Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Landscape Restoration

The Southwest Jemez Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project is a long-term forest and watershed restoration strategy to increase the landscape's resilience to severe wildfire and other large-scale disturbances.

The Landscape

The landscape area is approximately 210,000 acres in the Southwest Jemez Mountains (SWJM) comprising the entire upper Jemez River watershed and including 110,000 acres on the Santa Fe National Forest, the 86,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve, the Pueblo of Jemez Pueblo, and additional parcels of state, private, and tribal lands (Vicinity Map,  Project Map).

The project area includes ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, aspen and piñon-juniper forests as well as grasslands, meadows, riparian areas and aquatic habitats.

The Need for Restoration

The effect of human activities has significantly changed the ecological complexion of the landscape within the Jemez Mountains.  Over time, the suppression of natural wildfires has dramatically altered the diversity, age, and productivity of native plant species.  The forests have experienced dramatic increases in tree densities, thick understories, and ground litter.  Decades of livestock grazing have left river and creek embankments without enough vegetation to hold the soil and shade the waterways to provide optimal temperatures for native trout and other aquatic species.  Invasive plants and noxious weeds have encroached across the landscape, diminishing the quality, quantity and diversity of native forage for both wildlife and livestock.

Project Goals

The overall goal is to restore the forest to conditions that were common to this geographical area prior to the first European contact.  The SWJM project was designed to meet four primary purposes:

  • Restore the forest's resilience to wildfire and other disturbances by using low-intensity fire to return fire to the landscape
  • Protect cultural resources
  • Improve wildlife habitat, watershed and riparian conditions, vegetation diversity and water quality
  • Create local economic development opportunities

Forest Restoration Activities

Prescribed fire is one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems like the Jemez Mountains. These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients and increasing habitat diversity.   Learn more about other forest restoration activities.


Collaboration is about doing more together than any of us can do alone!  Read more about the partners and their contributions in finding solutions to the challenges in the restoration efforts.  More about our partners and their contributions.


Nearly 40,000 acres have been treated with prescribed fire, managed wildfire and mechanical thinning since 2010.  Archaeologists have overseen site protection on approximately 850 cultural sites to date, and work has begun on the first task orders under the stewardship contract.  More.

Your Opportunity to Become Involved!

The forest is an integral part of our community and who we are.  It provides us with recreation and rejuvenation as well as resources.  Help ensure that the vital connection between our forest and our communities continues for generation to come.  Volunteers help us work on projects, monitor outcomes and share the science-based benefits of forest restoration.  Contact us to learn how to help.

Is Your Home Firewise?

Many people who have chosen to live along the wildland-urban interface (WUI) appreciate being nestled in the forest and surrounded by nature.  But an essential part of that bargain is to understand the risk of wildfire on these landscapes that we treasure.  There are proactive steps residents and property owners can take to mitigate that risk.  The National Fire Protection Association website has information about Firewise programs and how to prepare and protect your property.  You can also contact the Jemez Ranger District's Fire Prevention Officer for additional information.

Key Contacts

  • For Schedule of Proposed Actions:

    Sandra Imler-Jacquez
    Environmental Coordinator
    Tel: 505-438-5443
    E-mail Sandra
  • For the Southwest Jemez Mountains Landscape Restoration Project:

    Karl Buermeyer
    Implementation Lead
    Tel:  575-829-3535
    E-mail Karl