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Turkey Springs Ecological Monitoring. Forest Guild and the Smokey Bear Youth Conservation Corps crew worked in 2004 and 2006 to answer the question, “Was wildfire risk to the Village of Ruidoso Downs reduced?” The answer is “ Yes .”

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turkey springs ecological monitoring
Turkey SpringsEcological Monitoring
  • Forest Guild and the Smokey Bear Youth Conservation Corps crew worked in 2004 and 2006 to answer the question, “Was wildfire risk to the Village of Ruidoso Downs reduced?”
  • The answer is “Yes.”
  • Pictured below: Post restoration treatment along hillside, abundant grasses and plants in between trees.
turkey springs ecological monitoring2
Turkey SpringsEcological Monitoring

Before Treatment:

  • Trees were dense (473 trees/acre)
  • Canopy was closed (51% closed)
  • Ladder fuels abundant (199 saplings/acre)
turkey springs ecological monitoring3
Turkey SpringsEcological Monitoring

After Treatment:

  • Tree Density Lowered (55 trees/acre, 88% reduced)
  • Canopy was opened (22% closed, 83% reduced)
  • Ladder fuels removed (11 saplings/acre, 94% reduced)
turkey springs ecological monitoring4
Turkey SpringsEcological Monitoring


  • 15 members of the Smokey Bear YCC Crew were trained in ecological monitoring in 2004 and 2006 and collected all ecological data


  • 36 tree plots equaling 32,400 ft2 or .75 acre were sampled
  • 60 canopy cover plots read (densiometer method)
hazardous fuels reduction wildland urban interface projects mescalero apache tribe

Hazardous Fuels Reduction & Wildland-Urban Interface ProjectsMescalero Apache Tribe

Division of Resource Management

& Protection

Thora Padilla, Program Manager

Sharon Paul, Supervisory Forester

Lyman Shendo, Field Supervisor

Mike Bigmouth, Crew Boss

Mark Hicks, Crew Boss



mescalero nm 1892 to 2003
Mescalero, NM: 1892 to 2003
  • Changes in the Landscape:
  • Increased tree density
  • Encroachment into meadows & wetlands
  • Reduction in wetlands due to Civilian Conservation Corps projects (1930’s)
  • Introduction and proliferation of non-native species, such as Chinese Elm



thinning project goals
“Thinning” Project Goals

Create a spatial arrangement of treatments that will modify fire behavior.

Develop and maintain defensible spaces around residential and other developed areas.

Beneficial “Side Effects”

Restoring historic landscape conditions & ecological functions

Restoring fire regimes

Increasing water yield?

Collaborative partnerships with Bureau of Indian Affairs, US Forest Service, Village of Ruidoso, NM State Forestry & Industry




Treatment results in large amounts of slash on the ground. The dilemma is often how to treat or remove material economically.




Prescribed burning can be used to treat slash in thinning areas and improve range conditions.




Peña Canyon Housing Area Fuels Treatment to Create “Defensible Space”




Hand crews with chainsaws, thinning behind the Golf Course at Inn of the Mountain Gods WUI Project.




Chipping slash in high visual quality area adjacent to Inn of the Mountain Gods.




Masticating equipment used to treat Piñon-Juniper encroachment into meadows.




Koller K-300 Yarder is used to treat steep slopes, such as US70 corridor north of Apache Summit.




Wildfire and forest health concerns at the southern boundary of the reservation.

Mescalero Apache Reservation Lincoln National Forest




16 Springs Stewardship Contract between the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Lincoln National Forest was authorized under the Tribal Forest Protection Act, allowing the Tribe to address concerns for catastrophic wildfire and forest health along the southern reservation boundary.



drmp project accomplishment since 1999
DRMP Project Accomplishment(since 1999)

HFR & WUI Treatments (on-reservation) 16,193 acres

Forest Stand Improvement (following commercial harvest) 21,982 acres

US Forest Service lands, 16 Springs Stewardship Contract (signed in 2006) 1,335 acres





For more information call

Division of Resource Management & Protection at (575) 464-4711.



turkey springs canyon fuels reduction and forest restoration project

Turkey Springs Canyon Fuels Reduction and Forest Restoration Project

2004 CFRP

South Central Mountain RC&D Council

Clark Taylor

statement of need
Statement of Need
  • The existing topography, heavy fuel load, and semi-arid windy weather patterns create a deadly wildfire situation
  • Communities at risk include Mescalero Apache Reservation, City of Ruidoso Downs, Village of Ruidoso, and Lincoln NF
project partners
Project Partners
  • South Central Mountain RC&D Council
  • Mescalero Apache Tribe
  • City of Ruidoso Downs
  • New Mexico State Forestry – Capitan District
  • Lincoln NF – Smokey Bear Ranger District
  • SBS Woodshavings, Inc.
objective proposed
Objective - proposed
  • Reduce the threat of large, high intensity wildfires, negative effects of excessive competition between trees by restoring ecosystem functions, structures, and species competition, including the reduction of non-native species populations
objective accomplished
Objective - accomplished
  • 313 acres of ponderosa pine stands thinned on Mescalero Apache Reservation, New Mexico
  • 50 acres of pinon-juniper woodland thinned on City of Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico
  • 450 acres of pinon-juniper woodlands thinned on LNF-Smokey Bear District
  • 100 acres of ponderosa pine stands thinned on private property with assistance from NM State Forestry
objective proposed30
Objective - proposed
  • Re-establish fire regimes approximating those that shaped forest ecosystems prior to fire suppression
city of ruidoso downs
City of Ruidoso Downs
  • The thinning was designed to reduce pinon-juniper tree density and extent canopy cover
  • Treatments were intended to alter forest structure to inhibit crown fire that threatened homes/businesses
objective accomplished32
Objective - accomplished
  • Fuel loads are maintained with low intensity fires that are a functional part of pinon-juniper and ponderosa pine ecosystem processes
objective proposed33
Objective - proposed
  • Improve the use of or add value to small diameter trees
objective accomplished34
Objective - accomplished
  • 35 loads of small diameter trees removed from thinning sites to manufacturing plant
objective proposed35
Objective - proposed
  • Watershed rehabilitation
  • To reduce the sediment load that could reach the Rio Ruidoso, a state classified impaired cold water fishery
  • The project consist of:
    • Boulder retaining structures
    • Rock and wire checks
    • Planting native trees/shrubs
mescalero apache reservation
Mescalero Apache Reservation
  • The Resource Management & Protection Division of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, in conjunction with BIA, marked, thinned, and monitored their acreage for fuel reduction and future timber production.
monitoring existing conditions
Monitoring – existing conditions
  • Ponderosa pine stands were heavily stocked with an average 1600 trees/acre resulting in a basal area in excess of 150 square feet/acre
  • Pinon-juniper woodlands are overstocked with trees in excess of 200 square feet basal area/acre
  • The Forest Guild was contracted to enter, analyze, and interpret ecological data collected by the Forest Guild and Smokey Bear District YCC crews in 2004 and 2006
  • Monitoring protocols were used from Handbook 4-Monitoring Ecological Effects (Derr et al. 2004)
  • Ecological Monitoring Report prepared by Eytan Krasilovsky
city of ruidoso downs40
City of Ruidoso Downs
  • Ecological indicators were:
    • Adult tree density, size (<5”dbh),species and live/dead
    • Sapling (>5”dbh), <4.5’ height) species and density
    • Percent under story cover-plant, bare soil (excluding rock), and litter categories
    • Photo points
    • Extent canopy cover
city of ruidoso downs41
City of Ruidoso Downs
  • 14 local youth working with the Smokey Bear District YCC were trained in ecological monitoring methods
  • Quantitative data was acquired from 6 transects containing 36 tree sub-plots
what was affected in the stand by the prescription
What was affected in the stand by the prescription?
  • It is unclear from % ground cover data (due to possible errors in recording) if the site conditions are favorable for low–intensity surface fire
  • Reduction in canopy cover was achieved and will reduce the threat of large, high intensity crown dominated wildfire
discussion ecological monitoring
Discussion – ecological monitoring
  • Many of the grant objectives were met:
    • Reduced tree density/basal area mitigates effects of fuel and likelihood of a crown fire
    • Reduced tree competition
    • The mean adult pinon live tree size indicates that old/live trees are preserved
    • Sapling size trees density was reduced by 94% and mitigated effects of ladder fuels
    • The most significant change measured was the reduction in canopy cover
thank you
Thank you

Clark Taylor

South Central Mountain RC&D Council

PO Box 457

Carrizozo, NM 88301

(505) 648-2941 ext 105


By studying tree rings and fire scars of large old trees, snags and stumps, forest scientists have been able to determine the frequency of fire before extensive European settlement in New Mexico Dendrochronology
pre settlement fire
Species Frequency

Pinyon-Juniper 10 - 30 years

Ponderosa pine 2 – 10 years

Mixed Conifer 5 – 25 years

Spruce/Fir 150+ years

Pre –Settlement Fire

By studying tree rings it became apparent that ponderosa pine forests historically experienced frequent low intensity ground fires

what stopped the frequent low intensity ground fires
What stopped the frequent low intensity ground fires?
  • Heavy grazing beginning around 1870 and lasting several decades reduced the grass cover that carried the ground fires

Kokopelli Fire 2002 - destroyed this home that had very few trees. Home was lost because of embers igniting flammable material around home site.


Green trees around burned foundation indicate ground fire and lack of defensible space add to home losses.


Dwarf mistletoe spreads by producing fruiting bodies that release sticky seeds during monsoon season.


Pitch tube caused by Bark beetle attack on Ponderosa pine. Hole indicates successful exit of beetle.

GreaterRuidoso Area WUI Working Group created to implement individual management objectives in strategic locations.

…working on their “piece of the puzzle”


Other collaborations include educational monitoring. YCC crews have been provided through EMNRD and the Forest Trust.


Village Forestry and other GRAWUIWG partners give presentations to Ruidoso High students.


Village of Ruidoso Community Forest Management Plan trailer provides assistance to property owners in Firesmart Neighborhood Program

Allstate Insurance awards the Village $500.00 for their efforts

Rocky Mountain Supply Co. located in Alamogordo, NM donated over $1,400.00 of hand tools and safety equipment for the tool wagon.

One of four Solid Waste Department “grappling” trucks

…providing a forest waste disposal service where 100% of the material is recycled.


Compost from SCI is used in gardens and has been added as a silt control specification with New Mexico’s Highway Department.

wall spray2
Wall spray2

One month later…


Other ways to utilize small diameter trees…

Grizzly’s Bears carves bears and other novelties

perk grindstone


Lincoln National Forest

Smokey Bear Ranger District


The End

This presentation was developed by Forestry Department Village of Ruidoso 313 Cree Meadows Drive Ruidoso, NM 88345