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Title: Potential effects of forest policies on terrestrial biodiversity in a multiownership province.

Author: Spies, T.A.; McComb, B.C.; Kennedy, R.; McGrath, M.T.; Olsen, K.; Pabst, R.J.;

Date: 2007

Source: Ecological Applications. 17(1): 48-65

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We used spatial simulation models to evaluate how current and two alternative policies might affect potential biodiversity over 100 years in the Coast Ranges Physiographic Province of Oregon. This 2.3-million-ha province is characterized by a diversity of public and private forest owners, and a wide range of forest policy and management objectives. We evaluated habitat availability for seven focal species representing different life histories. We also examined how policies affected old-growth stand structure, age distributions relative to the historical range of variability, and landscape patterns of forest types. Under the current policy scenario, the area of habitat for old-growth forest structure and associated species increased over time, the habitat for some early-successional associates remained stable, and the area of hardwood vegetation and diverse early-successional stages declined. The province is projected to move toward but not reach the historical range of variation of forest age classes that may have occurred under the wildfire regimes of the pre-EuroAmerican settlement period. Ownership explained much of the pattern of biodiversity in the province, and under the current policy scenario, its effect increased over time as the landscape diverged into highly contrasting forest structures and ages. Patch type diversity declined slightly overall but declined strongly within ownerships. Most of the modeled change in biodiversity over time resulted from policies on public forest lands that were intended to increase the area of late-successional forests and species. One of the alternative policies, increased retention of wildlife trees on private lands, reduced the contrast between ownerships and increased habitat availability over time for both early- and late-successional species. Analysis of another alternative, stopping thinning of plantations on federal lands, indicated that current thinning regimes improve habitat for the olive-sided flycatcher, but the no-thinning alternative had no effect on the habitat scores for the late-successional species in the 100-year simulation. A comparison of indicators of biological diversity suggests that using focal species and forest structural measures can provide complementary information on biodiversity. The multiownership perspective provided a more complete synthesis of province-wide biodiversity patterns than assessments based on single ownerships.

Keywords: Forest habitat, forest planning, old growth, Oregon Coast Range, wildlife habitat relationships

Publication Notes:

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Spies, T.A.; McComb, B.C.; Kennedy, R.; McGrath, M.T.; Olsen, K.; Pabst, R.J. 2007. Potential effects of forest policies on terrestrial biodiversity in a multiownership province. Ecological Applications. 17(1): 48-65


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