2H – Revegetation of Disturbed Areas
Reduce erosion and prevent sedimentation by rapid revegetation of areas disturbed by timber operations
- Revegetate disturbed areas (using seeding or planting) promptly after completion of earth-disturbing activity. Local growing conditions will dictate the timing for establishment of vegetative cover.
- Use mixes of species and treatments developed and tailored for successful vegetation establishment for the region or area.
- Concentrate revegetation efforts initially on priority areas such as disturbed areas in Streamside Management Areas (SMAs) or the steepest areas of disturbance near drainages.
A recently harvested or burned site is highly susceptible to erosion and should be protected immediately with a combination of new vegetation and more temporary controls to hold soil in place while the plantings take hold. The following are the major considerations for site revegetation:
- Plant selection
For revegetation efforts, native species should be selected as much as possible. Mixtures of seeds adapted to the site and annuals should be used to allow natural revegetation of native understory plants. Mixtures should include annual grasses (for quick growth), perennial grasses (for their better root systems), and legumes (for nitrogen). Especially preferable are species that have adequate soil-binding properties to control erosion. Seeds should be planted immediately after soil disturbance and a minimum of 6 weeks before periods of drought or frost. Fall seeding is best. Native woody plants planted in rows, cordons, or wattles are best on steep slopes.
- Timing and methodology
Seeding should be done as soon as is practical after soil disturbance, preferably before rain, to increase the chance of successful establishment. Seeding can be done by hand or vehicle or by hydraulic seeding from a pump truck or trailer. T he seed should be evenly distributed to provide continuous cover. Soil should be mulched as needed to hold seeds in place, reduce the erosive impact of raindrops, and to preserve soil moisture. Fertilizer should be applied according to product labels and site-specific conditions. Fertilizers may be necessary in severely disturbed subsoils and cutbanks. Soils should be tested for nutrient content to ensure that the proper amount of fertilizer is applied.
Once areas are seeded, they should be protected from grazing and vehicle damage until plants are well established. All seeded areas should be inspected for failures and repairs, and reseeding should be accomplished within the planting season. During non-growing seasons, temporary, interim surface stabilization methods should be used to control surface erosion. These can include mulching, spraying bare soils with tackifiers, or covering exposed areas with turf reinforcement mats.
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, State Nurseries provide native species seedlings for purchase by landowners for specific purposes, including reforestation, erosion control and watershed protection, windbreaks, Christmas trees, fuel wood, and approved research projects.
- California Exotic Pest Plant Council, Invasive species inventory categorizes non-native invasive plants that threaten the state's wildlands. Categorization is based on an assessment of the ecological impacts of each plant. The Inventory represents the best available knowledge of invasive plant experts in the state. However, it has no regulatory authority, and should be used with full understanding of the limitations described below.
- Shasta County University of California Cooperative Extension, Recovering from Wildfire: This publication covers emergency resources, how to assess damages, erosion control measures, road protection, salvage harvesting, and forest regeneration. There are tips on contracting with a registered professional forester and a short discussion of tax implications. There is also a section on cost-share programs and a list of contacts. Request a copy from Shasta County University of California Cooperative Extension, Forestry, 1851 Hartnell Avenue, Redding, CA 96002 (Telephone: 530-224-4902) or call the California Stewardship Helpline (Telephone: 1-800-PET-TREE).
- USDA Forest Service, Evaluating the Effectiveness of Postfire Rehabilitation Treatments evaluated of the effectiveness of burned area emergency rehabilitation (BAER) treatment that covered 470 fires and 321 BAER projects, from 1973 through 1998 in USDA Forest Service Regions 1 through 6. A literature review, interviews with key regional and USDA Forest Service BAER specialists, analysis of burned area reports, and review of USDA Forest Service and district monitoring reports were used in the evaluation.
- USEPA, Watershed Academy Web: Forestry Best Management: Revegetation and Forest Regeneration is a forestry management module, with a series of interactive fact sheets on forestry management practices. The Web site includes diagrams, photographs, and review questions.
USEPA. 2002. National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Forestry. Pre-Final Draft. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Washington, DC.
Weaver, W., and D. Hagans. 1994. Handbook for Forest and Ranch Roads: A Guide For Planning, Designing, Constructing, Reconstructing, Maintaining and Closing Wildland Roads. Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Ukiah, CA.