An ongoing commercial thinning project on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo.
Past forest management strategies often relied on clear-cut timber harvests that were replanted with single tree species.
A view from the Buckhorn Wilderness in the Olympic National Forest, Washington. Coastal forests in the Pacific Northwest store globally significant amounts of carbon in trees and soil. USDA Forest Service photo by Matthew Tharp.
Urgency is growing among legislators, conservation organizations, and the wood products industry to better understand how forests store carbon and how management choices affect the carbon balance. The Pacific Northwest Research Station is taking a convening role with states and nongovernmental organizations to address research needs across stewardship boundaries.
Remnants of the Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River in Washington, site of the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, 5 years after its removal. Photo courtesy of Jeff Duda, U.S. Geological Survey.
One of the main goals of dam decommissioning and removal is the recovery of aquatic and riparian ecosystems. But it is difficult to predict how an entire ecosystem will recover after dam removal, which can lead to unforeseen challenges when managing the recovering ecosystem.
A southern torrent salamander. Photo courtesy of Sarah Emel, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Salamanders are integral in forest and stream ecosystems, but they are experiencing global declines stemming from habitat fragmentation and disease. Maintaining the genetic diversity within salamander populations is important to supporting their health, and habitat connectivity can directly influence gene flow among populations.
Researchers record pool depth, water temperature, and velocity in the Entiat River, Washington. Photo courtesy of Heather Porter.
Salmon are cherished in the Pacific Northwest. They help sustain various food webs, are an economic driver, and are culturally important to Tribes and other in the Northwest. Because salmon populations have greatly declined, a significant amount of time, money and effort has been spent restoring salmon habitat.
Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) spawning in the Salmon River in Oregon. Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management.
Over millennia, native salmonids in North America have developed a complex survival strategy in which important life events, such as spawning, coincide with specific river conditions, such as flow and temperature.
A researcher collects soil samples from volcanic-derived soil in the Heén Latinee Experimental Forest within the Tongass National Forest, Alaska. These samples were later analyzed to determine the carbon content. USDA Forest Service photo by Dave D'Amore.
Soil absorbs an estimated 30 percent of fossil fuel carbon emissions. The exact amount and location of carbon stored in soil, however, is not well quantified and can vary with local environmental conditions. Accurately assessing soil carbon storage is a management priority because these estimates are needed for updating land management plans and better understanding the global carbon cycle.
A forest study plot 20 years after mechanical thinning followed by a prescribed burn. USDA Forest Service photo by George McCaskill.
The Hungry Bob fuels reduction site in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was part of a national Fire and Fire Surrogate network of experiments across the United States during the 1990s through 2000s. At the Hungry Bob site, scientists designed an experiment to test the effects of mechanical thinning and prescribed burning in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests of northeastern Oregon.
Strategically placed riparian plantings along a meandering section of the Middle Fork John Day River, Oregon. Great potential exists to restore shade over long segments of many streams throughout the West as part of habitat management for trout and salmon. USDA Forest Service photo by Steve Wondzell.
The Middle Fork John Day River, Oregon, supports populations of spring Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, all of which are cold-water dependent species. Because steelhead and bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the river has been a focal point of restoration.
Scientists collected data on stream temperature, aquatic species like fish and invertebrates, streamside vegetation, and channel morphology. Photo credit: Heather Kolowinski.
Wherever there are mountains and rainfall, there will be debris flows. Starting as a landslide and acting like an avalanche, a debris flow is an unconsolidated mass of loose material that travels rapidly down a stream channel.