A Conservation Success Story ¿ Northern Arizona Ponderosa Ecosystem Restoration

A Conservation Success Story – Northern Arizona Ponderosa Ecosystem Restoration

In northern Arizona, in the vicinity of the city of Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon National Park, a diverse group of governmental, environmental, and business organizations have come together to develop a plan for the systematic restoration of the southwestern Ponderosa Pine ecosystem in this area.  This is the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership (GFFP), and over 20 different groups are actively participating in the partnerships efforts.  These include the City of Flagstaff, the US Forest Service, the Grand Canyon Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Arizona Dept of Game & Fish, Northern Arizona University, the Ecological Restoration Institute, and many others. The formal Partnership is a cooperative agreement between the Forest Service and the non-profit Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership, Inc., with the Forest Service retaining full decision-making authority over any activities taking place on lands they manage.

The GFFP was formed around 2001 to implement a shared vision for the ecological and economic health of ponderosa pine woodlands.  The need to restore forest health in the urban -wildland interface around Flagstaff, where homes and other development intermingle with wildland vegetation, and mitigating the possibility of catastrophic fires are of particular concern. The Partnership has implemented research, as well as active restoration, activities and over the next decade will undertake a series of annual projects to restore forest health and reduce fire risk.  As a partnership, they have developed three primary objectives for their projects: to restore the natural ecosystem functions--within the range of natural variability--of the ponderosa pine forests in Flagstaff's urban wildland interface; to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire by managing forest fuels; and to research, test, develop, and demonstrate key ecological, economic, and social dimensions of Ponderosa restoration efforts.

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