Certified ecologically harvested forest products are worth their premium price. Redwoods to the Sea's purchase of old-growth habitat from industrial interests is significant in itself; but it has also inspired an innovative program to help non-industrial small landowners adjacent to the acquisitions continue their good stewardship while making a livelihood from their forestlands. Ancient Forest International is helping to coordinate a regional coalition of non-profit organizations to buffer the core habitat and enhance the conservation opportunities on private lands surrounding the reserves.
This program will train interested local landowners in erosion inventory and control, ecological forest management techniques, and assessment of aquatic habitats. Participants will develop watershed rehabilitation prescriptions and habitat protection agreements through conservation easements and forest management plans. The project will help landowners identify stewardship goals.
After the completion of the Redwoods to the Sea acquisitions, there will no longer be industrial ownership in the middle-Mattole watershed. The project hopes to help the region's small landowners find funding to improve the condition of their forests stands; this improvement will reduce the risk of wildfire, buffer the new reserve through the recruitment of habitat structure preferred by old-growth dependant species, and reduce erosion in the salmon-bearing creeks. Indeed, the good stewardship of small non-industrial landowners in the area has helped to retain the species diversity and forest composition of pre-European conditions.