Across the nation and in the Pacific Northwest, there is broad public support for actively managing forests to be more resilient to the uncertainties of climate change and the effects of insect outbreaks, disease, and destructive wildfires that follow decades of fire suppression in fire-dependent forests.
However, the current rate of restoration is not keeping pace with forest growth.
Unless we do some things differently, acres in need of restoration will continue to out-pace restoration accomplishments. Therefore, to restore ecological resiliency to significant areas of eastside national forests and ensure socio-economic viability of eastside communities, the Pacific Northwest Region will accelerate the pace and scale of restoration.
Accelerated restoration will begin in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington where existing collaborative groups are actively engaged with the Forest Service in landscape-scale restoration projects.
Here's a video of Regional Forester Kent Connaughton speaking about Eastside Restoration efforts.
More than 2.6 million acres of national forest lands in eastern Oregon and Washington are in need of restoration. After more than a century of active fire suppression and evolving timber management practices, more lands have become more vulnerable to uncharacteristic outbreaks of insects, diseases, and wildfires. The current pace of active forest restoration with thinning and prescribed burning is not keeping pace with forest growth. In addition, the economic livelihood of several communities is threatened by the potential closure of sawmills, bringing with it the loss of jobs of not only millworkers, loggers and truck drivers, but also teachers, store clerks, fuel suppliers, county road crews, and more.
Eastside forests desperately need restoration through thinning and prescribed burning. Eastside communities need the raw material and jobs created by restoration work. Restoration work depends on a healthy forest products industry to provide labor, capital, and equipment, and robust community collaboratives to identify and overcome obstacles to restoration activity Therefore, we cannot afford to lose the forests, and we cannot afford to lose the mills. The eastside restoration strategy is focused on accelerating the pace and scale of forest restoration to provide both healthy forests and healthy communities.
There are compelling ecological, social, and economic imperatives to accelerate forest restoration on national forests in eastern Oregon and Washington.
The current rate of restoration cannot keep pace with forest growth. Acres in need of restoration will continue to out-pace restoration accomplishments if the Forest Service continues to use the same management approach.
To restore ecological resiliency to significant areas of eastside national forests and ensure socio-economic viability of eastside communities, the Forest Service will accelerate the pace and scale of restoration.
Forest Service capability to conduct restoration activities on eastside lands requires a working forest products industry that will enable restoration to proceed at a reasonable cost. That industry still exists in eastern Oregon and Washington, but its survival is tenuous.
Community engagement, particularly through place-based collaborative groups and partnerships, is essential to Accelerated Restoration.
Accelerated restoration will begin in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington where existing collaboratives are actively engaged with the Forest Service in landscape-scale restoration projects.
The Eastside Restoration Strategy Team
Back row: Neil McCusker, Michael Brown, Paul Boehne, Bill Aney. Front row: Amy Gowan, Ayn Shlisky, Brian Spradlin, Jenifer Ferriel, Barbara Wales
Bill Aney – Coordinator
Blue Mountains Restoration Strategy Interdisciplinary Team
Ayn Shlisky – Team Lead
Michael Brown – Hydrologist
Paul Boehne – Fisheries Biologist
Jenifer Ferriel – Ecologist/Botanist
Amy Gowan – Sociologist
Neil McCusker – Vegetation Management Specialist/Silviculturist
Brian Spradlin - Vegetation Management Specialist/Silviculturist
Barbara Wales – Wildlife Biologist
Read biographies of the team members.
Collaborative Corner: Partners in Eastside Forest Restoration