Bureau of Land Management and Modoc National Forest
This section of our web site will highlight many of the juniper thinning/habitat
improvement projects currently being implemented on public lands in northeastern
California and northwestern Nevada by the Bureau of Land Management and Modoc National
Prior to 2008, old growth western juniper were not protected under the resource management
plans for our public lands. Old growth juniper woodlands were often clear cut along
with young encroaching juniper in thinning projects on public lands. Even after the
Sage Steppe Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, 2008, was incorporated into the resource
management plans protecting old growth juniper, significant numbers of old growth
juniper continued to be cut on public lands along with the younger juniper. See the
Big Sage Allotment page.
The managers of our public lands are now including measures in the Environmental
Assessments that would improve both the environmental and visual outcomes of proposed
projects. However, there are still problems when the projects are implemented.
Old growth juniper are still being cut. Old growth woodlands, with little or no invasive
young juniper, are being thinned (old growth juniper cut) instead of being left intact.
Mitigations for Visual Resource Management listed in the Environmental Assessments
that require contractors to leave young and/or old trees in specific places are not
There is a very simple solution to these problems. The agencies, Forest Service and
BLM, should flag the boundaries of areas where trees are not to be cut. Examples:
old growth juniper woodlands, rocky areas, bases of rocky rims, etc. So far the agencies
have said that they do not have the manpower to flag off these very important areas
and the old growth juniper continues to be unnecessarily cut on our public lands.
Old growth western juniper was not protected from cutting on public lands by the
MNF and the BLM prior to the implementation of the Sage Steppe Ecosystem Restoration
Strategy in 2008.
Clear cutting of all juniper, including all old growth juniper, was a common management
component on our public lands prior to 2008. These two images were taken in 2007.
Old growth juniper that was too large in diameter to fit in the chipper for biomass
were still cut and left on the ground. Photos from 2007.
These are the juniper thinning projects on public land that we are currently monitoring.
As the projects are finished, we will report on them here. Click on the underlined
projects to go to that project’s page.