In 2011, we partnered with Sempervirens Fund, Save the Redwoods League, The Nature Conservancy and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to acquire the 8,532 acre San Vicente Redwoods property near Davenport and protect it in perpetuity — in 2019, we protected an adjacent 320 acres. Preserving this landscape was a major step in our work to enhance and restore this vital redwood forest.
As one of the largest continuous areas of protected forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the management of San Vicente Redwoods has a significant impact on the health of our entire region. It provides clean air, clean water, a place for wildlife, carbon sequestration and, one day, a portion of it will be a place to recreate for all who live and visit here.
In August of 2020, the CZU Lightning Complex fire burned through much of this forest in one of the largest and most destructive fires the Santa Cruz Mountains has experienced in recorded history. The impacts of this fire and our work to mitigate the fire’s severity are still being assessed, and will take years to fully understand. But it’s clear this land has been transformed and it will continue to change as the forest recovers from this fire and our climate continues to change.
Our adaptive management of this forest landscape — a process of continual evaluation and refinement — is an important approach to large scale conservation. We see San Vicente Redwoods as a “living laboratory” — a place where we can learn from the forest’s response to the fire and our restoration efforts. Studying what we previously did, and how the forest reacted post-fire is a baseline against which we’ll be able to try innovative science-based approaches to improve forest health and achieve nature-based climate solutions like carbon sequestration in the forest. For me personally, it’s exciting to be on the cutting edge of California’s forest restoration and to be playing an important role in our fight against climate change.
It’s a large, and complex landscape, and one that takes years to fully comprehend. If you are interested in joining us on that journey and learning more about our work at San Vicente Redwoods, check out these stories:
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more