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Project ID: 09-1-08-31

Year: 2009

Date Started: 07/01/2009

Date Completed: 07/27/2013

Title: Assessing the Compatibility of Fuel Treatments, Wildfire Risk, and Conservation of Northern Spotted Owl Habitats and Populations in the Eastern Cascades: A Multi-Sale Analysis

Project Proposal Abstract: Land managers are faced with a conundrum when tasked with maintaining threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina, NSO) populations, while reducing wildfire risk in dry, fire-prone forests of the Inland Northwest. The recently-released USDI Fish and Wildlife Service Final Recovery Plan (FRP) for the Northern Spotted Owl augments the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) late-successional reserve structure and calls for development of dynamic and shifting mosaics in the dry forests, and retention of late successional reserves in moist forests of eastern Cascades of Oregon and Washington, to address NSO habitat and wildfire concerns. However, the spatial allocation and temporal dynamics of these forests has not been determined, nor is it described by the FRP. We propose to develop and evaluate several key management approaches intended to conserve NSO habitat, and reduce fire risk, at stand and landscape scales, throughout a large portion of the east-side NSO range (10 MM ac) in dry, fire-prone forests of the Inland Northwest, to characterize NSO habitat dynamics and assess risk of NSO habitat loss and related population viability. Our intent is to discover and show effective ways that wildfire, fuels, and vegetation management objectives may be attained in dry forests, along with objectives for conserving and restoring late successional-older forest and the NSO. Our study, situated in the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Deschutes National Forests in eastern Washington and Oregon, is unique in that it will focus not only on fire and fuels management effects on NSO habitat, but also on NSO population viability, and influences of the Barred Owl (BDOW) on NSO population viability. Our objectives are to: (1) quantify and map current large wildfire risk to NSO habitat, and the spatial pattern of risk with respect to existing forest structure, habitat reserves, and forest plan management objectives, at stand and landscape scales; (2) determine the short-term (10 yr) change in risk from management activities (e.g. treatment intensities and patterns) that are compatible with the NWFP and local forest plan standards and guidelines; and (3) characterize long-term (50-100 yrs) potential change in distribution of NSO habitat and populations under different fuel management and conservation design scenarios (i.e., NWFP and FRP). The study will address two major information needs: (1) immediate needs of land managers for information on how to mitigate wildfire impacts to NSO habitat and other key resources, and (2) strategic information needs of policy makers and managers for evaluating long term, large landscape approaches to conservation of NSO habitat and population viability. Our work will produce modeling results and clearly defined maps showing the current areas most prone to large wildfires, clear examples of stand and landscape vegetation and fuels management prescriptions to minimize likelihood of the largest fires, and maps and modeling predictions that show the habitat dynamics and the likelihood of NSO persistence under different scenarios. Work will be conducted using a set of fire and vegetation dynamics models and a population viability model. Products will include refereed and non-refereed scientific publications, manager and policy maker workshops, datasets, and a website. Products of our research will be useful to policymakers and managers of forests within the range of the NSO.

Principal Investigator: Martin G. Raphael

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-EPF-Ecological Process & Function-Olympia


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Paul F. Hessburg

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Wenatchee

Co-Principal Investigator

John F. Lehmkuhl

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Wenatchee

Co-Principal Investigator

Bruce G. Marcot

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Portland

Co-Principal Investigator

Peter H Singleton

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Wenatchee

Co-Principal Investigator

Thomas A. Spies

Forest Service

PNW-EPF-Ecological Process & Function-Corvallis

Federal Cooperator

Rebecca S.H. Kennedy

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Corvallis

Federal Fiscal Representative

Tamatha S. Verhunc

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Technical Contact

Laura L. Burris

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station


Project Locations

Consortium

Northwest


Level

State

Agency

Unit

STATE

WA

FS

Wenatchee National Forest

STATE

WA

FS

Okanogan National Forest

STATE

OR

FS

Deschutes National Forest


Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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