Forest Service Releases Assessment of Current Conditions of Northwest Forests
Press release from the US Forest Service:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service released a Bioregional Assessment evaluating the social, economic and ecological conditions and trends covering 19 units across WA, OR and northern CA in a brief and easy-to-understand format.
The assessment uses the best available science and focuses on capturing current conditions and changes on the national forests and grasslands. It provides recommendations on how the Forest Service could address the challenges facing forests, grasslands and communities in the plans that govern how land management decisions are made.
“The release of this assessment gives our region the data and scientific analysis to make future well-informed, landscape-level decisions that benefit our six northern forests,” said Randy Moore, regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region in California. “Furthermore, we’re now able to move forward and prepare for updating land management plans to provide essential commodities and recreational opportunities, manage and reduce risk from wildfires through vegetative management and other proactive landscape efforts, provide clean air, water and habitat for plants and animals, and preserve our cultural resources, for present and future generations.”
The Forest Service and other federal land management agencies are required by law to develop plans that guide the long-term management of public lands. These plans are developed using public input and the best available science. They establish priorities for land managers and provide strategic direction for how the plan area is to be managed for a period of ten years or more. They may be periodically amended or revised entirely to address changing conditions or priorities.
“This assessment will make it more efficient to modernize our land management plans and reflect the new science, and changes to social, economic, and ecological conditions across this region,” said Glenn Casamassa, regional forester for the Pacific Northwest Region in Oregon and Washington. “It will also preserve the tenets of the Northwest Forest Plan that are working well, so that work can continue effectively and efficiently.”
The Northwest Forest Plan covers nearly 25 million acres of federally managed land in Oregon, Washington and northern California focusing on managing the entire landscape for long-term social and economic stability.
The Bioregional Assessment is not a decision document and does not impact current forest management. Instead, it will be used to shape ongoing engagement with stakeholders, state, county, Tribal governments and Forest Service staff as they prepare for the next steps in the planning process together.