort of BLM, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Ely Ranger District; and Ely Shoshone Tribe, will treat up to nearly 42,700 acres of a 100,000 acre project area. The latter will treat up to 136,000 acres in the Long and Ruby Valley watersheds, which span over 509,250 acres.
Hand thinning is just one treatment method used to eliminate expanding pinyon juniper and improve the development of brush, grasses and herbaceous plants, improving watershed health and wildlife habitat. while reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires in White Pine County.