A sunny day in Winema National Forest. Credit: ex-magician/Flickr

About the Red Zone Ponderosa Pine ReLeaf Project:

American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting 300 acres of Freemont-Winema National Forest with ponderosa pine to restore the local population after it was damaged by an epidemic of pine beetles.

Global ReLeaf provides forests like this — and the communities that depend on them — with the restoration they need to thrive. Since 1990, American Forests has brought ReLeaf to forests in all 50 states and 45 countries, planting more than 45 million trees in the process.

ReLeaf Location:

Fremont-Winema National Forests in Oregon

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Planting 20,400 trees across 200 acres
  • Restoring an ecosystem damaged by pine beetles
  • Restoring habitat for ponderosa pine

Why This ReLeaf Project?

In the Red Zone where 300,000-plus acres have experienced mortality, more than 95 percent of ponderosa pine and lodge pole pine have been killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic. Of major concern is the loss of the old-growth, large-diameter, 300- to 400-year-old ponderosa pines that were killed in this outbreak. Because of this drastic loss of mature ponderosa pines, there is a limited viable seed source in the area for natural regeneration to occur; sites would require artificial reforestation to aid ponderosa pine restoration. Furthermore, it is necessary to clear out dead trees that create a fire hazard.

Why Ponderosa Pine?

Much like the whitebark pine, the ponderosa pine has been threatened by beetle and disease infestations, although to a lesser extent. As many old-growth, centuries-old ponderosas have been killed off by this current infestation, their local ecosystems have begun to suffer. Such old-growth trees sequester carbon, provide habitats and protect watersheds while preventing hillside erosion. Therefore, replanting trees following mass die-offs is necessary for the continued health of the surrounding area.

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