Ponderosa pine forests, which are native to northern New Mexico, were heavily cutover during private homestead ownership. This activity altered the landscape, which changed from ponderosa pine to sagebrush, pinon pine and juniper. In the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, land was returned to public ownership and has since been managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Rio Puerco Resource Area contains approximately 12,000 acres of cutover forest land. This project planted ponderosa pine trees to help repair and restore plant and animal communities associated with the southwestern forest ecosystem. Tree New Mexico was also a partner in this endeavor.
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