Region 6 Plan Revision

Science Synthesis to Inform Plan Revisions within the Northwest Forest Plan Area 

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest (which includes Oregon and Washington) and Pacific Southwest (which includes California) Research Stations developed a science synthesis to inform the revision of land management plans (forest plans) for 19 national forests within the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) area.

View Science Synthesis Executive Summary and Recorded Presentations (9/18/2018)

View available revised Forest Plans on the Planning page.

What is the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP)?

The NWFP is a landscape approach to public land management designed to protect threatened and endangered species in late successional and old-growth habitats, while also contributing to social and economic sustainability in the region. The NWFP was completed in 1994 and amended 19 National Forest and 7 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) resource management plans. These plans provide guidance for how public lands and resources will be managed for a period of time, usually 10-15 years. The NWFP initiated a new approach to public land management, encompassing 24 million acres of land across California, Oregon and Washington. 

What’s happened so far?

Since the NWFP amendment was completed, the ecological, social and economic conditions have changed in the NWFP area and new science has become available. It’s time to consider updating the associated forest plans to ensure they are current and provide the best management direction possible. The BLM completed revision of their NWFP-associated resource management plans in 2016, and the Forest Service is preparing to update our NWFP-associated forest plans as well.  The Forest Service remains committed to upholding the principles of the NWFP in all current and future forest plan updates.

General Listening sessions:

In March through June of 2015, the Forest Service held 19 listening sessions across Oregon, Washington, and northern California to share information about forest planning and the role of science, outline current thinking about how to strategically update forest plans, and gather ideas from the public on how to include them in the planning process. Three bi-regional listening sessions were held in coordination with Region 5 (California) and 16 forest-level listening sessions. In total, over 900 people participated in these events. 

Public forum on the Twenty-year monitoring reports:

Later in 2015, we hosted a public forum to share results from our 20-year monitoring reports. When the NWFP was completed, an interagency monitoring framework was implemented for tracking the status and trends of social and economic conditions, tribal relationships, watershed condition, late successional and old-growth forests, and population numbers and habitat condition for key species (e.g., marbled murrelets and northern spotted owls).  The 20-Year Reports provide an analysis of monitoring data gathered within the NWFP-area since 1994, with a focus on the last 5 years and will be used to inform the forest plan revisions within the NWFP-area.

Science Synthesis:

The 2012 Planning Rule requires the use of best available scientific information to inform decisions. In recognition of this, as well as public input, the Pacific Northwest Research Station and Pacific Southwest Research Station initiated a science synthesis in 2016 to inform the assessment phase of forest planning.     This science synthesis takes the findings from the full body of relevant science/research within a topic area and combines them into a concise and comprehensive summary of best available science for the area. This effort includes results from the 20-year monitoring reports, peer-reviewed science, and agency data. The draft science synthesis was released in December 2016 for public comment and scientific peer review. The final synthesis will be informed by the input received and will be released as a General Technical Report in 2018.

What’s next?

Bio-Regional Assessment:

A bio-regional assessment (BioA) is the next step towards informing this planning effort. A BioA evaluates existing scientific information and identifies key issues that span across national forest boundaries. For the NWFP area, the BioA will rapidly review the social, economic and ecological conditions and trends, as well as sustainability of the forests and grassland within the NWFP area. The BioA is in its early, conceptual stages, with the Forest Service currently determining the most effective and efficient way to complete this endeavor across 19 Forest Service units, 3 states, and 2 separate Forest Service regions (Pacific Northwest Region – R6, and Pacific Southwest Region – R5).

Why this approach?

The 2015 listening sessions uncovered two important themes that shaped the approach described in this newsletter. First, participants agreed that forest plans should be based on a solid scientific foundation – the draft science synthesis, as well as the results from our 20-year monitoring program, will provide this initial foundation—although we expect that new science may continue to emerge throughout the planning process. Second, listening session participants recognized the importance of considering the broad implications of planning efforts across the entirety of the NWFP area. The BioA will evaluate the broad and interconnected social, economic and ecological systems throughout the area.

Current/Future Public engagement opportunities

The Forest Service is committed to creating a variety of ways and opportunities for State and local governments, Tribes, other Federal agencies, stakeholders, partners and our public to engage throughout the modernization of forest plans. In the months to come, we will be developing a plan for involvement and input into the BioA process.

Resources and Information

If you are new to forest planning, we encourage you to check-out the following guides to learn more about the planning process:

  1. A Citizens’ Guide to National Forest Planning
  2. Understanding Your Opportunities for Participating in the Forest Service Planning Process:  A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

To learn more about forest planning efforts, including recent products developed as part of this effort, please visit the following websites:

Sign up for plan revision

What is Land Management Plan Revision?

A review for Implementation MonitoringEach national forest operates under a Land Management Plan, as required by the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). Land Management Plans, often called "Forest Plans", provide broad direction and guidance on how national forestlands will be managed for 10 to 15 years. The National Forest Managment Act also requires forests to revise their Forest Plans. Currently national forests in Oregon and Washington are either already in the revision process (Colville, Malheur, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests) or are preparing for Forest Plan revision in the near future. Many of the national forests that have not yet begun the revision process have Forest Plans that were published in the 1980s and early 1990s that were amended by the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) in 1994.

The Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994 with the intent of protecting the critical habitat of the northern spotted owl while maintaining a viable forest products industry in the Pacific Northwest. In total, the NWFP amended 26 land use plans, including 19 National Forest and seven Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans within the range of the northern spotted owl. The NWFP established standards and guidelines to meet the intent to pursue an ecosystem management, scientifically supported approach to forest management. The goal of this approach was to maintain healthy forest habitat to support native species, watershed health and function, and a sustainable supply of timber and other forest products to help preserve the stability of local and regional economies. For more information on NWFP monitoring, visit

The Pacific Northwest (OR, WA) and Pacific Southwest (CA) Regions of the U.S. Forest Service are continuing a public conversation on the process for revising forest land management plans within the Nothwest Forest Plan amendment area. The Forest Service will follow the principles established by the Regional Interagency Executive Committee framework in its plan revision processes.

All new plan revision efforts will follow the 2012 planning regulations. Our goal is to ensure an adaptive land management planning process that is inclusive, efficient, collaborative and science-based to promote healthy, resilient, diverse and productive National Forests and Grasslands. For a copy of the 2012 planning rule, its history, public collaboration on the rule, and more please visit

Public Listening Sessions

A man writes ideas on a list during a public listening session.In March through June of 2015, the Forest Service held 19 listening sessions across the Northwest and northern California to:

  1. Share information about plan revision and the role of science,
  2. Outline our current thinking about a plan revision strategy, and
  3. Gather ideas from the public on the revision process.

We held 3 bi-regional listening sessions in coordination with Region 5 (California) and 16 forest-level listening sessions. In total, over 900 people participated. Thank you! 

Listening session participants shared a broad range of ideas, and we summarized the feedback into three main topics: public engagement, science, and overarching plan revision interests. The summary report can be downloaded in whole or in parts below. Listening session feedback is already being used to shape our plan revision strategy, and we look forward to incorporating additional ideas as we move forward.

View Plan Revision Listening Sessions Summary Reports and Materials.

Northwest Forest Plan 20-Year Monitoring Reports

The Forest Service Research Station hosted a public forum to share key findings of the Northwest Forest Plan 20-Year Monitoring Reports on June 9 in Vancouver, WA. The forum included a series of presentations on the reports’ key findings, which can be accessed at the Regional Ecosystem Office forum website: