Northwest Forest Plan—the first 10 years (1994-2003): synthesis of monitoring and research results.
It has been 10 years since the Northwest Forest Plan (the Plan) came into being at the direction of President Clinton. This report synthesizes the status and trends of five major elements of the Plan: older forests, species, aquatic systems, socioeconomics, and adaptive management and monitoring. It synthesizes new science that has resulted from a decade of research. The report also contains key management implications for federal agencies. This report is a step in the adaptive management approach adopted by the Plan, and there is the expectation that its findings will lead to changes in the next decade of Plan implementation.
Although most of the monitoring has been underway for less than a decade and many of the Plan’s outcomes are expected to evolve over decades, the monitoring is already producing a wealth of data about the status and trends in abundance, extent, diversity, and ecological functions of older forests, the species that depend on them, and how humans relate to them. Conditions did change over the decade. Watershed conditions improved, increase in acreage of late-successional old growth exceeded expectations, new species now pose threats, and there is greater appreciation of the need to share habitat protection among land ownerships. The Plan anticipated greater timber harvests and more treatments to reduce fuel in fire-prone stands than have actually occurred. Monitoring showed human communities are highly variable, and it is difficult to disentangle overall growth in regional economies from the impacts of reduced timber harvests on federal land.