Seeing the bigger picture: landscape silviculture may offer compatible solutions to conflicting objectives.Author(s): Jonathan Thompson
Source: Science Findings 85. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionSome federal forest managers working in late-successional reserves find themselves in a potential no-win situation. The Northwest Forest Plan requires that the reserves be protected from large-scale natural and human disturbances while simultaneously maintaining older forest habitat. This is a challenge for managers working in drier reserves, where forest types are prone to frequent wildfires. In such places, managers are faced with potentially conflicting objectives: thin trees to reduce the fire threat, or leave trees to provide spotted owl habitat.
A case study of the Gotchen Reserve in Washington suggests that the potential for compatibility between fire and habitat objectives could be increased through landscape silviculture. Taking their cue from historical disturbance dynamics, researchers developed prescriptions for individual units but evaluated them collectively according to management objectives for the entire reserve. The places where treatments contributed most to accomplishing both objectives were identified by using simulation modeling. Solutions included sets of treatments that, when evaluated in aggregate for the entire reserve, could reduce the threat of high-severity fire, maintain older forest structure, and break even in costs and proceeds from timber harvest over the next 30 years. In this scenario, trees removed were mainly in the 7- to-16-inch size classes of grand fir, a shade-tolerant conifer.
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CitationThompson, Jonathan. 2006. Seeing the bigger picture: landscape silviculture may offer compatible solutions to conflicting objectives. Science Findings 85. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
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