Mountain yellow-legged frog, an endangered species that lives in San Bernardino National Forest. Credit: USFS

Project Name:
Mountain Communities Wildfire ReLeaf #9

Location:
The mountain district of San Bernardino County, Calif.

Key Activities:

  • Planting 25,000 trees across 500-750 acres
  • Conducting educational and community outreach with local youth organizations and other community groups
  • Reforesting an ecosystem damaged by wildfire and bark beetle infestation
  • Restoring wildlife habitat


Project Description:
American Forests and the Mojave Desert Resource Conservation District, with the help of local volunteers, are reforesting up to 750 acres of San Bernardino County, Calif., with 25,000 Jeffrey, sugar, ponderosa and Coulter pines to reforest an area severely affected by drought, a bark beetle infestation and intense wildfires.

Why This Project:
In the early 2000s, six years of severe drought in the San Bernardino Mountains was followed by an unprecedented bark beetle infestation, resulting in the die-off of approximately 12 million conifers. Severe wildfires in 2003 and 2007 added insult to injury.

American Forests first began funding this project in 2005, and each year, hundreds of volunteers join the planting efforts. A recent survey of a site planted three years ago revealed that the 10-inch seedlings have grown into six-foot-tall, healthy trees. Managers have also reported the return of many animal species to the reforested areas.

Why San Bernardino:
East of Los Angeles lie the 60-mile-long San Bernardino Mountains. Formed 11 million years ago, the mountains are home to many headwaters, including those of the Santa Ana River. The Santa Ana is one of the largest river basins in southern California; approximately 4.8 million people live there.

San Bernardino County also provides habitat for dozens of endangered and threatened species, including the California condor, southwestern willow flycatcher and mountain yellow-legged frog.


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