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    Description

    Using a landscape simulation model, we examined ecological and economic implications of forest policies designed to emulate the historical fire regime across the 2 x 106 ha Oregon Coast Range. Simulated policies included two variants of the current policy and three policies reflecting aspects of the historical fire regime. Policy development was guided by the management intentions of four owner groups: forest industry, nonindustrial private, state, and federal. Fire severity was emulated with green-tree retention standards; fire frequency was emulated with annual harvestable area restrictions; and fire extent was emulated with harvest-unit size regulations. Simulated disturbance-based policies produced age-class distributions closer to the estimated historical range than those created by the current policy. Within 100 years, proportions of younger forests were within the historical range, whereas older forests moved closer to, but remained below, historical conditions. In the near term, disturbance-based policies produced annual harvest volumes 20 to 60 percent lower than those produced by the current policy. However, relative costs of disturbance-based policies diminished over time. Our results suggest that if expediting a return to historical age-class distributions at a provincial scale was a goal, then public lands would be needed to provide large patches of old forest. In addition, this experiment illustrated that distributing costs and benefits of conservation policies equitably across multiple private landowners is a significant challenge.

    Publication Notes

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    Citation

    Thompson, Jonathan R.; Johnson, K. Norman; Lennette, Marie; Spies, Thomas A.; Bettinger, Pete. 2006. Historical disturbance regimes as a reference for forest policy. in a multiowner province: a simulation experiment. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 36: 401-417

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