RFFI Partnerships In Action

Vasquez Reforestation crew before leaving to thin overstocked stands in Usal’s shaded fuel break. This will reduce the fuel load and provide biomass for biochar processing.

Profile of a Local Business

Jesus Vasquez has been working in the Usal Redwood Forest with his forestry crew since 2000. His relationship started with the Redwood Forest Foundation’s purchase of Usal in 2007 as a subcontractor of RFFI’s previous forest manager, Campbell Timberland Management. Since 2016, when RFFI’s subsidiary, the Usal Redwood Forest Company (URFC), took over management of Usal, Jesus’ team has contracted with URFC.

In summer, Jesus employs eight workers who do brush clearing and pre-commercial thinning. In winter, the crew grows to 16 to 18, and they shift primarily to tree planting. His company’s equipment includes four trucks, 25 chain saws, two side-by-sides and one 4-wheeler, plus planting equipment. They are also prepared for fire-fighting in case of emergency, with up to 24 workers. All of their work is coordinated closely with URFC Chief Forester Linwood and the URFC forestry team.

Jesus proudly states that all of his workers are local to Mendocino County – most have families and live in Fort Bragg with kids in the local schools. He and his workers like working with URFC because we keep them steadily employed and they enjoy seeing the trees grow. He is worried about COVID-19, but his crew is fortunate to be working in the forest and are really busy, especially with fire season. The fires in 2020 on nearby forests have made them appreciate the current opportunity to work on fuel breaks within the Usal Redwood Forest.

Jesus would like to say thank you to RFFI and URFC for supporting his crew and his company, “We really like you guys.”