Ponderosa pine seedlings.

America's richly diverse forests provide vital products and amenities to our society, including quality wildlife habitat, biodiversity of plant and animal communities, clean water, aesthetic benefits, and recreational opportunities. Timely reforestation following harvest or a major catastrophic event to restore forest cover on denuded lands is often important to maintaining forest ecosystems and deriving associated ecological, social, and economic benefits.

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Planting Yellow-cedar in Southeast Alaska

Posted February 25, 2013

Three year old Alaska yellow-cedar seedlings, an orange hard hat lying beside it for scale.

Three year old Alaska yellow-cedar seedlings.
Three year old Alaska yellow-cedar seedlings.

As one part of a broader conservation and management strategy, the Tongass National Forest will undertake a major yellow-cedar enhancement project this summer. The Forest will inter-plant 70,000 trees on 700 acres of Prince of Wales Island, in suitable areas to supplement stocking levels of yellow-cedar that will regenerate naturally. Suitable planting areas are being determined by using the best available science that links snow pack, elevation, aspect and soil productivity and drainage to the long-term survival of the species.

Forest Service researchers believe that climate change has been the primary factor in the decline of this species, which thrives in a wet, cool environment like the Southeast Alaska coastal rainforest. The yellow-cedar is prized as one of the finest timber trees in the world, while it also bears great importance in Alaska Native art and culture.