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A Landscape Plan Based on Historical Fire Regimes for a Managed Forest Ecosystem: the Augusta Creek Study
Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report
  • David O. Wallin, Western Washington University
  • John H. Cissel
  • Frederick J. Swanson
  • Gordon E. Grant
Document Type
Book
Publication Date
5-1-1998
Abstract

The Augusta Creek project was initiated to establish and integrate landscape and watershed objectives into a landscape plan to guide management activities within a 7600-hectare (19,000-acre) planning area in western Oregon. Primary objectives included the maintenance of native species, ecosystem processes and structures, and long-term ecosystem productivity in a federally managed landscape where substantial acreage was allocated to timber harvest. Landscape and watershed management objectives and prescriptions were based on an interpreted range of natural variability of landscape conditions and disturbance processes. A dendrochronological study characterized fire patterns and regimes over the last 500 years. Changes in landscape conditions throughout the larger surrounding watershed due to human uses (e.g., roads in riparian areas, widespread clearcutting, a major dam, and portions of a designated wilderness and an unroaded area) also were factored into the landscape plan. Landscape prescriptions include an aquatic reserve system comprised of small watersheds distributed throughout the planning area and major valley-bottom corridor reserves that connect the small-watershed reserves. Where timber harvest was allocated, prescriptions derived from interpretations of fire regimes differ in rotation ages (100 to 300 years), green-tree retention levels (15- to 50-percent canopy cover), and spatial patterns of residual trees. General prescriptions for fire management also were based on interpretations of past fire regimes. All these prescriptions were linked to specific blocks of land to provide an efficient transition to site-level planning and project implementation. Landscape and watershed conditions were projected 200 years into the future and compared with conditions that would result from application of standards, guidelines, and assumptions in the Northwest Forest Plan prior to adjustments resulting from watershed analyses. The contrasting prescriptions for aquatic reserves and timber harvest (rotation lengths, green-tree retention levels, and spatial patterns) in these two approaches resulted in strikingly different potential future landscapes. These differences have significant implications for some ecosystem processes and habitats. We view this management approach as a potential post watershed analysis implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan and offer it as an example of how ecosystem management could be applied in a particular landscape by using the results of watershed analysis.

Language
English
Format
application/pdf
Citation Information
David O. Wallin, John H. Cissel, Frederick J. Swanson and Gordon E. Grant. A Landscape Plan Based on Historical Fire Regimes for a Managed Forest Ecosystem: the Augusta Creek Study. Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report Vol. 422 (1998)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_wallin/4/