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Douglas Fir Thinning Project

Western Spruce Budworm Douglas Fir Project


              The southern end of the Big Horn Mountains Douglas Fir population is currently being devastated by a Western Spruce Budworm epidemic. The Western Spruce Budworm (WSBW), or Choristoneura freeman is a native species to the Big Horns. Currently 67,000 acres of  Douglas Fir and mixed-conifer forest are infected by the WSBW and causing major defoliation damage in the southern Big Horn Mountains.

 Phase 1 of landscape level active management will be to thin approximately 254 acres on state and private acres in addition to working with the BLM to thin 130acres of federal lands. The PRCD will work with the WSFD to thin thick stands of Douglas Fir and  mixed-conifer stands of multiple age groups which will help decrease WSBW infestation rates. Technical assistance from WSFD will help determine which trees are suited for wood production, are important for wildlife habitat, and will facilitate successful regeneration. This project will benefit state, private, and federal lands and will build lasting relationships for the continuum of active forest management in this area of the Big Horn Mountains.


The Powder River Conservation District plans to implement a program that:

1. Provides a proactive forest health thinning component for private and state lands

2. Viably treats WSB infected Douglas fir and mixed-conifer forested areas through mechanized thinning

3. Increases timber sale production by assisting with timber marketing and subsidizing timber industry to remove the selected trees.

4. Capitalizes on a large-scale, multi-landowner project.


The PRCD is excited to begin implementing this project in the fall and plan on conducting our first thinning project next summer.


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Powder River Conservation District, Wyoming