MISSOULA – University of Montana students helped plan forest restoration treatments now taking place at the Bandy Experimental Ranch in the Blackfoot Valley.
Last fall, College of Forestry and Conservation students wrote management plans for forested areas on the 3,500-acre property owned and managed by the college’s Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. Following those student-developed plans, timber harvest started on three units of the ranch.
Students managed various aspects of this forest restoration project, from writing the management plan to marking the treatment unit. The slash piles will be burned by CFC students post-harvest, and sites will be replanted with seedlings from the college’s experimental seedling nursery.
Historically, Bandy’s forested areas were dominated by western larch. After logging in the 1930s and again in the 1970s, the resulting forest stands were dominated by Douglas fir and defoliated by spruce budworm. Treatments will remove Douglas fir, mature lodgepole pine and smaller diameter western larch to promote forest complexity, reduce fire danger by removing ladder fuels and address insect-damaged trees.
The Bandy Ranch was deeded to the Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station in 1990 by the estate of Ed Bandy for research and management. The ranch is managed as a teaching and research facility to give students real-world exposure to private land management. The ranch is under a conservation easement management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.