3.5. Restoring SOD-Affected Forests
When developing a restoration plan, start by assessing your planting needs and existing regeneration (see 18.104.22.168. Stand restoration), then set goals and select actions to achieve those goals. Impacts and needs are likely to vary across the landscape
Although SOD can significantly impact forests within a few years, site restoration may take many decades. Address critical needs, such as soil stabilization first. Next plan for a transition to a forest structure that provides a wider set of services and resource values.
In many sites, several methods could be used to achieve specific restoration goal(s). The pros and cons of various alternatives should be considered before deciding on methods. Some factors to consider include:
- Short and long term costs: High cost alternatives do not necessarily provide the greatest benefit or highest likelihood of success. Using existing natural regeneration can cost little and is often superior to planting. Costs of follow-up maintenance (e.g., for thinning or weed suppression) should be considered when comparing alternatives.
- Long-term sustainability: Areas that will not be actively managed are best suited to techniques which do not require frequent attention. In areas that will be managed more intensively (near structures, roads, etc.) methods that require periodic inputs may be viable.
- Potential for nontarget effects: When more intensive methods are used, unintended effects may be possible. For example, soil disturbance associated with clearing or grading may increase erosion potential and promote weed establishment.