by Sara Adams, freelance writer
The coastal forests of the Pacific Northwest are integral to our way of life. Hunters, foragers, and recreators alike delight in their offerings. Sustainable harvesting is an important part of our economy and source of local jobs. They help keep our water clean, rivers healthy, and provide habitat to wildlife.
However, as we turn the page on the hottest year on record, we are reminded of the challenges facing our forests. While dry forests experience more severe wildfires and drought, coastal wet forests must contend with a unique set of circumstances, such as changes in land use, increasing insects and disease, and extreme weather events.
With climate change compounding these stressors, there is an urgent need to prepare our forests for the future. But, how?
The answers lie deep within the old-growth forests of the Ellsworth Creek Preserve, nestled on Washington’s southwest coast. New research offers land managers a way to cultivate characteristics that will help tomorrow’s forests adapt to an ever-changing environment.