What is our project called?
The Sangre de Cristo Mountain Initiative (SDCMI)

What is the objective of the SDCMI?
The objective of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Initiative is to convene stakeholders from a diversity of backgrounds to co-create and implement an effective strategy for restoring and sustaining our burned or overly dense unburned forest in a manner that serves long-term forest health, reduces wildfire threats, is as carbon negative as possible, and improves the economic well-being of rural people while sustaining local and Indigenous values, communities, and cultures.

What is the challenge?
Within 18 to 24 months of the massive 2022 Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires, up to $100 million in the commercial value of sawlogs will be lost just from private lands if we don’t act fast, in addition to the small diameter biomass that will decay even more quickly. The challenge is to orchestrate a new level of coordination across businesses and governments to scale up effective harvesting, logistics, and processing of forest material into valuable products. We need a new type of initiative to facilitate community collaboration.

What is the opportunity?
In addition to an economic and ecological issue, this is a social justice issue. The income from multiple value streams can pay for the clearing of dead timber and the thinning of green wood, which, in turn, will have immense importance in allowing local people access to their forests for firewood cutting, grazing, hunting, and many other traditional uses. Local communities and state and federal agencies can realize huge returns if we dive in and collectively embrace new solutions.

What is the next step?
We are building an “Investor-Grade Community Action Plan” (from January 1 to April 30) to pinpoint the commercial, ecological, and operational realities of scaling up harvesting, logistics, and processing of forest biomass as the basis for private and public sector investment. Further funding is needed to resource the completion of this Action Plan (we have raised $45,000 of the $250,000 total).

What will an Investor-Grade Community Action Plan clarify?
What elements of a complete forest-to-market strategy add up to a viable short-term surge and a long-lasting approach to forest, watershed, and community vitality?

What are the economic, ecological, and social costs and benefits of action and inaction in burned and unburned landscapes?

What governance and public engagement strategies are most effective for sustaining forest thinning and other landscape and watershed restoration strategies?

How can these strategies be integrated into a durable, holistic solution that positively influences other parts of rural economies or cultures?

How can this forest-to-market plan be sustainably funded?

What challenges have to be met in creating this Action Plan?

We will need data from the forests.

GIS input, Highlands University, partners in SWERI

Assistance for New Mexico State Forestry

We need data analysis support

Breese Robinson

New Mexico Forestry Division for their assistance

In-forest assessment needs staffing and GIS documentation

9M acres in our project area; fortunately, much of the land is similar, so focus on the 500,000 acres of the forest fire area, of which 60% burned, so we need to assess 300,000 initially.

We will need to budget for this assistance

What deliverables will the Action Plan include?

Optimal harvesting-to-processing plan for multiple value streams

Stakeholder roles and participation plan (who is doing what)

Transportation and logistics plan

Equipment plan

Project management plan

Preliminary framing of a landscape and watershed restoration plan

Month-by-month expense and revenue projections for plan implementation

Finance plan

What are the intended returns of implementing the Action Plan?

Fire prevention and reduction (Even a modest-sized project can create over $6M in fire mitigation benefits annually)

Help maintain and revive local and Indigenous communities (Without access to healthy forests, people will lose access to their lands and livelihoods – an incalculable loss)

Gross receipts tax increase to the state (5% of $100M in saw timber is $5M in net income)

Local jobs and income enhancements (Even a single mill and associate positions in the woods can provide $2M annually in county-wide benefits)

The increased tax base for counties (For example, in Mora County, 1.7% of $2,000,000= $37,000 annually)

Environmental benefits to air, water, and soil

Hunting and eco-tourism revenues

Watershed protection and enhanced water access for downstream irrigators

Value of averting another large fire ($5B and counting)

What benefits can accrue to landowners, the forestry industry, and the region that are only possible with an integrated approach?

Blended funding from public and private investment

New markets for saw logs and other marketable timber

Increased harvesting capacity

Intelligent infrastructure and transportation logistics

Value streams for non-merchantable timber and biomass

Investment capital for all stages of the value chain

Blockchain, carbon markets, and other alternative valuation methods

Long-term ecological health and resilience

What principles does this project stand on?

We promise to support economically viable forests, watersheds, and community health in alignment with local and Indigenous values.

We will engage with all relevant community members within an open and transparent process that seeks common ground and mutual benefit.

We progress with an understanding that collaboration and coordination to contribute to the common good are more productive than the competition for individual gain.

We commit to acting in the near term in a way that serves long-term sustainability.

We empower local and Indigenous peoples, businesses, landowners, agencies, NGOs, and local, state, and national governments to work as a team with the entire system in mind.

What specific questions will the Action Plan ask and answer?

Who currently provides forestry and forest products services in the local region?


Local and Indigenous Peoples

State and Federal Agencies

Trucking and Transportation

Forestry Industry




Farmers and Ranchers

What is the capacity of these entities?


Local and Indigenous Peoples

State and Federal Agencies

Trucking and Transportation

Forestry Industry



Farmers and Ranchers

Who wants to participate in the efforts to revive our forested landscapes?

What new capital, wood supply, markets, labor, or anything else do these entities need to reach their capacity?

What is the need, capacity, and approach for harvesting burnt timber?

What amount of harvestable and merchantable burned timber in the privately-owned forests in San Miguel, Colfax, and Mora Counties?

How do we integrate with state and federal lands?

How long do we have before burned wood has to be removed and used as timber?

How long do we have before burned wood has to be removed and used as biomass?

What amount of harvesting activity do these volumes require monthly and yearly from now on?

How do we do this work to the benefit of indigenous interests or values?

What is the need, capacity, and approach for harvesting unburnt timber?

What amount of harvestable and merchantable unburnt timber is in the privately-owned forests in San Miguel, Colfax, and Mora Counties?

How do we integrate with state and federal lands?

What are the markets for unburnt saw logs?

What are the markets for unburnt small-diameter wood?

What amount of harvesting activity will these volumes require monthly and yearly in the future?

How do we do this work to the benefit of the community and indigenous interests and values?

What are the significant barriers and opportunities associated with developing supply chains related to existing conventional forestry practices (e.g., firewood, flooring, timber, vigas, etc.)?

What other value streams can be nurtured to encompass a complete forest treatment-to-market approach, including new uses of biomass for energy and construction materials?

What are the significant barriers and opportunities associated with developing supply chains related to biomass energy, biochar, building materials, carbon markets, electricity, and other non-traditional uses of forest products?

What new investments in existing or new technologies can be deployed in the region in the short- and long term?

What materials need additional capacity to be met outside the region?

Where can that capacity be filled?

What logistics are needed to move the various biomass elements from the forest to the market?

What new logistics solutions are needed for this long-distance transportation?

What new investments are needed to support both local and long-distance logistics?

What are the societal implications of forest, watershed, and community degradation that must be integrated into the commercial solution?

Therefore, what financial and logistical support is sensible to be funded by the state of New Mexico and the federal government?

What governance and commercial innovations are needed to sustain this collaboration?

How do we best integrate local and Indigenous values into our process?

How can relations with and between local, state, and federal governments be improved?

What new governance arrangements need to be undertaken to create these improvements?

What corporate or coop structures are needed to reflect holistic, collaborative frameworks?

How do we fund whole communities and not just individuals, businesses, homes, and landowners?

How do the financial elements of this forest-to-market solution add up to an economically viable and environmentally-sound approach for everyone involved?

What are the needs and opportunities for investors in this Forest and Community Action Plan?

Who are the investors that want to make these investments?

Through what public-private partnership can the development of the Action Plan be supported?

We catalog all relevant stakeholder groups and their appropriate representatives, including business, public sector, academic, environmental, and community leaders. We have cataloged and informed 265 individuals to date. Specific groups include:

Federal government

New Mexico federal delegation

New Mexico state government

Local government/chambers

New Mexico state forestry

New Mexico’s economic development

New Mexico tribal leadership

Environmental organizations

Water stakeholders

Forestry industry

Mills and Forest Products





Community leaders




Local non-forestry businesses


Outside NM technology developers

Scientific and research organizations

What questions will we ask individuals within each stakeholder group?

For Local and Indigenous peoples

How does forest and watershed renewal align with your values and lifeways?

What opportunities or threats do you see to your values and lifeways from our approach or the status quo?

How can newer, more efficient, diversified approaches to forestry further your values or interests?

How do threats from previous or potential wildfires impact your culture and lifeways?

What opportunities, threats, or disadvantages do you see from a regional forestry strategy?

For landowners

What are the primary land stewardship issues you face?

Is the high density of burned or unburned trees a severe challenge on your lands?

How do we better integrate stewardship of public and private lands?

What concerns do you have about how adjacent forests to your lands are being managed?

If anything were possible, what solutions would you use to address these challenges?

How many acres would you treat if a viable approach were developed for increased harvesting along with a forest-to-market strategy?

In what timeframe do you want to have this acreage treated?

What is your on-staff and available contracting capacity for forest harvesting?

What harvesting activity are you doing now, and how?

For state and federal forestry staff

How can progress on private lands impact your overall forest management and stewardship goals?

How would improvements in forest management and the forestry industry assist you in achieving your goals?

How can you better assist in the stewardship of private lands?

How can we achieve a better synthesis of public and private land stewardship?

For forestry industry leaders

What capacity increases can your enterprise add to local and regional forest restoration efforts, and what capital, staffing, supply, and markets would enable you to profit from meeting the need?

What are the opportunities to coordinate resources, equipment, and activities across forestry businesses?

What concerns about cooperation do you want to make sure are addressed?

What are your concerns about the current system, and how can it be improved to better assist you in expanding your work?

How can state and federal financial and logistical support better serve your needs?

For local non-forestry business managers

How does forest and watershed health impact your business and your community?

How have wildfires impacted your business and livelihood?

In what ways would you like your business to contribute to and benefit from a scaled-up forestry industry and local economy?

What are the significant barriers to improving forest and watershed health?

What are the significant opportunities for improving forest and watershed health?

For local public sector and community leaders

How do forests and watershed health impact your community?

How does forest and watershed health impact your ability to accomplish your mission?

How have the recent fires impacted your community and your work?

What are the significant barriers to improving forest and watershed health?

What are the significant opportunities for improving forest and watershed health?

What additional resources do you need from the state and federal government?

How can a private sector effort aid in your work?

What goals would your community want to see advanced from this forestry action plan?

What concerns do you want to ensure are addressed in this Action Plan?

What dynamics are going on in the community that can be problematic for progress?

What resource limits would need to be addressed for this initiative to be successful? Potential issues include, but are not limited to:


Labor force

Road capacity

Transportation networks

More effective and relevant state and federal support

What adjustments to your current role or mission would enable you to focus more on long-term collective benefit?

For environmental groups

How do you define and conceive forest and watershed health?

How does forest or watershed health impact your work and programmatic mission?

How have the recent fires impacted your mission or operations?

If anything were possible, what forest/watershed issues would be your focus, and how would you address them?

What are the significant barriers to improving forest and watershed health?

What are the significant opportunities for improving forest and watershed health?

What concerns for the vitality of the environment, watersheds, and wildlife do you want to have a role in addressing within the forest management-to-market strategy SDCMI proposing?

For foundations and philanthropists

What forest and watershed issues do you see as the region’s greatest challenge?

How have the recent fires impacted your actions, role, and mission?

What needs are not being addressed under the current system?

What would help you make your work more effective?

What resources can you provide to this Initiative, and what questions and guidance do you have toward applying those resources?

For new technology developers

What is the technology that could be productively included in this Initiative?

How do you describe the current status of your technology and its deployment?

What capital or support is needed to advance your technology?

These are general questions all stakeholders should answer.

What’s needed that this Initiative is not addressing?

What resources do you have in your control that may be helpful to this Initiative?

What resources do you know outside your control that you want to ensure we are aware of?

What resources do you want assistance accessing?

What is your vision for how the federal government, the state, and the region should respond?

Based on what you understand about the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Initiative, do you want to participate actively?

Based on what you understand about the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Initiative, do you want the state and federal governments to embrace and support the project?

What do you see that support should look like?

What does this new level of community collaboration require of all of us?

Inventing new approaches around collaboration, coordination, and trust

Apply a fuller set of measures of effectiveness that create actual “profits” for business and the community

Fuller transparency of our activities

Information and knowledge sharing

Emphasize our collective intelligence

Sharing opportunities across multiple counties and agencies

Sharing opportunities across multiple businesses

Effective collaboration between the public and private sector

Funding the whole community, not just individual home, land, and business owners

Personal growth, facilitated by letting go of what we may have relied on previously

When asked and answered, what questions provide the “Foundational Assessments” for a whole systems design?

What are the silvicultural prescriptions and feedstock volumes?

What is the current status of the state’s stand-based inventory?

Where is each stand, and what is its GIS description?

What entity owns and manages each stand, i.e., federal, state, county, tribal, or private?

What types of trees and sizes, including species, age, health, stand structure, and photosynthetic activity?

What are the slopes and aspects (direction)?

What percentage of the forest is burned or likely to burn soon?

What is the current condition of the stand and its anticipated condition/deterioration over the coming months while harvesting activity can be scaled up?

What cultural, ecological, and hydrological values need to be addressed?

What is the current forest management plan for the entire forest, and is it up to date?

What is the current forest management plan for the stand, and is it up to date?

What activity is going on in each forest? What species are harvested? Who is currently harvesting each forest? How does each entity type approach its forestry management activities? Community or Indigenous values or resources?

Which stands are not being managed to meet the forest restoration goals, particularly overstocking?

Where does the forest stand relative to historic baseline conditions?

What is the silvicultural prescription?

What are the species, tree sizes, log volumes, and logging residues to be removed based on the silvicultural prescription?

What quantity and type of byproducts (e.g., forest slash) are generated at each forest? Are they shipped, and if so, where and how?

What quantity and type of waste products are generated at each forest, and how and where are they disposed of?

What are the most significant unmet opportunities?

What material and volumes from each stand need new market solutions?

What other factors should be added to this analysis?

Which entities are in the best position for conducting the harvesting activities in each forest, based on multiple factors, including:

Accessibility, as outlined below

Are there outside resources you suggest engaging? If so, who?

How do the feedstock volumes add up at the regional level?

How does each stand relate to other stands in the region such that the aggregate regional volume of common material is identified?

How do in-forest existing and potentially new logistics assets indicate accessibility for harvesting?

What are the roads in each forest stand, and what entity owns and maintains those roads?

How have they been damaged, or how are they likely to be damaged by wildfire?

What are the characteristics of in-forest road access, including the legal guidelines?

What is the condition of these roads?

What are the seasonal characteristics of these roads?

What are the characteristics of the critical infrastructure elements in the forest? What do we have? What’s missing?

Where are new roads and cleared land needed to render forest material removal viable?

Given the characteristics and regulations of the in-forest logistics, what percentage of the forest stands are physically accessible?

Which entities are in the best position to conduct the transportation activities from each forest?

What is the composition of the existing regional logistics infrastructure for forest materials?

What is the region’s publicly accessible road network?

What are the weight and clearance restrictions on these area roads?

Where are the existing railroad main lines, branch lines, spur lines, sidings, and loading infrastructure?

Where are the existing rail- and truck-served infrastructure assets for transload, distribution, and storage?

Who owns each facility and network section, and what services and capacities do they have?

What is the status of the rail line from Albuquerque to Raton?

Owned by BNSF

What level of sub-contract operator might BNSF agree to?

Anacostia & Pacific, Watco, Genesee &Wyoming, for example

Where does freight service currently begin down the line and up the line?

Where can new rail line construction enhance forestry operations and minimize transportation costs and impacts?

Where can new rail loading facilities enhance forestry operations and minimize transportation costs and impacts?

Are these new developments commercially viable, or do they need public subsidization?

What are the performance characteristics and costs of available equipment types for harvesting, in-forest logistics, and regional transportation?

What are the harvesting equipment choices?

What are the transportation equipment choices?

What are the specifications of the trucks that can be utilized in each stand in support of each material-removal activity?

What transportation range can each vehicle type be viable?

What are the equipment costs for each vehicle type?

What is the status of diesel-alternative energy technology for each vehicle type?

What existing and new capacity is needed for short- and long-term harvesting?

Which entities are in the best position to conduct harvesting activities in each forest?

What community factors should be identified and weighed in decision-making?

What demographic and economic statistics of nearby communities should inform the project, e.g., population demographics, primary industries, unemployment, and economic conditions?

What other related industries in the region should be considered in tandem with the forest products logistics strategy, e.g., mines, mills, oil, gas, renewables, agriculture, and product and chemical manufacturing?

What are the economic development goals of the local communities?

Which communities and residents should be included in evaluating and siting new facilities and infrastructure?

What are the metrics and goals of the various business stakeholders for each component of the system?

What are the requirements and metrics for forest harvesting companies?

What are the requirements and metrics for forestry materials transportation companies?

What are the requirements and metrics for forestry materials storage companies?

What are the requirements and metrics for forestry materials distribution companies?

What are the requirements and metrics for forestry materials processing companies?

What is the optimal conception of existing and potential new processing facilities?

Where are the in-state and out-of-state timber (lumber, pellets, paper, paperboard, energy, biomass) processing facilities?

Where are the mills designed for processing Ponderosa Pine in the west?

What inbound freight, such as papermaking chemicals and animal feeds, exists for forestry and connected and parallel industries?

What new associated product manufacturing facilities are made viable by the forestry activity and location in the market?

Where can new processing facilities be optimally located to the needs, benefits, and impacts of transporting forestry products, by-products, and waste streams?

What trends and projections in technology development should be considered in future supply chain design?

What are the direct and indirect benefits of improved thinning and forest management?

Thin forests closer to pre-settlement densities reduce fire risk and improve ecological function

Remove fire-damaged trees to allow community access and to support other kinds of ecological and watershed restoration

Improve water balance to allow for downstream flow to mitigate drought and climate change

Address juniper invasion and promote more pinon in PJ ecosystems

Soil stabilization and landscape restoration pre- and post-fire

Improved wildlife habitat and landscape level diversity

Improve grazing and other traditional lifeways

Provide more livelihoods consistent with local and Indigenous values

Sustain or improve the community, landscape, and watershed integrity

Address new climatic and ecosystem realities – shifting systems to desired future conditions

What are the timing aspects of a whole system forestry approach?

What do recent forest fires mean to the temporal concerns of forestry?

How does the urgency of ecological restoration demand our focused attention on optimizing existing service providers versus pulling in resources from across the nation?

How do existing service providers need to be supported and augmented?

What does the surge in harvesting mean for future supply and, therefore, commercial concerns?

Is there a basis for installing “mobile” facilities, including new technology-focused, that can be subsequently moved to other forest regions?

What are the Consequences of Delay?

How can the work on the urgent priority areas be done to serve the next set of priorities?

How do we address small-diameter timber and alternative markets such as biomass energy and biochar?

What is the best treatment of ground cover in fire aftermath for the long-term vitality of the forest?

How do we address high oak densities post-fire to accelerate recovery to later serial stages?

What changes in genetic or ecological composition are needed to anticipate climate change?

What are the best approaches to stump treatment?

What are desired future conditions for our landscapes, watersheds, and communities?


The focus on 45 K highlights we have not thought much about admin. 10% percent is actually very low – much orgs admin costs are closer to 22%.  [CC1]

After you have typed in some text, hit ENTER to start searching...