Montana Forests shelter wildlife, clean our air and water, store carbon, moderate Earth’s climate and provide places where we work and play. But our forests are in trouble. A century of intensive logging
THE ROLE OF FIRE
For thousands of years,
In the moist forests dominated by western larch and Douglas-fir,
However, about a century ago, people started to see fire as the enemy. We rushed to fight any and all blazes. Ironically, snuffing out these periodic burns put forests at greater risk for severe, large-scale fires. Today, many drier, low-elevation forests have become much more crowded than they were
CUTTING TREES TO SAVE THE FOREST
While we need to restore fire to its vital role in our forests, right now, some fires will cause extreme damage. Current conditions can fuel unnatural
LEADING WITH SCIENCE
Our forest restoration work is on the cutting edge. Questions remain such as “Where and how much do we thin?
How Forest Thinning Changes Fire
The impact and role of fire
Thinning these forests restores their more natural,
Successful forest restoration requires a new way of thinking about forestry and sufficient funds to execute. This can be especially challenging to implement on our public land. One way TNC is helping advance restoration is by fostering cooperation between public and private landowners on cross-boundary projects We are exploring ways to make the work pay for itself through productive use of the small trees that are thinned. This might take the form of biomass energy or specialty wood products. We’re bringing together folks who use the forest for recreation, sharing their ideas for the future. We are also working together with state, federal and local crews to build everyone’s capacity to use both thinning and prescribed fire to restore our forests.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We are excited to be a part of returning Montana Forests to health and productivity, but, public partnership and support and sufficient, and funding, progress will be slow. Please do what you can by supporting public policy that funds restoration and by making a gift to TNC to ensure our work keeps pace with the threats.
More ways to act:
- If you live near a forest, make sure your home is Fire Wise.
- Support land protection in forests so they can remain functioning as forests.
MAKING IT WHOLE
Our forest work is focused on the Crown of the Continent—a 10-million acre mosaic of habitat where wildlife such as grizzly bears, lynx and wolverines still roam. During the settlement of the West, key sections of this wild land were carved up into a checkerboard of public and private ownership that threatened to destroy the natural integrity of the Crown. Roads bisected vital migration routes and unsustainable logging and development disturbed important habitat. Since 1997, TNC has purchased more than half a million acres within the Crown—reconnecting the fragmented landscape for the wildlife and people whose lives and livelihoods it enriches. Over the years, we’ve transferred much of that acreage to public ownership, a process that will continue. For now, we are hard at work restoring our remaining forestland so that, when we do pass it on to new owners, it will be in better shape than when we began.