Flatwoods Research Forest, located in the southwestern portion of the Cascades Mountain Range approximately thirty miles from downtown Redding, is the sixth and most recently acquired Berkeley Forests property. The 3244 acres of forestland in Shasta County was acquired in 2022 through Pacific Gas and Electric’s land conservation program and will be held in a conservation easement through the Shasta Land Trust. Prior to colonization this unceded land was stewarded by the Pit River Tribe for millenia.
The vegetation of Flatwoods is predominantly mixed-conifer forest, with species common to this portion of the Cascade Range – Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense cedar and true fir – with riparian areas scattered throughout and small areas of oak woodlands. Past activities include timber harvests under PG&E’s management and maintenance of PG&E transmission corridors, but otherwise limited active stewardship. This region of California follows the typical Mediterranean climate pattern with cool wet winters, warm summers and a summer drought. The impacts of the Great Basin to the east makes for colder winters than much of Mediterranean California. Receiving on average 75 inches of precipitation annually, Flatwoods represents highly productive forestland. The primary soils on Flatwoods are the Cohasset and Aiken series and the Property encompasses the southwest portion and edge of a relatively flat volcanic plateau. The majority of the property has minimal slope, hence the moniker, but along the west border of the property there are slope increases as the plateau begins to drop into the Pit River Canyon. Flatwoods is located within the Lower Pit River Watershed and drains south and west into the Pit River, which passes into Shasta Lake and eventually into the Sacramento River. There are several springs, perennial creeks and intermittent streams and drainages throughout the property including Marble Creek running through the property from south to north.
Flatwoods location as the first Berkeley Forests property within the Cascades Mountain Range provides expanded opportunities for research in new forest types and ecosystems. As Berkeley Forests Co-Director, Dr. Rob York, stated upon acquisition, “This new research forest will greatly expand the capacity for UC and collaborators to conduct research that is relevant at a bio-regional scale. Climatic impacts are expected to influence forest functioning across huge swaths of land. It is critical to have research forests such as this one in order to test new alternatives for adapting forests to persist in the future.”
Berkeley Forests hopes that this research will be done not only in conjunction with researchers throughout the country, but also in partnership with the local entities. Dr. York noted, “The new research forest is in a key part of the state, where a variety of landowners and professionals have livelihoods that depend greatly on the forests. We hope to serve these stakeholders by conducting research that is relevant to them and by demonstrating forest management alternatives that they can see for themselves.” As Berkeley Forests begins active management of the property the first step will be installation and measurement of permanent monitoring plots to inform future research and management decisions that can best serve multiple stakeholders. Developing a data-driven sustainable forest management plan and implementation of various forest health treatments will follow. Berkeley Forests is planning collaborations with the Pit River Tribe, California Conservations Corps, and several other partners to plan and carry out stewardship actions.
Full press release can be viewed here.
This land is located within the ancestral homelands of the Pit River Tribe. Since time immemorial the Pit River tribal bands have stewarded the lands along the River. Prior to colonization this land was not a wilderness, but a carefully cultivated system of sustenance agriculture. The Pit River and tribes throughout California have persisted through a legacy of violence, disease, and systemic discrimination which we all must work to address as citizens of this land. Through acknowledgement and continued intentional action, we hope to work to benefit both these lands and the broader community.
The federally recognized Pit River Tribe is made up of twelve autonomous bands, nine Achomawi and three Atsugewi. The ancestral Pit River grounds are a 100-mile square area spread throughout Shasta, Siskiyou, Modoc, and Lassen counties. This specific area is the unceded lands of the Achomawi Madesi Band. The Madesi Band has contributed to the health and survival of the forest here for thousands of years and tribal members continue their stewardship on rancherias and land throughout the region.
Berkeley Forests exists as a resource to the community and acknowledges the violence that has been and continues to be perpetrated against Indigenous nations and tribal groups. We hope to honor and support the persistence of local tribal groups through incorporation of cultural management, educational partnerships, and prioritizing cultural management goals in research. Recognizing the history of the land and current realities is a first step towards decolonization of forest management. Current conditions of many lands in California are the result of a lack of respect for Indigenous knowledge since colonization, and natural resources management must acknowledge this.
Flatwoods was acquired by Berkeley Forests in 2022 through the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, a private non-profit foundation established in 2014 as part of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company Settlement. In 2022 the land was placed under a conservation easement which will be managed by the Shasta Land Trust.
Portions of the property were managed through commercial timber operation under PG&E ownership; however, other portions of the property have been neglected due to their lack of timber value. This has resulted in areas of underproductive and overstocked forestland, high fuel loading and fire hazard, and increased vulnerability to insect and disease outbreaks.
Unrestricted recreation access has resulted in damage to sensitive habitat areas including wetlands and riparian areas. Management planning by Berkeley Forests will include controlling access and protection of critical habitat zones.
Flatwoods is located approximately 31 miles by air northeast of downtown Redding and 15 miles northwest of Burney. It is located in the southwestern Cascade Range.
There are no facilities at Flatwoods.
3244 acres ( 1313 hectares )
660 to 880 m (2120 to 2880 ft)
Summer: 7C to 31C (44F to 88F)
Winter: -7C to 7C (19F to 44F)
Average precipitation: 1930 mm (76 inches), majority falls between November and March
Average snowfall: 660 mm (26 inches), majority between December and March
Mixed conifer with small areas of oak woodlands. Past management limited to timber harvests and regeneration. The site is representative of highly productive forestland.
Dominant soils on the property are from the Cohasset and Aiken series. The Rockland series, Sheetiron series, Windy series, McCarthy series, and Colluvial land are also present.
The property is situated within the Lower Pit River Watershed. The western boundary of Flatwoods parallels the Pit River canyon. Two perennial streams, Marble and Cape Horn Creeks, run through the property as well as several ephemeral water features.