Seeing the Forest and the Trees: A Review of a Collaborative Restoration Project on Rowe Mesa, San Miguel County, NM

By Courtney White

Between 2001 and 2005, a collaborative, science-based restoration treatment project – called Rincon Ortiz CFRP – was successfully implemented on three hundred acres of ponderosa/pinon-juniper woodland on Rowe Mesa, near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Equally important was the success of the social goal of the project: to involve local residents in economic and educational activities related to a forest health restoration effort so that the link between cultural continuity and the restoration of natural ecological processes can be strengthened. Combined, the goals yielded two major lessons learned: 1) how to do the work properly, and; 2) an indication that ecological restoration might not necessarily come with significant social cost and conflict.

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