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Oregon Coast Range Management Scenario Workshop

posted Jul 16, 2014, 6:27 AM by Megan Creutzburg   [ updated Aug 1, 2014, 9:50 AM by Robert Scheller ]
Last week, researchers at Portland State University gathered a diverse group of stakeholders throughout the Oregon Coast Range for a one-day workshop in Corvallis, Oregon.  The Coast Range extends almost the full length of Oregon from north to south, and from the Willamette Valley to the Oregon coast.  The Coast Range mountains are a low mountain range by Pacific Northwest standards containing very productive timberlands and some remaining pockets of old-growth forest.  Management in the region is very heterogeneous, with much of the private land harvested by clear-cut for timber and much of the public land set aside as old-growth reserves to harbor species such as the Northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.

Participants at the workshop included representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, private timber companies, Native American tribes, non-profits, and research institutions.  In the workshop, led by Megan Creutzburg and Rob Scheller, stakeholders were introduced to the Panther Creek modeling project and were tasked with designing multiple scenarios of potential future forest management.  The management scenarios will be evaluated using the LANIDS-II forest simulation model to determine their effects on long-term carbon storage, forest species composition and sustainability under climate change.

Participants developed several interesting and useful management scenarios, including:
  • Current Management: The current management scenario will assume that management practiced in the recent past (last 10-20 years) will continue into the future to the end of the century. It will incorporate the diverse range of variability in management practices among and within major land ownership groups. 
  • Climate Change Adaptation: In the climate change adaptation scenario, management will focus on minimizing the expected negative effects of climate change. This scenario will involve fuels treatments to minimize wildfire risk and climate-suitable planting will be used to anticipate the composition of species that will be viable under long-term climate change projections. 
  • Ecological Forestry: The ecological forestry scenario will alter the pattern of harvesting to mimic natural disturbance patterns and heterogeneity on the landscape by increasing stand sizes and using commercial thinning and natural regeneration to provide revenue and enhance old-growth habitat.
  • Increased Disturbance: In the increased disturbance scenario, the frequency of wildfire, wind and disease disturbance will be doubled to simulate a future where disturbances exceed the modeled estimates. Management practices will follow the current management scenario to explore the ability of current management practices to maintain desirable species composition and carbon storage under an intensified disturbance frequency. 
  • Economic Growth: In the economic growth scenario, priority is placed on revenue from harvest and timber jobs in rural communities. Private lands, including private nonindustrial ownerships, will be primarily managed for timber. Federal lands will be harvested at a greater rate than current levels to provide timber revenue to counties.
  • Watershed Protection: The watershed protection scenario incorporates forecasts of human population growth in the Coast Range and the need to provide greater protection for water quality and quantity, particularly near urban areas. Reserve areas, primarily on public and private nonindustrial land near urban areas, are protected from harvest to protect water quality and quantity, recreation opportunities, and viewsheds.
Many thanks to all of the participants in the workshop for making it a success!  Thanks also to Melissa Lucash, Steve LeDuc and Mark Johnson for helping facilitate the meeting.
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