Forest Stewardship

​​​Mission: The Kitsap County Forest Stewardship Program engages citizens to advance a stewardship ethic that protects and restores county forest land into healthy, diverse forest ecosystems.


Vision: Forest lands owned by Kitsap County have complex structure and com-position; providing high carrying capacity for diverse animals; high productivity for plants; the natural regulation of nutrients and water cycling; are healthy resilient forests; and provide a wide-range of human benefits.

 

 

 

Research conducted by USDA, on the ecological foundations of biodiversity, support the promotion of habitat complexity in second, third and fourth growth forests. Studies conclude that conifers with rapid growth in the first 50-80 years of life have a better chance of living to become old-growth (200+ year old) trees.
Forests owned by Kitsap County are currently not managed for health, safety, and habitat and ecosystem complexity/diversity. The proposed Forest Stewardship Plan is to manage County forests to create heterogeneity in ecosystem structure, composition and function that recreates the natural variability in forest conditions and processes that existed prior to settlement in the 1860’s.

Emphasis will be on a wider variety of forest attributes, or ecotypes, rather than tree-focused stand prescriptions historically used in forest silviculture. Ecotypes will represent larger functional groups of ecologically similar species; thereby reducing the number forest attributes that need attention. Wood production is not the emphasis, rather healthy diverse forests that provide high quality habitat, clean water and other ecosystem benefits is the intent.

County forests will be managed as complex adaptive systems. A wider variety of stand structures and compositional possibilities will be featured at multiple spatial scales. Sampling, planning and prescriptions will focus on both heterogeneity and overall stand averages.

Silvicultural treatments will re-create the variability of natural disturbance, both within and among stands, to allow the forest adapt to changing conditions. Multi-aged forests and variability in canopy conditions will promote canopy structure, tree growth and provide diverse wildlife habitat.

Ecosystem management techniques will be applied including variable density thinning, variable retention harvesting to achieve complexity in County forests. Revenue generated annually from light thinning harvests is projected to cover the direct