TCF California State Director, Chris Kelly, on the Buckeye Forest. Photo by Michael Macor.
At A Glance
- Buckeye Forest is the largest conservation project in the history of Sonoma County.
- There was widespread public support for saving this land from development or vineyard conversion.
- The local community benefits from an intact watershed and jobs created from the working forest.
Did You Know?
Since 2004, the Fund has protected more than 125,000 acres of Douglas fir and redwood forests with a sustainable management strategy that conserves critical habitat, restores native watersheds and supports local economies through light-touch timber management
Buckeye Forest (formerly known as Preservation Ranch) is the latest installment in The Conservation Fund’s North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative. In 2013, our Working Forest Fund, with support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, enabled the purchase of the nearly 20,000-acre property in northern California, which had been threatened by development and vineyard conversion. As owners, we will sustainably manage the land for timber, carbon sequestration and restoration of coho salmon habitat.
The protection of Buckeye Forest marks a significant moment in Northern California forest conservation. More than a decade ago, the Fund set out to reassemble what was once a single forested property stretching nearly 30 miles along the rugged North Coast range. Over time, this land was divided and sold into multiple parcels, including Buckeye Forest.
With our purchases of the Garcia River Forest in 2004 and the adjoining Gualala River Forest in 2011, we began sustainably managing these historic forests before they were forever lost to non-forest uses. The Buckeye acquisition completes the efforts to reunite the larger forest.
Benefits Of A Working Forest
Prior owners of the property sought permits to subdivide and convert the forest to vineyards but there was widespread public support for saving this land. In addition to operating as one of the largest nonprofit owned working forests in the West, remaining on the tax rolls and providing jobs—all of which benefits the local community—conservation of the property will contribute to California’s economy in other ways too. The project includes an innovative approach that allows the California Coastal Conservancy to share in revenues from the sale of carbon offsets generated across the property to be used to advance the Conservancy’s conservation programs.
Like the neighboring Gualala River and Garcia River forests directly to the north, Buckeye Forest provides critical habitat for the recovery of northern spotted owl, salmon and steelhead trout. Its dense landscape of coastal redwoods, Douglas firs, oak woodland and native grasslands offers significant habitat diversity for many north coast species of rare plants and migratory song birds.
The Fund is a leader in forest conservation across the United States. Please click on the links below for more information about our other forestry projects in California.