WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 11, 2018—The USDA Forest Service today released a report that will serve as the scientific foundation for land management planning in western Washington, western Oregon, and northern California.
One of the most significant findings of the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis is that the plan has protected old-growth forests as habitat for important species. At the same time, the report found that restoration of fire and other active forest management activities at the landscape scales can promote ecological integrity and rebuild forest resilience to disturbance and stressors.
The report, Synthesis of Science to Inform Land Management Within the Northwest Forest Plan Area, summarizes science published since 1994, when the Northwest Forest Plan was implemented. Based on the best available scientific data at the time, the plan was designed to resolve debates about old-growth forests and endangered species while providing timber outputs from 17 Northwest national forests totaling 24 million acres.
The science synthesis was authored by 50 scientists from Forest Service Research and Development, other federal agencies, universities, and tribes. It also was informed by extensive public input with stakeholders who provided comments to peer reviewers for their consideration, as well as suggestions of scientific literature to the authors. The Ecological Society of America, a science organization, independently managed scientific review of synthesis content, which covers topics ranging from old-growth forest ecosystems and tribal values to timber harvest and socioeconomic well-being.
Published by the Pacific Northwest Research Station, in partnership with the Pacific Southwest Research Station, the science synthesis will inform the assessment stage of the land management planning process across the Northwest Forest Plan area. Using the synthesis as its scientific foundation, assessments will evaluate existing and possible future conditions and trends in social, economic, and ecological systems. As such, the synthesis is not a decision document.
To view the three-volume Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis online, visit https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/science-synthesis/index.shtml.
The Pacific Northwest Research Station will host a science forum in Portland, Oregon, on June 26 to share key findings of the report. The forum also will be simultaneously Webcast to allow for remote viewing and participation. To learn more, visit https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/science-synthesis/index.shtml.
The mission of the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.