Did you know pollinators like bees and butterflies thrive in industrial working forests? In fact, beekeepers utilize Rayonier lands to nourish and grow their hives in this excellent pollinator habitat. How do we protect the native plants and pollinators that call our forests home? Here we share how Rayonier supports and coexists with even its tiniest residents: the pollinators. Believe it or not, it starts with harvesting.
How Rayonier Provides An Excellent Habitat for Pollinators
Rayonier believes that healthy forests are critical to all living things. The way we manage our land gives a variety of forest ages the opportunity to grow and flourish the way Mother Nature intended.
Lands owned by Rayonier are stratified by timber type. The result is an inventory system that provides Rayonier with a method to sustainably harvest its landholdings. This means that we harvest rotationally, only cutting small areas of timber that are within a certain age class.
“We are very strategic with how we harvest our timber,” explains Sustainability Manager Ben Cazell. “We don’t want to start at one end of the forest and cut until we get to the other end and start over. Our goal is sustainability. We limit how much harvesting we do in one place due to the age of the trees. Since Rayonier has been doing this for close to 100 years, what we have developed is a mosaic or patchwork-style harvesting schedule. It’s a big conglomeration, a mixed up puzzle, of different ages.”
Thanks to the patchwork-style harvesting schedule, when a section of timber is harvested, sunlight can reach the forest’s understory. Here, seeds of native flowering plants have been lying dormant in the soil, ready to germinate. The result ultimately creates an abundance of flowering plants, shrubs, and vines, all of which produce pollen that pollinators are attracted to.
“I’ve seen a multitude of flowering herbaceous plants, ferns, shrubs, and vines such as climbing jasmine. All of this starts to take over after a timber harvest,” Ben says.