Whether we live near or far away from a forest, forests affect each of us in our daily lives. Not only does a healthy forest produce better air quality but it also lessens the chances of destructive and disastrous wildfires.

There are a few reasons our California forests are not flourishing as they should be. These include climate change, drought, overgrowth of weeds and other vegetation from lack of controlled fires, and intrusive pests such as bark beetles which have killed 147 million trees since 2010! Reforestation, however, is a way to preserve our forests and the lands adjacent to them.

Although tree planting is certainly a part of reforestation, tree planting is not the only tool used for reforestation.

So, what is the purpose of reforestation, and what is it?

Reforestation aims to preserve the watersheds on National Forest System properties as well as the areas beside them that have suffered from wildfires, borne the consequences of global warming or infestations from pests and/or disease. Reforestation is the process of restoring forests by replacing dead and ruined woods with new seeds and trees so the forest can thrive after devastating or catastrophic events, such as wildfires, or from human oversight and neglect. Controlled fires, weed, and pest control are additional methods used for reforestation. 

It is imperative to know the local composition of each forest so only native seeds and trees are planted and the right soil is used so the forest is not poisoned instead of being restored. In 2018 the City of Redding, California’s Community Services Department joined the Shasta Environmental Alliance which together provided 14 environmental non-profit organizations to assist in reforestation by replacing burnt and dead trees and weeds with acorns local to Shasta County. 

When our forests suffer so does the local wildlife and vegetation within them

Reforestation not only restores forests but also restores local wildlife and plants. When forests are destroyed, animals are forced to move elsewhere oftentimes not surviving. Reforestation provides the opportunity to restore the habitats of endangered wildlife as well as endangered plants. 

As global warming has severely impacted the health of our forests It has become increasingly apparent that forest management is needed to keep our California forests healthy.

Forest management provides the perfect balance between using the forest for economic purposes by harvesting trees while also maintaining a healthy forest so it can thrive. However, forest management not only includes reforestation but also includes controlled fires that can prevent catastrophic forest fires, harvesting trees to prevent overcrowding, and weed and pest control. We Californians benefit from this too because a healthy forest helps clean the air we breathe, it restores our local wildlife and makes room for recreation activities and fun, it enables us to use locally grown lumber which creates a stronger economy by providing more jobs and lessening the chances of forest fires.

Bottom line: Reforestation is key to being able to live healthy, happy lives ourselves as, without it, our forests would die, making our beautiful Golden State essentially uninhabitable for us.