Mapping older forests: satellites, statistics, and boots on the groundAuthor(s): Paul Meznarich; Janet Ohmann; Warren Cohen
Source: Science Findings 138. 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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DescriptionThe 1994 Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) established a common management approach across federal land within the range of the northern spotted owl. It also established a monitoring framework to track, among other things, the plan’s effectiveness at maintaining and restoring late-successional and old-growth forests.
Station scientists Janet Ohmann and Warren Cohen contributed to the recently published 15-year report by the Interagency Regional Monitoring Team on the status and trends of these older forests the Pacific Northwest. Ohmann, Cohen, and their colleagues used a novel mapping approach that integrates satellite imagery, time-lapse technology that tracks forest disturbances on an annual basis, and field surveys to provide a wealth of data on stand structure and composition previously unavailable to land managers. The 15-year report also identifies disturbance trends across all forested lands in the region, which provides public and private land managers with a broader understanding of landscape patterns across multiple land ownerships. The amount of older forests on federal lands has remained fairly stable since implementation of the NWFP. Most loss that did occur stemmed from wildfire. On nonfederal land, timber harvests were the leading disturbance resulting in diminished areas of older forest.
The Pacific Northwest Region is using these data and mapping techniques to provide information to national forests planners as they revise their 10-year forest plans.
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CitationOhmann, Janet; Meznarich, Paul. 2011. Mapping older forests: satellites, statistics, and boots on the ground. Science Findings 138. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.
KeywordsNorthwest Forest Plan, 15-year report, late-successional, old-growth forest, status, trends
- Northwest Forest Plan–the first 20 years (1994-2013): status and trends of late-successional and old-growth forests
- Northwest Forest Plan–the first 15 years (1994–2008): status and trends of late-successional and old-growth forests
- The relative impact of harvest and fire upon landscape-level dynamics of older forests: Lessons from the Northwest Forest Plan
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