Bitterroot National Forest: Post-Fire Reforestation
1.6 million acres | Located in west central Montana and east central Idaho
Stretching between two mountain ranges in Montana and Idaho, the Bitterroot National Forest boasts the largest expanse—743,000 acres—of continuous pristine wilderness in the lower 48 states. Mountainous terrain and deep, glaciated canyons are graced with stands of Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine and western larch, with Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, subalpine larch and whitebark pine at higher elevations. Deer, mountain lions, moose, and black bear are among the many species that make the Bitterroot their home.
Need for Trees
Firestorms in 2000 severely burned more than 370,000 acres (23% of the forest). Many of the fires burned so intensely that minimal vegetation remained in the damaged areas, leaving little hope for natural regeneration to begin on its own. Ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce will be planted to help stabilize soil, protect critical watersheds and wildlife habitat, reduce the spread of weeds, and re-establish magnificent, large pine stands in the Bitterroot Valley.
Planting and Impact
For this project, 130,000 pines will be planted on 500 acres in March 2007. This planting project will restore vegetation patterns on the landscape to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species as well as reducing the brush competition.