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Twenty‐five years of the Northwest Forest Plan: what have we learned?



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


The Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) has guided the management of 17 federal forests in the US Pacific Northwest for the past 25 years. The existing management plans for these national forests – which were amended by the NWFP – are now being evaluated for revision under the US Forest Service’s 2012 planning rule. To help inform federal land managers, we reviewed the scientific literature published since the inception of the NWFP and report several key findings: (1) conservation of at-risk species within national forests is challenging in the face of threats that are beyond the control of federal managers, (2) management efforts to promote resilience to wildfire and climate change include restoring dynamics and structure at multiple scales and revisiting reserve design, (3) forest restoration can have an ecological and socioeconomic win–win outcome, (4) human communities benefit from many ecosystem services beyond the supply of timber, (5) collaboration among multiple stakeholders is essential for achieving ecological and socioeconomic goals, and (6) monitoring and adaptive management are crucial to learning about and addressing uncertainty.


Spies, Thomas A; Long, Jonathan W; Charnley, Susan; Hessburg, Paul F; Marcot, Bruce G; Reeves, Gordon H; Lesmeister, Damon B; Reilly, Matthew J; Cerveny, Lee K; Stine, Peter A; Raphael, Martin G. 2019. Twenty‐five years of the Northwest Forest Plan: what have we learned?. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 35: 1319-.


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