Mountain Forestry

The mountains are the lungs of our city. The Mountain Forestry program trains and mobilizes community members to increase the climate and fire-resilience of the forests of Southern California. Fires, mudslides, drought, and pests have left our wildlands needing our help. When you volunteer with TreePeople, you help to restore these damaged forests and ecosystems and help protect these crucial watersheds. Healthy landscapes help prevent fire danger caused by today’s climate extremes.

Be part of the legacy. Volunteer at our next event to help with planting, tree care, and removing non-native vegetation to heal our mountains. For inquiries about our volunteer offerings including group inquiries, email volunteer@treepeople.org. Corporate groups please check out our Teams for Trees program.

Current Projects Include:

Alison Canyon RestorationAlison Canyon Restoration

Alison Canyon Restoration

Alison Canyon Restoration

With funding provided by the US Forest Service, support from Congressman Brad Sherman’s office and coordination with Los Angeles County Department of Recreation and Parks, TreePeople seeks to enhance the habitat, recreation value, and wildfire resilience of segments within Aliso Canyon Park and O’Melveny Canyon Park. These natural areas are part of the urban wildland interface, a zone at high risk for wildfire and offering critical habitat for native wildlife.

The project will span over several years of native plant installation, invasive species management, and site maintenance and monitoring through TreePeople’s community forestry model utilizing local volunteer engagement and environmental education opportunities.

Americorps - Planting Resilience

Americorps - Planting Resilience

Americorps - Planting Resilience

TreePeople’s Planting Resilience AmeriCorps program offers diverse work experiences and professional development in both mountain and urban forestry settings.

Working closely with the Mountain Forestry team, AmeriCorps members perform service conducting restoration work in some of the most environmentally vulnerable parts of Los Angeles County. Members have the opportunity to learn about local ecology, native plant identification, and best practices in environmental restoration.

AmeriCorps members also participate in urban greening programs that aim to empower underserved communities with the inspiration, education, and tools they need to create green neighborhoods and become resilient in the face of climate impacts.

The Planting Resilience AmeriCorps program seeks to prepare members for environmental careers through robust field experience, educational workshops, professional training (including Wilderness First Aid Certification), and exposure to the variety of opportunities available in the environmental field.

Castaic and Lake Hughes Oak Restoration

With the support of Re:Wild, National Forest Foundation, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, TreePeople has partnered with California Botanic Garden to plant and maintain more than 11,000 native oaks in the Sierra Pelonas of the Angeles National Forest. Increased fire frequency, sudden oak death, and Gold-Spotted oak borer threaten these important trees.

Aiding the regeneration of slower growing species like oaks is crucial for maintaining biodiversity. Native oak trees are a keystone species across multiple plant communities: producing acorns and canopy cover that wildlife rely on for sustenance and habitat, amending the soil with leaf litter and mycorrhizal networks, and maintaining associations with other local plants. This program gives volunteers the opportunity to make an impact lasting hundreds of years by having a role in the early stages of these trees’ establishment.

Cheeseboro Canyon and Paramount Ranch Restoration

At Cheeseboro Canyon and Paramount Ranch, we’ve planted nearly 3,600 trees in the burn scar of the 2018 Woolsey Fire. We now continue their maintenance by hosting volunteer-based events and Team for Trees events with corporate groups to make sure these seedlings establish successfully and grow into beautiful mature oaks and walnut trees. Come out and help us restore the oak woodlands of the Santa Monica Mountains!

In collaboration with California Botanic Garden and the US Forest Service, and through funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, TreePeople will conduct widespread woodlands restoration in the Copper fire scar by implementing activities from the Copper Fire Woodlands Silvicultural Prescription. This project will build upon and provide continued maintenance for our Castaic Oaks sites, originally funded by the National Forest Foundation and Re:wild, as well as establish new sites.

With the assistance of volunteers and our Americorps crew members, TreePeople and partner CalBG will propagate, plant, and care for 7,250 oak seedlings and 5,500 conifers. This work will help build a healthier ecosystem in this important biodiversity hotspot, while also mobilizing community members to increase the climate and fire resiliency of the area.

Through a partnership with the National Forest Foundation and a CAL FIRE grant, TreePeople is implementing a comprehensive community outreach and education plan focused on engaging the public and communities in the goldspotted oak borer (GSOB) satellite infestation areas. The project will overall unite partners across the region to combat the GSOB infestation and curb oak mortality through the removal of infested trees, chemical treatments, monitoring, reforestation, and community outreach.

The GSOB, a pest that attacks several native species of oak trees, was first discovered in San Diego County in 2008. Since then, satellite GSOB infestations have been identified in communities across Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties. GSOB threatens mature, native oak stands across the region–causing severe damage and mortality. Increasing numbers of GSOB infected or dead oaks, coupled with climate change and decades of fire suppression, results in significant biomass accumulation that will significantly increase the wildfire risk around Southern California’s forests.

Given how GSOB has spread throughout the region, we believe TreePeople’s model for community organizing will help to spread awareness and education about GSOB, therefore limiting its spread and impact.

UCANR GSOB for photos

LA River Greenway Restoration

The Zev Yaroslavsky LA River Greenway Trail offers a serene natural escape for the local community and supports the flourishing of wildlife in an otherwise heavily urbanized area. As we strive to re-wild this stretch of land, we install a healthy variety of native plants, diligently tending to them with watering, weeding, pruning, and seed collecting. We invite you to join us in caring for the LA River greenway!

As a part of this initiative, we conduct nature walks to explore the rich flora and fauna of the region. Our aim is to familiarize community members with the native plants of Southern California and the crucial role they play in creating nurturing ecosystems and to help you identify non-native species and understand the importance of their removal. TreePeople will also engage with the community on the history and future of water usage in LA and highlight the many benefits of green spaces for our watersheds.

As part of TreePeople’s dedication to community forestry efforts, our Mountain Forestry Department regularly hosts trainings and workshops covering a wide range of topics including habitat restoration, native plant identification, high elevation reforestation techniques, and wildfire ecology and natural history. Volunteers play a quintessential role in TreePeople’s Forestry operations. To empower and enable them, TreePeople offers trainings to become field Volunteer Supervisors. Volunteer Supervisors support staff with the safety and comfort of other volunteers, as well as proper implementation and efficiency of our restoration and reforestation efforts. Through these workshops and Volunteer Supervisor trainings, volunteers get to partake in guided field trips and special opportunities like seed collection, overnight camping trips, and special events not offered to the general public.

Thanks to funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, TreePeople aims to restore areas in the Copper Fire scar that have been degraded due to the illegal use of Off-Highway Vehicles. In partnership with California Botanic Garden, TreePeople will install and maintain 3,000 native chaparral plants at these illegal trail heads to restore these areas. Other National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant recipients will be installing fences to prevent future vehicle use.

Whenever access allows, the work will be conducted through volunteer events, whereas difficult areas will be handled by partners.TreePeople will use fast-growing, sturdy plant species to prevent any future degradation and to allow proper restoration of these areas damaged by human activities, while also creating a more resilient landscape.

Powerhouse and Copper Conifer Study

Powerhouse and Copper Conifer Study

In collaboration with California Botanic Garden and the Angeles National Forest, and through funding provided by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Forest Foundation, TreePeople aims to assist future reforestation efforts through the research of two native conifer species. This study focuses on Pseudotsuga macrocarpa (bigcone douglas fir), an endemic species confined to the Transverse and Peninsular ranges and threatened by climate change-induced range reduction, as well as Pinus sabiniana (gray pine), a widely distributed conifer native to California, with knowledge gaps regarding species restoration and regeneration.

Through this study and its careful monitoring of trial sites and planting variables, TreePeople and partners seek to establish best management practices for the two target conifer species, and enable land managers to conduct successful reforestation efforts in the future.

Conifer seed collection photos

Nevin’s Barberry Study

Nevin’s Barberry Study

Years after our first collaboration on a chaparral restoration project in the Angeles National Forest, the California Botanic Garden and TreePeople partnered on a National Forest Foundation grant to bring back the federally listed endangered species Berberis nevinii in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. In partnership with the US Forest Service, this project included ten restoration micro-sites each becoming home to 60 individuals of the rare native plant, in an effort to stop its gradual disappearance. This project has also received the support of the Friendship Fund.

San Francisquito Canyon Chaparral Restoration

San Francisquito Canyon Chaparral Restoration

San Francisquito Canyon Chaparral Restoration

TreePeople broke ground in 2018 on the overarching chaparral restoration of San Francisquito Canyon and has been working hard since to restore just under 25 acres previously impacted by the 2002 Copper Fire.

Partnering with US Forest Service, California Botanic Garden, Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, and RECON Environmental, and thanks to funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, TreePeople and more than 5,000 volunteers have planted over 18,000 native trees, grasses and shrubs. This work aims to improve watershed health and ecosystem function by removing invasive species and restoring native habitat in areas of the canyon that struggled most to recover from the fire. Healthy chaparral plant communities are one of the most biodiverse habitats in the world and some of our most resilient to climate change which is why the restoration and conservation of these spaces is so critical.

At the beginning of 2022, our work expanded to a substantial riparian habitat with unprecedented success, showing rapid growth rates of nursery plants and cuttings installed. Helping restore a portion of this creek will benefit water sequestration and amphibian populations – including habitat for the endangered red-legged frog.

San Gabriel Mountains Post-Fire Restoration

San Gabriel Mountains Post-Fire Restoration

To continue our reforestation efforts in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, TreePeople received funding from the San Gabriel Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to work in partnership with the US Forest Service on three different projects in the Angeles National Forest.

  • First, the reforestation of the Guffy Campground along the Blue Ridge (near Wrightwood) where TreePeople planted about 500 conifers this spring.

  • The second area is in Alder Saddle and Rosenita Saddle reforestation: two areas that have been damaged by drought and bark beetle and where we have been planting and watering hundreds of Coulter and Jeffrey pines.

  • Finally, this program will also expand on our current conifer study, with ten additional sites of two hundred Pseudotsuga macrocarpa (bigcone douglas fir) each, which will multiply to replication of all variables and enhance the overall value of the study and its findings, informing future reforestation efforts.

Alder Saddle photos

Shake Conifer Reforestation

Shake Conifer Reforestation

This reforestation project, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and in partnership with the US Forest Service, is located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains of the Angeles National Forest. During the 2003 Powerhouse Fire and the subsequent 2020 Lake Fire, the Shake Plantation was severely damaged and lost most of its original conifer forest. With the assistance of volunteers and AmeriCorps team members, TreePeople is planting thousands of Coulter pines and providing supplemental water and maintenance to ensure their survival.

Volunteer participants learn about the local ecosystems and watersheds, their benefits and connection to our local communities, the dire consequences of wildfire, climate change and drought, and the basic stewardship methods community members can practice to help with forest health and resilience.

Photos