Hand-thinning timber in the Darby Ranger District

Focal Region: Western Wildlands

Focal Landscape: Northern Rocky Mountains

Location: Darby, Montana; Darby Ranger District, Bitterroot National Forest

Cost estimate of completed project: $290,250; NWTF contribution: In-kind through technical design and grant writing assistance

Overview: The Darby Ranger District is hand-thinning timber and using prescribed fire on 645 acres of the Como Horselick Project to reduce fuel loads and restore historic ponderosa pine savannah. In 2018, 445 acres were thinned and 120 acres burned. Remaining thinning and burning is scheduled through 2020.

Description of work:

  • Reduce density of Douglas fir through hand thinning and prescribed fire
  • Re-establish low intensity fire to stimulate growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs for wildlife forage
  • Reduce risk of high intensity wildfire by reducing fuel
  • Stimulate growth and regeneration of quaking aspen for forage and hiding cover

Species targeted: mule deer, elk, wild turkeys and ruffed grouse

Partners: Bitterroot National Forest, Darby Ranger District; Mule Deer Foundation; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

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