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To provide Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and the public with a unique interdisciplinary environment in which to foster the Learn by Doing philosophy by providing educational experiences on a working ranch, supporting diversified agriculture and forest resources while maintaining the integrity of ranch operations.

  —Our Mission

Forestry

Ranch Operations - Forestry

Management Objectives

  1. Maintain health and integrity of forest resource, inclusive of all native flora and fauna, and preserve its function in the watershed
  2. Continue to manage the property as a demonstration, educational, and research forest facility for the University
  3. Maintain forest certification with the Forest Stewardship Council
  4. Continue stand transition from even-aged composition to uneven-aged composition
  5. Maintain species composition with emphasis on increasing conifer stocking levels. Enhance natural regeneration levels through planting, as deemed necessary.
  6. Maintain economic viability of management activities through periodic selective harvests.
  7. Maintain condition of tractor trails, roads, and landings so as to minimize the necessity of new construction.
  8. Maintain access throughout the property to better facilitate interim management activities and educational activities.
  9. Minimize effects of surface erosion on roads, landings and tractor trails.
  10. Enhance and maintain visual aesthetics of the forest.
  11. Illustrate a high standard in the logging and closeout associated with harvest entries.
  12. Preserve and promote the ethic of land stewardship in all management activities and decisions.

Forested lands are comprised of approximately 1400 acres in Scotts Creek watershed and over 600 acres along Valencia Creek. The forest stands of predominantly second growth Redwood and Douglas-fir are managed to maintain ecosystem function and to commercially produce 2nd growth redwood logs and lumber.

Heavy logging occurred during 1909 through 1921 and supported the rebuilding of San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. Some stands continued to be logged through the 1970s. Today, Swanton Pacific Ranch is pleased to support best management practices (BMP's) resulting in FSC certification.

Cal Poly students develop skills and gain understanding of the forestland management and the timber industry through a variety of educational outlets. Field trips are a great way to bring classroom learning to life; intensive training is available through the NR 475 short course; students can experience weeks of forest management and timber production by participating in internship opportunities, and for students with an interest in logging; the Cal Poly Logging Team is active at the ranch and on campus.

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