Bohemian Grove NTMP Summary
Bohemian Grove NTMP Summary
This summary is designed to give an overview and explanation of the Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) proposed by the Bohemian Club at its property near Monte Rio, California in Sonoma County known as the Bohemian Grove. NTMPs, which are reviewed and approved by the California Department of Forestry (Cal-Fire) with input from wildlife and water quality regulatory agencies and the public, are routinely used by private landowners in California to responsibly manage timber stands for the long term.
NTMP Purpose and Objectives
There are five primary objectives outlined in the Bohemian Club‘s NTMP. They are:
To reduce the potential for a destructive wildfire that could significantly impact old growth redwood stands at the Bohemian Grove, the Grove‘s recreational camp, the upslope forest ecosystem, the watershed, neighboring property owners and the Russian River community.
To restore to the fullest extent possible the complex multi-age Douglas fir and redwood forest that existed originally on the Bohemian Grove property.
To increase the health, biological diversity and growth potential of the forest at the Bohemian Grove.
To augment tree inventories over time, which will increase carbon sequestration and storage and will reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
To protect and enhance all natural resources at the Bohemian Grove and produce sustainable timber stands.
Protecting the Grove
The Bohemian Grove was originally used as a commercial logging property by its previous owners in the late 1800s. At the time it was acquired by the Club, the Grove had been heavily logged and repeatedly burned to create pasture. In the ensuing decades, it has been allowed to regen er ate with the Club planting 15,000 new redwood seedlings per year.
163 acres comprising the Main Grove and the Upper Bull Barn area contain the only groves of old growth redwood and Douglas-fir trees on the property. These were the only old growth groves not cut by the previous owner in the late 19th century. This area has been removed from coverage under the NTMP and is now protected in per petuity through a conservation easement with the Rocky Mountain Elk Founda tion, meaning that the trees in this area are off limits to commercial harvesting.
The 2,300 acres subject to harvesting under the NTMP pose the greatest fire danger, primarily because this area has been historically under-managed. The NTMP area is currently a second-growth forest with only scattered residual red wood and Douglas-fir. The tanoak, a shrubby type of tree, has proliferated, creating over-crowded forest conditions. Sudden Oak Death, a forest disease affecting North Coast forests, is killing many of the tanoak trees on the property which is creating increasingly dangerous forest fire conditions.
Through out the proposed hill slopes on the Bohemian Grove, the dense crowns of second growth trees, primarily tanoak and Douglas-fir, have canopy closure levels of 80 to 100 per cent. These closed crown conditions create not only significant fire risk but also prevent sun light from reaching the forest floor, stunting the development of natural forest regeneration, particularly red wood trees, and wildlife habitat.
Supporting Points and Authorities
The Bohemian Club"s NTMP has been crafted in consultation with a variety of environmental experts, professional foresters, and experts in the science of reducing fire hazard. Forest management professionals who have reviewed the NTMP and support it include Professor Stephen Sillett, the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University; Professor Kevin O‘Hara, professor of silviculture at the University of California at Berkeley; and Professor William Libby, professor emeritus of forestry and genetics at the University of California at Berkeley. All three of these experts have written Cal-Fire explaining their support for the NTMP.
A number of fire officials have toured the Bohemian Grove and support the NTMP. They include Cal-Fire Captains Deanna Bax man and Jim Moore; retired Cal-Fire Captain Ed Poe who fought the 1978 Creighton Ridge Fire in Sonoma County; former state director of Cal-Fire, Jerry Partain; Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman; and the Sonoma County Deputy Chief Fire Marshal, Jack Rosvear. These fire officials have expressed serious concern about the risk of a fire either starting within the Bohemian Grove or spreading to it from the surrounding communities and all have been very supportive of the proactive efforts being taken by the Bohemian Club to reduce fire hazard on the property including the management proposed by the NTMP.
Just outside of the Bohemian Grove, fire officials have noted that illegal camp fires made in the neighboring Dutch Bill Creek area could migrate to the Bohemian Grove and ignite a large fire there. With out proper forest management, the Bohemian Grove, in these experts‘ opinion, will continue to provide a large fuel source that could sustain an uncontrollable wildfire.
The proposed restoration plan included in the NTMP for the Bohemian Grove forests will make this property more fire-resistant and will provide better spacing to recreate old growth forest conditions of larger red wood and Douglas-fir. Wildlife protection and habitat creation are also priorities of the NTMP. The resulting restored forests will be more structurally diverse, and are expected to create improved wildlife habitat conditions for large tree dependent species such as the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.
In order to restore the forests, they must be thinned, removing primarily Douglas-fir and tanoak and replanting with redwood. An annual aver age of 700,000 board-feet of timber is proposed for harvest ing over the first 10 years of the NTMP, which is a very conservative harvest level and is the equivalent of only 1.5% of the total inventory of timber. The proposed sustained yield harvest rate is only 60% of the re-growth rate during the first 60-year period; with growth exceeding har vest at this rate, inventories of red wood and Douglas-fir will increase dramatically under this NTMP to a level that is nearly double the current inventory during this period. An increase in tree inventory is expected to boost carbon sequestration in this forest and remove more than 254,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere over 100 years. All old growth redwood trees are protected by provisions of the NTMP and will never be cut.
The NTMP as proposed by the Bohemian Grove offers a balanced approach to reducing the very real fire risk on the property, restoring this forest to more of its original natural condition and providing protections for wildlife and related ecosystems. This plan has the support of fire hazard officials and has been revised in consultation with Cal-Fire, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the Water Quality Control Board among other regulatory agencies. Through the application of modern forest restoration practices contained in the NTMP, the Bohemian Club will meet the objective of creating a healthy, fire-resistant forest on the Bohemian Grove.