The Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program focuses on assessing the degree to which federal land management under the aquatic conservation strategy (ACS) of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) has been effective in maintaining and improving watershed conditions. We used stream sampling data and upslope/riparian geographic information system (GIS) and remote-sensing data to evaluate condition for sixth-field watersheds in each aquatic province within the NWFP area. Stream conditions were evaluated based on sampling data collected from 2002 to 2013 (214 watersheds) as part of an 8-year repeating (rotating) sample design. For both rotations, approximately 60 percent of the stream scores fell between 40 and 60 and relatively few (2 percent) were less than 20; no watersheds scored above 80 during either rotation. We detected small but improving status trends in physical habitat, aquatic macroinvertebrates scores, and water temperature. Upslope/riparian condition scores were calculated for 1993 and 2012, and the difference between these two distributions of scores was used to represent trend. In 2012, a total of 26 percent of the overall watershed area received scores above 80, 68 percent scored between 40 and 80, and only 6 percent scored below 40. Since 1993, scores in 16 percent of the NWFP area increased by more than 5 percent, while only 7 percent declined by a similar magnitude. Although at the plan level the mean score changed little (+1), there were broad-scale moderate gains resulting from vegetation growth and larger but more concentrated gains resulting from road decommissioning. These gains, which occurred predominantly in areas most heavily managed prior to the NWFP, were largely offset by high declines in scores stemming from large fires, particularly in reserve areas.
The article, intended for professional and manager audiences, is an overview of current research in urban forestry. Topics include tree science, forest risks, forest management and assessment, ecosystem services, and urban socio-ecological systems (including governance and stewardship).
Ecosystem services consistently group together both spatially and cognitively into “bundles”. Understanding socio-economic predictors of these bundles is essential to informing a management approach that emphasizes equitable distribution of ecosystem services. We received 1796 completed surveys from stakeholders of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (WA, USA) using both in-person workshops and an online platform. Survey respondents rated the importance of 26 ecosystem services. Subsequent analysis revealed six distinct preference bundles of these services: environmental quality, utilitarian values, heritage values, two types of recreational values, and access and roads. Results suggest that the conceptualizations of these bundles are consistent across socio-demographic groups. Resource agencies that seek to frame dialogue around critical values may want to consider these broadly representative bundle sets as a meaningful organizing framework that would resonate with diverse constituents.
Ecosystem services are increasingly recognized as a way of framing and describing the broad suite of benefits that people receive from forests. The USDA Forest Service has been exploring use of an ecosystem services framework to describe forest values provided by federal lands and to attract and build partnerships with stakeholders to implement projects. Recently, the agency has sought placed-based applications of the ecosystem services framework to national forest management to better illustrate the concept for policymakers, managers and forest stakeholders. This framework includes describing the ecosystem services provided by forest landscapes, examining the potential trade-offs among services associated with proposed management activities, and attracting and building partnerships with stakeholders who benefit from particular services forests provide. Projects that describe objectives and outcomes using an ecosystem services framework are quickly gaining respect and could provide an optimal method of managing forests to better serve the needs of people. We describe how project-scale guidelines can be designed to address commonly recognized products such as timber and clean water, as well as critical regulating, supporting and cultural services. We present results from national programmes to forest plan assessments to project-scale applications that enhance the provision of ecosystem services and sustainable forest management at broad to local scales.
Koa (Acacia koa A. Gray), a species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, has ecological, cultural, and economic significance. Its wood is prized globally but today, most woodworkers only use koa wood from dead and dying old-growth trees. The general perception of wood from young-growth koa is that it lacks the color and figure of old-growth wood and is thus less appealing to consumers. To evaluate consumer preference of koa attributes, a conjoint choice experiment was conducted using randomly combined levels of attributes, including color, figure (curl), and price, with six identically shaped bowls from which respondents selected their preferences. The survey was conducted at six locations on O’ahu (372 respondents) to poll a variety of koa product consumers. Latent class analysis software was used to separate respondents into distinct classes based on expressed preferences. The results identified five classes of respondents. Class 1 (24% of respondents) showed significant preference for lower prices, medium color, and non-curly bowls. Class 2 (22% of respondents) showed significant preference for light colored and curly bowls. Class 3 (20% of respondents) showed significant preference for light or medium colored and curly bowls. Class 4 (19% of respondents) significantly preferred lower prices and light or medium colored bowls. Class 5 (15% of respondents) also significantly preferred lower prices but they significantly preferred darker colored and curly bowls as well. Opportunities exist for koa woodworkers to create products manufactured from young-growth koa wood that appeal to different market segments. The ability to substitute young-growth koa for the decreasing supply of old-growth wood can aid in promoting active management of the species.
There is worldwide interest in managing forests to improve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and assure long-term sustainability of forest resources. An increasingly important goal of forest management is to increase stand diversity and improve wildlife and aquatic habitat. Well-planned silvicultural systems containing a mixture of broadleaf-conifer species have potential to enhance stand diversity and provide other ecosystem services earlier than typical even-aged conifer plantations. Here, we use the example of mixed Sitka spruce/western hemlock and red alder in young, managed stands in southeast Alaska to achieve these goals. We briefly describe the silvics of Sitka spruce, western hemlock and red alder plantations as pure conifer stands or pure broadleaf stands. Then, we synthesize studies of mixed red alder-Sitka spruce/western hemlock stands in southeast Alaska and present their potential for improving stand structural complexity, biodiversity and other ecosystem services over pure conifer forests. Finally, we discuss some of the opportunities and potential tradeoffs for managing mixed broadleaf-conifer stands for providing a number of natural resources and the influence of these broadleaf-conifer forests on ecosystem linkages and processes.