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1 THE PROMISED LAND: THE LAND OF PROM/SE /NTRODUCT/ON In his 1938 dust-bowI-era treatise, Richard L. Neuberger described the Pacific Northwest as "the promised land," and certainly the region has appeared to waves of immigrants as a land of great bounty and promise. The pioneers who followed the Oregon Trail were attracted by the wealth of natural resources and the opportunity for a new future. Compared with the exhausted fields and eroded soils of the Midwest, the immigrants of the crust-bow! era found unexploited forest resources in the Pacific Northwest and abundant hydroelectric power that macLe new technologies and industries practical. Humans depend on natural and managed ecosystems to provide a variety of commodities and amenities. By exploiting resources, each wave of migrants to the Pacific Northwest significantly altered the landscape and, in cloing so, increased its capacity to deliver some goods and services while diminishing its potential to deliver others. The lures to migrants moving to this region in the past three decades included economic opportunity associated with the urbanization and industrialization of major transportation corridors, such as along the interstate highway from Portland to Seattle. For migrants in recent times, the proximity of natural ecosystems to zones of economic development provided additional attractions, such as clean air and water, abundant recreation, and escape from population centers. It is doubtful that many migrants would have consciously advocated practices that would have denied their children or grandchildren the 75
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76 Pacific Northwest Forests opportunities they themselves enjoyed. But little attention was paid to whether the region could indefinitely meet society's demands for its commodities and amenities. Now the optimism of the past has waned, replaced by a pessimism that pits individuals and groups with differing resource wants and needs against one another. The resulting conflicts have exposed the inadequacy of the protocols and institutions neecLed to resolve disputes across complex boundaries of environments, jurisdictions, ownerships, and cultures. What changed since Neuberger's optimistic depiction of this region? Three general trends—the loss of the frontier, a changing knowledge base, and changing societal values—are important. Loss of the Frontier Nineteenth century romantic writers depicted the frontier as a cornuco- pia of wealth and resources (Nash 1982~. But that frontier is gone. And despite c~windling resources, demand for the goocts and services they produce has increased. But satisfying demands for some resources can conflict or compete with the ability to meet the demands for others. The conflict is not usually jobs versus the environment. Typically ancE increasingly, conflicts are among types of jobs, for example, when [Logging reduces employment in fishing by altering aquatic habitats, thereby contributing to the decline of salmon stocks, or when environ- mental effects dilute amenities that attract other industries, jobs, and workers. Changing Know/edge Base As the science of ecology has maturect, so has our understanding of the consequences of various human activities on the landscape. Although ecologists have been aware of the relationships between spatial scale and number of species for nearly a century, the connection between that relationship and the loss of species as landscapes become fragmented into smaller, disconnected pieces of habitat has only been recognized in the past two decades (Wilson 1992~. Such factors as the variability among species in the breadth of habitat requirements and the complex-
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The Promised Land: The Land of Promise 77 ity of the landscape mosaic (e.g., extremes of fragmentation and the character of the disturbed landscape matrix), make quantitative predictions regarding species loss and habitat fragmentation difficult (RocheHe et al. 1999~. Our knowledge base at any given time is provisional and subject to change. In the early 1900s, selective cutting and high-grading were typical forestry practices; later, foresters shifted to clear-cutting. Technological advances and changing markets that permitted economic use of a greater array of species and tree sizes also contributed to this shift. By the 1960s, the first comprehensive studies demonstrating the negative effects of large clear cuts on watershed hydrology and nutrient cycling were completed. The importance of dead woody debris to the functioning of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the Pacific North- west has been made clear (Harmon et al. 1986; Perry 1998; Aber et al. 2000~. Almost certainly some components of what is considered today to be best practice will be found to be erroneous. However, the time between the acquisition of new knowledge and understanding and their incorporation into natural-resource management often is measured in decades. Public expectations that decision makers and resource managers understand the resources they manage can make it difficult to actmit that much management is necessarily experimental and to establish the institutional structures and monitoring systems needed to learn from experiments. Value-laden distinctions between basic and applied research also create barriers to the application of new knowI- edge. Changing Socia/ Values Demand for wood fiber and its derivative products has increased nearly twofold since 1950 and is projected to double again early in the next decade (NRC 1998~. At the same time, public interest in sustainability and ecological consequences of some forest-management practices has grown. Population growth and changing societal values have increased interest in and demand for parks, wilderness, and recreation. An ever- increasing variety of forest organisms have become important, including herbs, wild plant foods, and mushrooms. Stocks of anadromous fishes
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78 Pacific Northwest Forests (such as salmon) that spend critical portions of their lives in forest streams have declined, and public concern has been expressed over the quality and delivery of water, landscape appearance, potential loss of indigenous species, and fragmentation of forests. Legislation such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, as well as state regulations, have changed forest management. This committee identified four general goals or expectations that society has for forested landscapes: · Sustain viable populations of indigenous species · Maintain properly functioning ecological processes · Meet human needs for forest commodities · Satisfy cultural and aesthetic values The relative importance of each of these goals has changed consider- ably over the past several decades. Forest management in the Pacific Northwest on public and private lands has been aimed primarily at meeting human needs for commodities, particularly wood products. Early in this century, the time horizon for management decisions was relatively short, but it has gradually expanded with increased emphasis on the need for sustained yield to encompass meeting needs for wood products over many years. Management goals gradually shifted, especially on public lands, to encompass new needs, including provid- ing wildlife habitat, protecting water quality, and meeting aesthetic concerns. Sustainable populations of indigenous species have become a major goal in the context of the Endangered Species Act, especially on public lands. Today, more attention is being focused on sustaining ecological processes, a goal that was not fully visualized in historic models for sustained yield of wood fiber (SAF 1993~. Maintaining natural pro- cesses and integrity has been recognized by the National Research Council as a key element in "a transition to- ward sustainability." Accomplishing this transition as a worldwide goal requires integrating global and local perspectives in "place-based understanding of the interactions of the interactions between environ- ment and society" (NRC ~ 999a). This report focuses on one such place- or reg~on-based understanding and the information needed for it. Forest-management decisions and/ actions are made at a variety of spa tia/ sea/es.
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The Promised Land: The Land of Promise 79 Forest-management decisions and actions are made at a variety of spatial scales. Typically, forest-management decisions focus et the stand or site scale (measured in acres or hectares) and on such issues as the size of a cut or specific harvest practices like clear cutting. Increasingly, management is concerned with landscape and watershed issues such as the relationship among management patches and the connections between them, or the accumulated consequences of multiple activities within a watershed. And many critical decisions and actions, such as the management of animals that migrate over large distances or management decisions that influence patterns of human development or extensive accumulation of flammable fuels, are taken or have significant consequences at the scale of regions (for example, entire states or subregions, such as the Eastside or Westside). A recurring theme in Pacific Northwest forest management is that reasonable goals set or actions taken at one spatial scale can have unfavorable consequences at another scale. Best-management practices can be applied at the scale of individual stands, but if attention is not paid to the spatial arrangement among stands, such practices might have negative effects on the hydrological flows in watersheds or on populations of wide-ranging wildlife species. Such spatial mismatches have analogues in the temporal dimension; e.g., reasonable management decisions from the standpoint of a fiscal year or electoral cycle can diminishiong-term capacity and sustainability. If there is one overarch- sing lesson from the current management dilemmas, it is that mecha- n~sms and institutions are needed to reconcile management goals and actions over scales of space and time. More people want more things from forests, and societal priorities with regard to the variety of goods and services provided by forest ecosystems have clearly shifted. A few people were concerned about the loss of species from forests 50 years ago, but only recently has worldwide loss of biodiversity has become a mainstream public concern. The ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest have become a major symbol of that concern. People across the country who might never visit an old-growth, Douglas-fir forest have lobbied policy makers and provided financial support to various nongovernmental organizations, thereby becoming important stakeholders in decisions affecting the fate of those forests. So far, existing institutions and attempts at conflict resolution have failed to achieve a common societal vision for the Pacific Northwest.
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so Pacific Northwest Forests People's wants and needs often exceed the ability of ecosystems to meet them, and this remains the most significant challenge to achieving a workable vision. Borders and patterns of human ownership and jurisdiction cLo not generally correspond with the spatial scales and boundaries Mat define integrated hydrologic systems or the behavior of wildlife and wildfire. Society's desires for particular outcomes at landscape, regional, ancE even national and international scales often conflict with individual wishes to achieve certain benefits at local scales or established rights to the use of personal property. Time scales of fiscal years and JO-year management plans often drive management deci- sions, whereas ecosystem processes that sustain the supply of goods and services operate over many decades and centuries. Consequently, the results of actions and practices often clo not become evident until long after they are applied. The future of the Pacific Northwest is uncertain given the numerous debates and proposed adjustments in forest management, but the outlook is positive. Although concerns about unsustainable patterns of land use and forest fragmentation are real and legitimate, more significant expanses of relatively undisturbed forest and wilderness remain than in other regions of the United States. Past forest manage- ment has created threats to the well being of some timberianc3 s, but most of the Pacific Northwest second-growth forest remains productive. Furthermore, management practices continue to improve, and new technologies and protocols are being implemented that promise to diminish the adverse effects of extractive practices. important elements of the rich biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest, inclucLing some of considerable econ- . . Omlc value, are m- deed threatened. However, opportuni- ties exist for recovery of populations and restoration of habitat. The future of the Pacific Northwest is uncertain given the numerous debates and proposed adjustments in forest management, but the outlook is positive. Some timber-dependent communities have suffered economically as the flow of old-growth timber has been curtailed, but the Pacific Northwest economy is, on the whole, vibrant. Most small rural communities have made transitions to a diversified economic base and are beneficing from the overall well being of the region, although
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The Promised Land: The Land of Promise 27 important segments of the region's rural population endure hardship and substandard living conditions. The vast expanses of federal land in Me Pacific Northwest provide opportunities for landscape management and old-growth forest preservation that might not be available in other regions of the country, but Nose opportunities can be realized only if management practices on nonfederal lands are also taken into account. An integrated reg~onwide approach to forest management that recognizes the opportunities for resource use across the spectrum of ownerships should provide the potential for true win-win outcomes. However, few institutions or structures exist to plan for or effect decisions on those scales. Forest products enter common economic markets, whether the products are extracted from public or private lands or whether Hey come from the Pacific Northwest, other regions of the United States, or other countries. Decisions that influence supply from one ownership or region necessarily influence management decisions of others. If sustainable provision of the functions, goods, and services provided by our forested landscapes is to be achieved, consideration should be given to coordination across local, regional, and global scales. Given the growth of human populations, as well as increased global per capita consumption, there is little doubt that worldwide demand for wood and wood fiber will continue to increase. Through its actions and policies, the United States has an opportunity to encourage and set an example for sustainable forest ecosystem management for the rest of the world. it is still rational to view the Pacific Northwest as a land of promise, but the region's ecosystems can deliver the goods, services, and amenities on which humans depend only if people fulfill their collective responsibility for wise stewardship. This requires seeing forest land- scapes and resources more as a trust held for our children than as expendable resources inherited from our ancestors. THE STUDY AREA To address the conflicts in and problems symbolized by the Pacific Northwest, Congress asked the National Research Council to review forest-management practices, examine old-growth forest issues, and identify He current status of knowledge. The NRC convened the
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22 Pacific Northwest Forests Committee on Environmental Issues in Pacific Northwest Forest Management; this reportis the culmination of that group's deliberations. The committee defied the Pacific Northwest as the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, the northern part of California, and Montana west of the crest of the Rocky Mountains (Figure 1-~. This region includes the major forested ecoregions of the three Northwest states and their extensions into northern California and Montana. Boundaries were delineated as follows: the entire states of Oregon and Washington, the U.S. portion of the Columbia River drainage basin (which contains salmon habitat), the Klamath and northern coastal regions of northern California (because they are an extension of the ecoregion of southern Oregon and contain part of the northern spotted owl habitat and salmon habitat). Because not all data sources use the same geographic base, the exact borders of the region used for particular analyses and comparisons vary throughout the report. For example, the demographic analyses may use different counties than those used in reports of timber products. in most cases, the variations are minor and did not influence overall conclusions. For some discussions, the committee further divided the Pacific Northwest into three geographic subregions that reflect the major ecoregions in the Pacific Northwest: Eastside, Westside, and Northern Rocky Mountains. The division into subregions follows standard practice in the forestry literature and in the way in which the U.S. Forest Service collects and publishes forest resources data. The Westside is the high precipitation area west of the Cascade crest from the Canadian Border south to northern California. The much drier Eastside extends from the Cascade crest east through eastern Washington and Oregon and central Idaho. Forest conditions, including species composition, between the Westside and Eastside differ substantially. The northern Rocky Mountain area of northern Idaho and western Montana has higher precipitation than the Eastside, has a more continental climate, and has different species composition of the forests from that of the other regions. OTHER MAJOR STUD/ES AND REPORTS Most of the many studies and reports that have addressed various aspects of Pacific Northwest forest management dealt with
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The Promised Land: The Land of Promise 23 FIGURE 1-1. The Pacific Northwest.
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24 Pacific Northwest Forests forest-management issues on the Westside. A series of reports in the 1960s and 1970s focused on the region's timber supply situation USES 1963, 1969, 1976; Beuter et al. 1976~. A major concern was whether federal timber harvests could be increased during the last decade of this century and the first couple of decades of the next while private forests that had been logged grew back to regain their place as the main source of the regions timber. In the 19SOs, attention turned to habitat protection, notably protection of the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), a threatened species that depends primarily on old-growth forests. Then attention expanded to protection of other species, including the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus), a seabird that nests in old- growth forests, and several salmon stocks. Concern with the loss of old- growth habitat prompted a new series of studies. The federal Interagency Scientific Committee (ISC) was the first of several important and innovative scientific efforts to bring economic and ecological stability to the Pacific Northwest. TSC members, appointed by the chief of the Forest Service, proposed in 1990 that large reserve blocks on federal forests capable of supporting 20 or more pairs of spotted owls replace the previous strategy of protecting spotted owl habitat areas around each nesting pair of owls. The ISC recommended habitat conservation areas (HCAs) for spotted owls and that timber harvesting be prohibited in HCAs. In response to court decisions that stood in the way of effecting this proposal, a congressional committee appointed the Scientific Pane] on Late-Successional Forest Ecosystems to examine a range of alternatives Johnson et al. 1991~. It reported that adequate protection of species partly dependent on old-growth forests, especially fish such as salmon, would require a greater degree of protection than was proposed in the Forest Service plan. With the issue of habitat protection still unresolved, the Forest Service chartered another study by the Scientific Analysis Team (SAT 1993~. That group recommended that habitat conservation areas be combined with riparian protection zones to protect old-growth dependent species and aquatic species. After an April 1993 forest conference in Portland, Oregon, President Clinton created the Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team (FEMAT) to develop and analyze several options, all of which included extensive reserve systems. Those options were to be scientifically
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The Promised Land: The Land of Promise 25 credible and legal, with minimal negative social impacts. The president announced his choice of "Option 9" on July I, 1993, and this was followecE by an environmental impact statement with a revised Option 9, known as the Northwest Forest Plan (NFP), which was adopted in February 1994. The NFP required protection of late-successional old- growth reserves and riparian reserves on federal land. It aDowed some silvicultural activities in the reserves, extended timber rotation ages to 180 years on nonreserved federal land in California, required buffer zones to protect the marbled murrelet, and provided for increasing the amount of coarse woody debris and green trees left following logging on nonreserved areas. One effect of the NFP reserves is to reduce the probable timber harvest on federal "owl forests" to about a quarter of what it was during the 1980s. The NFP also includes a controversial "survey and manage" provision that requires extensive surveys of plant and animal species potentially affected by timber harvest. The NFP allows silivicultural activity in stands less than 80 years of age that are in late-successional reserves, if the activity is designed to accelerate the development of late-successional forest conditions. A substantial portion of the timber harvest since adoption of the plan has come from the late-successional reserves. The NFP was accepted by the responsible federal district court in December 1994 as meeting legal requirements. Even as the process leading to the NFP, which dealt primarily with Westside forests, was moving along, attention was also being directed at somewhat parallel concerns on the Eastside. In response to a congressional request, the Forest Service produced a report, Eastside Forest Ecosystem Health Assessment (USES 1993a). A more recent report addresses issues of fisheries management for anadromous fish through- out the Pacific Northwest, Eastside, and Westside (PACFISH 1994~. Neither report has fed to actions similar to the adoption of NFP, but the concerns broadly parallel those addressed by FEMAT. Since FEMAT and the Eastside Assessment, much attention has been given to the health of Pacific Northwest forests, particularly with respect to the impacts of past fire suppression and the possible benefits of timber harvest as a surrogate for natural disturbance. Oliver et al. (1997) argued that forest harvesting should be increased in many regions, including the Pacific Northwest, in order to reduce fuel Toads and the danger of catastrophic fires. Others (SNEP 1996a, b; Aber et al. 2000) argued that fuel accumulations owing to fire suppression have been
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26 Pacific Northwest Forests overstated In many areas and warned that harvest activities are often a poor substitute for natural disturbances such as fire and windthrow. In 199S, the National Research Council Committee on Prospects and Opportunities for Sustainable Management of America's Nonfederal Forests (NRC 1998) outlined strategies to improve the health of forest ecosystems on private land and improve the incentives to private land owners for sustainable management. The Committee of Scientists Report (1999), written by a committee of non-Forest Service scientists appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to review the current regulations for land-use planning on the national forests, emphasized the importance of ecological sustainability and public participation in the management of national forests. THIS REPORT This report describes the Pacific Northwest and its forests (Chapter 2~; presents information on the status of the regon's biological and hydrological resources (Chapters 3 and 4~; examines the various definitions of old-growth forests (Chapter 5~; reviews the way in which changes in the use of forest products from the region affect supplies from other regions of the country and the world (Chapter 6~; presents information on the effects of forest management on human communities in the region (Chapter 7~; and reviews forest management practices in the region, their effects, and alternative management approaches (Chapter S). The final chapter summarizes the committee's conclusions and presents its recommendations (Chapter 9~. Clear goals are essential to any effort to rationalize forest manage- ment in the Pacific Northwest. The four goals formulated by the committee are at the heart of the issues in forest management in this region (see page 18 and Chapter S). Those goals provide the general framework and helped to clarify the kinds of issues that are involved in Pacific Northwest forest management. But conflicts arise among them because they cannot alibe maximized or optimized simultaneously. The citizens of the region and the country must decide what weights should be assigned to each of these goals.
Representative terms from entire chapter: