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Soil Disturbance Monitoring in the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest RegionAuthor(s): Steven W. Howes
Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 929-935
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (485 B)
DescriptionIn order to make reasoned decisions, USDA Forest Service managers must understand how changes in specific indicators of soil quality resulting from project implementation affect long-term forest productivity and watershed health. They must also be able to efficiently and economically assess the degree and extent of such changes across specified areas and adjust management activities accordingly. In 1979, the Pacific Northwest Region was the first Forest Service region to develop and implement soil quality standards based on the best research available at the time. Initial monitoring of land management activities for adherence to these standards was uncoordinated and, in many cases, followed protocols that led to questionable results. In partnership with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, a standard soil disturbance assessment protocol was developed in 1983 to provide consistent, comparable, and defensible data across the region. This protocol eventually became a national model for conducting soil disturbance assessments on national forest system lands. Information generated by such monitoring efforts has led to significant changes in techniques used to accomplish land management objectives. Eventually, a need arose for less expensive and time-consuming soil disturbance assessment protocols that still provide reasonably accurate and comparable data. Also needed was a means to improve communication and increase the level of understanding among soil scientists, land managers, operators, and the public. A partnership effort involving research and management personnel from several governmental and large industrial forest land owners in the Northwest is attempting to develop soil quality standards based on visual classifications of disturbance. Land managers and research scientists are also working to develop models that can be used to determine the degree of risk of soil disturbance occurring as a result of equipment operation and burning. These can, in turn, be used to establish site-specific soil management objectives. Continued research and management cooperation is needed to quantify effects of soil disturbance on site productivity and hydrologic response.
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CitationHowes, Steven W. 2006. Soil Disturbance Monitoring in the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 929-935
Keywordsmonitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, soil disturbance monitoring, Pacific Northwest Region
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