Improving forest health and productivity in Eastern Oregon and Washington
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Forest health and productivity decline in eastern Oregon and Washington, USA has resulted in risks to products, economies, and amenities that are deemed unacceptable to many residents and non-residents. Information and management tools exist that will assist managers in improving conditions, but what is needed is a framework for integrating the available models and information. Steps in developing such a framework include: establishing goals consistent across scales, assessing current conditions and risks, developing management options, describing outcomes of options, selecting an option, establishing priorities for action, implementing those priority activities, and monitoring and evaluating the results of actions. Research projects undertaken by the Forest Health and Productivity Initiative of the Pacific Northwest Research Station include collaboration with managers to develop options for managing insect, disease, and fire disturbances in order to improve ecosystem integrity, to integrate biophysical and socioeconomic considerations, to identify linkages across scales, and to fill significant knowledge gaps at the mid or broad scale. Science can contribute basic understanding of resource conditions and interactions, models to assess risk and opportunities, models that predict future conditions, and options regarding future management actions. The ability to implement actions to achieve improved forest health and productivity depends on the availability of resources to plan and implement actions, the financial feasibility of individual practices on individual sites, the motivation of resource specialists and the public to undertake the actions, and acceptance by the public, interest groups, agencies, and policy makers of the mix of management actions proposed.
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