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Protecting rare, old-growth, forest-associated species under the Survey and Manage program guidelines of the northwest forest plan.Author(s): Randy Molina; Bruce G. Marcot; Robin Lesher
Source: Conservation Biology. 20(2): 306-318
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: Download Publication (1.4 MB)
DescriptionThe Survey and Manage Program of the Northwest Forest Plan (MFP) represents an unparalleled attempt to protect rare, little-known species associated with late-successional and old-growth forests on more than 7.7 million ha of federal lands. Approximately 400 species of amphibians, bryophytes, fungi, lichens, mollusks, vascular plants, arthropod functional groups, and one mammal were listed under this program because viability evaluations indicated the plan's network of reserve land allocations might not sustain the species over time. The program's standards and guidelines used an adaptive approach, protecting known sites and collecting new information to address concerns for species persistence and to develop management strategies. Since implementation in 1774, approximately 68,000 known sites have been recorded at an expense of several tens of millions of dollars. New knowledge from surveys reduced concern for nearly 100 species, and they were removed from the protection list. Although successful in protecting hundreds of rare species not typically considered in most conservation programs, some of the enacted conservation measures created conflicts in meeting other management objectives of the plan, particularly timber harvest. The program accrued important gains in knowledge, reduced uncertainty about conservation of a number of species, and developed new methods of species inventory that will be useful in future management planning and implementation at many scales. The program, however, was not completed because of changes in land-management philosophy. Ongoing litigation regarding its termination and potential changes to the plan cast further uncertainty on how the original goal of maintaining persistence of late-successional and old-growth species will be met and measured. The outcomes, controversies, and management frustrations of the program exemplify the inherent difficulties in balancing broad, regional conservation goals with social and economic goals of the NWFP. Defining acceptable trade-offs to reach that balance and developing practical conservation solutions remain challenges for the science and management communities. Lessons learned from the program provide a valuable biological and managerial reference to benefit future discussion on meeting those challenges.
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CitationMolina, Randy; Marcot, Bruce G.; Lesher, Robin. 2006. Protecting rare, old-growth, forest-associated species under the Survey and Manage program guidelines of the northwest forest plan. Conservation Biology. 20(2): 306-318
Keywordsadaptive management, coarse-filter conservation approach, fine-filter conservation approach, reserves, species persistence
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