Management Demonstration Areas
Mature Forest Management
Much of the forest at Hopkins is a maturing “second growth” forest, naturally regenerated after logging in the 1930’s. Some of these areas are thinned periodically to produce high-value large timber for utility poles and lumber while providing diverse mature forest habitat.
Areas of young forest planted in the 1990’s are managed by thinning and weeding. Thinning young forests prevents overcrowding and allows more daylight for understory plants. The mix of tree species is selected by weeding out overabundant or less desirable species. Invasive weeds such as blackberry, scotch broom, and English holly are controlled with cutting and/or herbicides.
Thinning & Pruning
About 20 acres was planted to Douglas-fir by Howard Hopkins in 1977. Stands grow increasingly dense over time, such that little else grows in their shade. Periodic thinning gives the remaining trees more room to grow and provides for more understory plants. Pruning removes lower branches to improve wood quality and reduce ladder fuels for fire.
The common practice of clearcutting and replanting produces even-aged stands of Douglas-fir. In contrast, the Uneven-aged demonstration area is being converted to a stand of multipleaged (1 to 100 years) and mixed-species trees. First, a skid road system was established to confine the impacts of harvesting. Next, brush and hardwood patches were cleared, and select overstory trees were removed to allow more light to reach the understory. A mix of species are planted following periodic thinning. Western redcedar, western hemlock, grand fir, Douglas-fir, and bigleaf maple now grow in the understory and small openings within the stand. This dynamic system requires periodic entries to manage overstory density, while taking care to minimize damage to the understory trees as they grow up. This process of stand conversion will take more than 40 years to complete.
Small patches are clearcut to generate revenue and create open sunlight to support vigorous growth of regeneration. A mix of Douglas-fir and western redcedar are planted, similar to historic forest types. Natural regeneration of red alder, bigleaf maple, and cherry add to the mix, though these species may also be controlled to prevent overabundance. Slash disposal, site preparation, and ongoing weed control are essential elements of the reforestation process.
Riparian management areas highlight ways to protect water quality and habitat in streamside forests. Examples of drainage structures, erosion control, and fish-friendly stream crossings are featured. Riparian forest management practices are determined as part of the adjacent upland stand management. Predominant areas of mature riparian forest conditions are conserved and protected.