In FY23, the Timber Team added five new foresters to better assist Tribes with forestry tasks such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) ground truthing, timber sale preparation work, and forest inventories. The Timber Team traveled over 23 weeks across seven states and six BIA Regions to assist 12 different tribes.
Photo 1: The fully staffed Timber Team visiting the Deep Pond Recreation Site on the Narragansett Tribal Trust Lands of Rhode Island.
The Timber Team’s support to Tribes included:
- Approximately 69,000 acres of tribal forest land mapped using ARCGIS.
- 500 acres prepared for timber sales and permits.
- 258 timber cruise plots measured.
- 85 continuous forest inventory plots installed.
- 771 stand exams completed, and 100 stand exams inspected for a contract cruise.
- 563 regeneration and stocking surveys completed.
In FY23, the Timber Team traveled far and wide, visiting Mississippi, Washington, Wisconsin, Alaska, Texas, Utah, and Montana. The Timber Team contended with conditions ranging from Pacific Northwest rainforests to Utahan high mountain deserts. These accomplishments did not come easy as Tribes are located throughout the nation in varying climates and terrain. The Team is trained to work safely in most field conditions such as steep terrain, snowy winter weather, insect infested woods, and hazardous vegetation such as poison ivy.
Photo 2: Timber Team members observing fire damage to forested Trust Lands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation.
The Timber Team completed 16 mission critical trips this fiscal year. Out of the 16 trips, seven trips focused on field data collection. Depending on the Tribe’s objective, the Timber Team assisted with stand exams, continuous forestry inventory, or LiDAR ground truthing. Data collected from these inventory projects provides accurate estimates of forest health and vigor. The Tribes will use this information to update Forest Management Plans and better determine an allowable annual cut of timber products.
Photo 3: Timber Team supervisor using a digital relaskop to assess basal area on the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.
In addition to field work, the team has also been working on GIS forest cover type mapping projects for the BIA Southern Plains Region. The Timber Team identified and mapped approximately 69,000 acres of forest land for the Anadarko and Alabama Coushatta agencies. This information will be used to develop forest management plans, mitigate fuels, identify timber products, and preserve wildlife habitat and cultural sites.
Photo 4: Timber Team working alongside the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.
While working with Tribes across the nation, the Timber Team had the opportunity to tour several Tribal greenhouses that prioritize growing threatened tree species, such as the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), and other culturally significant trees and understory plants. Touring the Tribal greenhouses and seeing the work tribes are doing to restore their valuable native trees and groundcover species was an incredible learning experience for the Timber Team.
Photo 5: The Timber Team touring the Confederated Tribes of Salish Kootenai whitebark pine greenhouse.
The Timber Team gained valuable experience in FY 23, and they are looking forward to traveling and working on additional projects in FY 24. The Division of Forestry is currently seeking proposals for Timber Team projects for calendar year 2024. The Timber Team would also like to invite any federal or tribal staff that would like to gain new forestry experience or seasoned staff to mentor on trips throughout Indian Country. All Timber Team project proposals should be submitted to the Regional Forester or Regional Director. The Timber Team is now scheduling trips for 2024. Trips include stand exams for the Skokomish Reservation in Washington, timber sale preparation for Stockbridge Munsee Indian Community in Wisconsin, and timber cruising for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Mississippi.
The Timber Team would also like to invite any BIA or Tribal Pathways Interns to join the team for the summer of 2024. This is an incredible opportunity to mentor university students in various forestry disciplines with field experience and expose them to forest resource management across Indian Country.
Visit the Timber Team’s webpage at https://www.bia.gov/service/timber-team. The webpage includes a project request form, contact information and additional information about the Timber Team.
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