Klamath Falls Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan

Klamath Falls Record of Decision

Klamath Falls District Resource Management Plan Table of Contents:

- Tables

- Maps

- Appendices

Appendix E

Timber Management

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This appendix consists of three parts. The first part describes the silvicultural systems used in the design of the resource management plan. Part two describes the objectives, habitat criteria, and management practices design for the land use allocations. Finally, the third section describes forest genetics program.

Silvicultural Systems Utilized in the Design of the Proposed Action

In addition to dealing with land use allocations and objectives, the resource management plan deals with the selection of and effects of different silvicultural systems and the practices used to carry out those systems.

Silvicultural systems define the sequence of management treatments that take place throughout the entire lives of forest stands that are conducted to meet management objectives. Systems are designed to move stands from their current condition along a developmental path toward a desired or target stand condition. Reforestation or the establishment of desired vegetation is the critical part of any silvicultural system.

In the design of the proposed action, a variety of general silvicultural systems are used for the different Land Use Allocations. Differences between systems are the result of differences in resource objectives and differences in forest condition and ecological types. Silvicultural systems are resource and objective neutral. They are designed to meet a wide range of management goals that include timber production, creation or maintenance of wildlife habitat, restoration of forest condition (health), restoration or improvement of riparian condition, and maintenance of site productivity. The description of silvicultural systems, therefore, is not included with any one resource category.

Modified Even-Aged Silvicultural Systems

Modified even-aged systems involve the management of both existing even-aged or near even-aged stands and the creation of new even-aged stands through harvesting while retaining both living and dead structural elements (green trees, snags, coarse woody debris). Retained structure is at levels below those detailed for structural retention systems.

Stand Regeneration

Stand regeneration methods under even-aged silvicultural systems include modified versions of the clear-cutting, seed tree, shelterwood, and overstory removal harvest methods.

Modified clear-cutting harvests the majority of the stand in a single entry. It permits the establishment of an even-aged stand with the fewest number of entries while retaining wildlife trees and snags. Regeneration is usually through planting following site preparation, although in southern Oregon there are sometimes significant quantities of advanced regeneration remaining after logging. Natural regeneration may occur through seed dispersed from retained trees or trees in adjacent timber stands. In southern Oregon, units harvested in this manner could require actions in addition to conifer planting to secure regeneration. These practices include seedling shading, protection from animal damage, and control of competing vegetation.

The seed tree method of harvest removes the majority of a stand in a single entry except for a small number (usually 3-10 trees per acre) of green, seed trees that are retained (in addition to desired green-trees and snags) to provide seed for natural regeneration. If necessary, artificial regeneration, usually planting, would be used to reach target stocking levels. Genetically-selected stock would be used when available. Seed trees are removed when the unit is judged to be stocked with regeneration.

In a shelterwood system, a stand is harvested in a series of two or more partial cut entries designed to create the necessary level of disturbance and to provide shelter for the establishment of newly planted and natural seedlings. After establishment of regeneration, overstory trees that are in addition to designated wildlife trees and snags would be removed. While shelterwood units are typically planted with conifer species, natural regeneration may constitute a large percentage of the regeneration present.

Forest stands in southern Oregon are often multiple-aged with different canopy levels resulting from past natural stand disturbances such as under-canopy fires or from past partial cut harvesting. In these stands an understory canopy level often exists and is capable of being released. This understory canopy level may consist of seedlings, saplings, or young merchantable timber. The release and subsequent management of the understory canopy could result in a yield increase when compared to growing a new stand after a more complete stand removal. The decision to remove an overstory canopy considers the releasability and species composition of the understory canopy and logging feasibility. In some cases, retention of understory species could result in an undesirable seral shift, a higher level of disease in stands, and a potential loss of stand health.

Stand Management

Following the regeneration phase, modified even-aged systems are subjected to treatments designed to produce desired stand conditions that include wood of desired quality, quantity, and value. Modified even-aged systems may be managed at different levels of intensity.

Stand management practice include control of species composition and stand density. Release practices are employed to ensure tree growth is not slowed by competing, undesirable plants and that desired trees are not displaced. Density control through thinning assures that cubic foot volume growth is concentrated in the stems of selected trees.

On higher sites, forest fertilization may be employed to temporarily increase stand growth. Some young stands in the planning area are in poor condition because of high densities or because of overstory competition. Stands may experience significant growth retardation called thinning shock following precommercial thinning, overstory removal, or release. The severity of this retardation may be reduced through the application of fertilizer. Forest fertilization may also be used to improve tree vigor and to reduce insect and drought related mortality.

Stand Harvesting

Stand harvesting may occur at any age above a minimum harvest age set to meet land use objectives as well as economic and logging-practicality requirements.

The sustainable harvest level is highest if minimum harvest age is set at the lowest practical age. Over time, however, rotation lengths would approach the age of culmination of mean annual increment. Culmination of mean annual increment varies with site quality, the kinds of silvicultural practices employed, and the timing of those practices. For most regimes and sites in southwestern Oregon, culmination of mean annual increment occurs near 100 years of age.

To achieve higher wood quality, larger log sizes, or to produce habitat for species that live in later seral stages, minimum harvest age may be set at an older age.

Shelterwood Retention Silvicultural Systems

Shelterwood retention refers to even-aged systems that have sometimes been termed "irregular shelterwoods." In these systems, overstory trees are retained until understory conifers are large enough to fulfill management objectives such as preserving visual qualities, surviving growing-season frosts, or protecting sensitive soils. Depending upon objectives, overstory trees may be retained for 15 to 30 years. A wide variety of stand conditions exist across the planning area. In some areas such as those infected with diseases or root rot and those of high blowdown hazard, retention of an overstory may not be successful.

Stand Regeneration

Shelterwood retention units are normally planted, but like shelterwoods, also receive varying amounts of natural regeneration. Planting stock would reflect genetic selection when such stock is available, but since the performance of genetic stock and percent representation in stands created under these regimes are uncertain, no yield gain would be claimed for this action.

Stand Management

Like other silvicultural systems, shelterwood retention stands receive treatments designed to produce desired stand characteristics. To produce economically-harvestable tree sizes in reasonable periods of time, control of species composition and stand density are as critical or more critical in shelterwood retention systems than in modified even-aged systems. Following the removal harvest, fertilization may be applied to accelerate stand development and to reduce the shock and damage of overstory removal.

Stand Harvesting

Harvest of retained shelterwood trees (in excess of desired green-trees and snags) occurs in one or more entries 15 to 30 years after the regeneration harvest and when stand development has reached a point where visual, frost-tolerance or soil requirements are met.

Structural Retention Systems

These silvicultural systems are designed primarily to retain or to recreate forest ecosystems that resemble natural systems in composition, structure, and in ecosystem function. Retained structural components include green-trees, snags, and coarse woody debris that may be clumped or distributed in various ways across the landscape. Through retention and re-creation of structure and through appropriate selection and timing of treatments, these systems attempt to retain natural ecosystem processes and habitat niches.

Structural retention systems attempt to provide for maintenance of site productivity, wildlife habitat, and a high level of biological diversity in a managed landscape. Silvicultural practices used are modifications of those used in modified even-aged systems and reflect attempts to redirect ecosystem processes rather than to replace those processes with agricultural-style management.

Structural retention systems would usually produce a multiple-canopied, multiple-aged stand but not an all-aged stand. Such stands are irregular uneven-aged stands, since they have several age classes, but not the more balanced age class distribution of stands with many age classes. Uneven-aged management of these stands would involve the selective harvest of individual trees (individual tree selection), or groups of trees (group selection), or small patch cuts to regenerate light-intolerant species. Under selective harvest, trees in all size classes would be eligible for thinning in order to reduce stocking to site capacity. The objective of structural retention and uneven-aged systems is to produce a multiple-canopied forest, but not necessarily one with all age classes present.

Stand Regeneration

The regeneration phase of this system relies upon the use of both natural and planted conifer seedlings, together which subsequent stand management, to achieve a near-natural mixture of species in each seral stage. Genetically-selected stock, when available, would be combined with regular stock. No yield increase for use of selected stock would be projected.

Stand Management

Stands created under this system receive treatments designed to meet structural, functional, and growth objectives. Density management would be used. Forest fertilization would be used as appropriate, but because of the uncertainty of its effect on diverse stands, it would not result in a projected yield increase. Underburning would be done to reintroduce fire as a natural process, reduce fuel loads to natural levels, and exclude species that would not be present under natural conditions.

Stand Harvesting

Structural retention systems seek to retain or re-create habitat characteristics of older forests. Harvesting is expected to occur across stands and in group selections of varying sizes and patch cuts up to 3 acres in size with structures retained in the groups.

Salvage of Mortality Volume

All silvicultural systems provide for salvage under prescriptions designed to ensure that such actions meet the requirements of the allocation.

Mortality in established stands results either from competition and self-thinning or from disturbance events such as fire, windstorms, or insect attack. Mortality associated with competition is generally harvested in commercial thinnings or is prevented through density management and species selection practices. Mortality of entire stands or of scattered trees that results from disturbance would be harvested in salvage operations. Only mortality above the level needed to meet snag retention and other habitat requirements and provide desired levels of coarse woody debris would be harvested.

Silvicultural Practices

For each silvicultural system a variety of practices, other than harvesting, may be planned for specific periods in the life of the stand. These practices act to keep forest stands on desired developmental trajectories, speed the development of desired habitat components, and maintain or improve stand vigor. Silvicultural practices in this region have traditionally been applied to conifers stands and their development, however, many of the same principles and treatments have application for the growth and development of other desired vegetation.

While both the types of practices used and timing vary between systems, most silvicultural systems require the full range of forest management tools and practices for their successful implementation. To predictably direct forest stands (ecosystems) so that structural and other objectives are met may require some level of intensive stand tending practices whatever the system employed.

Site Preparation

If needed, site preparation procedures would be used to prepare newly harvested or inadequately stocked areas for planting, seeding, or natural regeneration. Site preparation methods would be selected to: provide physical access to planting sites; control fire hazard; provide initial physical control of the site to channel limited resources on the site into desired vegetation; influence the plant community that redevelops on the site; influence or control animal populations; and ensure the retention of site productivity.

Within the planning area, four types of site preparation techniques would be used. These are prescribed burning, mechanical and manual methods, and herbicide application.

Prescribed burning, including broadcast and pile burns, is expected to be the primary method of site preparation. To protect air quality, burning would occur under conditions consistent with the Oregon Smoke Management Plan. Broadcast burning prescriptions will be written to minimize the detrimental effects of fire on other resources. Emphasis will be placed on protecting soils properties and the retention of coarse woody debris. Prescribed fire on sensitive soils will be designed to result in low to moderate intensity burns.

Mechanical site preparation consists of either: tractor piling or windrowing of slash and unwanted vegetation; or the use of a low ground pressure backhoe, loader, grapple, or other special equipment to move or pile slash and unwanted vegetation.

Manual site preparation consists of shrub pulling or cutting and hoeing or grubbing of unwanted vegetation and slash.

Application of herbicides for site preparation purposes would occur only after careful site-specific environmental analysis and local public involvement. Decision for use would be governed by the procedures established in BLM's Record of Decision Western Oregon Program-Management of Competing Vegetation (see Appendix 1-D of the draft Resource Management Plan for key sections of the Record of Decision).

Reforestation/Establishment of non-conifer plant species

Conifer planting would be done where appropriate to assure that reforestation objectives are promptly met. The production of planting stock requires seed (cone) collection from wild stands and/or from seed orchards and the production of planting stock in bare-root nurseries or container shadehouses.

The release and management of existing natural regeneration has the potential to speed stand development. Natural regeneration can, in many situations, be both adequate and relatively prompt (Lewis, Park and Tuttle 1991) and of appropriate species (Williamson 1973). A result of relying on natural regeneration is the loss of the ability to use genetically-selected stock. When applicable, silvicultural systems would utilize existing regeneration, natural seeding, and prompt planting of desired species to assure that regeneration targets and timeframes are met. Within this plan no yield increased was assumed as a result of retention of existing regeneration following regeneration harvest or overstory removal.

Existing vegetation would be used to the extent possible in meeting management objectives dependant upon non-conifer vegetation. Where necessary to meet objectives, non-conifer vegetation would be established through seeding or the planting of bare-root or containerized plants.

Stand Protection

Stand protection procedures would be designed to protect newly planted conifer seedlings and in some cases natural seedlings from natural hazards. Treatments include protecting seedlings from the sun by shading or bud capping or placing plastic tubes or netting over seedlings to protect from animal browsing or clipping. Control measures to deal with populations of animals such as mountain beaver, gophers, or porcupines would be initiated if populations of these animals reached levels high enough to threaten stands. Treatment acres will be determined annually in conjunction with reforestation surveys.

Similar treatments would be used when appropriate to protect planted or seeded non-conifer vegetation.

Stands will also be managed to decrease the risk of destruction by wildfire. Management practices include treatments such as underburning, limbing, density management, or hand piling or utilization of slash. Creation of fuel breaks, especially in Rural Interface Areas, would be a method of decreasing risks. Retention of a hardwood component in stands may result in somewhat higher level of resistance to low intensity fires.

Stand Maintenance

Maintenance treatments occur after planting or seeding and are designed to promote the survival and establishment of conifers and other vegetation by reducing competition from undesired plant species. Maintenance and other vegetation management actions would be planned to meet species diversity goals.

Maintenance actions involve the implementation of preventive or ecosystem-based strategies or direct control actions using techniques such as mulching, cutting or pulling of unwanted species, grazing, or herbicide application. As with other vegetation management treatments, preference for stand maintenance treatments would be given to strategies that redirect natural ecosystem processes where practical and where scientific knowledge was adequate to support such strategies. The choice between methods would be made under the same decision framework listed for site preparation.

Pre-commercial Thinning (Density Management) and Release

Precommercial thinning and release treatments would be designed to control stand density, influence species dominance, maintain stand vigor, and place stands on developmental paths so that desired stand characteristics result in the future. Thinning and release may occur simultaneously or separately.

Precommercial thinning and release treatments may be done either by manual methods such as falling and girdling or through herbicide application. Site specific decision-making processes for herbicide release treatments follow the same procedures as those listed for site preparation.

Commercial Thinning (Density Management)

Commercial thinnings would be designed to control stand density, maintain stand vigor, and place or maintain stands on developmental paths so that desired stand characteristics result in the future. Commercial thinnings are scheduled after developing stands reach a combination of stem diameter and surplus volume to permit an entry that is economical. Commercial thinning may be effective in increasing recoverable timber production and in meeting structural diversity objectives in stands as old as 150 years (Williamson and Price 1971) (Williamson 1982). Heavy commercial thinning shows the ability to accelerate the development of old growth characteristics in even-aged stands (Newton and Cole 1987).


Stand growth is limited by the supply of available nutrients, particularly by available nitrogen. The supply of soil nutrients would be conserved through design of management actions and could be augmented through either fertilization or in some situations, through retention of species and structural diversity in stands. Fertilization practices are designed based on extensive research, including work in southwestern Oregon. Fertilization actions are usually designed to apply 200 pounds of available nitrogen with helicopters in the form of urea-based prill (46 percent available nitrogen). Occasionally, fertilizer may be applied in a liquid urea-ammonia form or with a mixture of other nutrient elements in addition to nitrogen. Hand application is usually impractical. Forest fertilization actions would be sequenced with thinning actions with preference given to young even-aged stands of site four and higher in the next decade.

Fertilization has the effect of accelerating stand and seral development. Since fertilizer increases the rate tree canopies expand and increases tree vigor, it has been observed to reduce thinning shock, accelerate release, and reduce susceptibility to damage from insect and drought.


Pruning of young stands is carried out to increase wood quality through the production of clear wood on rotations shorter than would be required without the action. Pruning helps to avoid production of wood with loose knots and yielding lumber, which is tight-knotted but not necessarily clear. It is mandatory for the production of clear wood with grades above "common" under normal, even-aged rotations for Douglas-fir and pine.

Pruning appears to be necessary to produce wood of acceptable quality from stands that are managed at very low densities to meet biological diversity objectives since trees in such stands would have long crowns and would produce wood with large knots without the action.

Forest Condition Restoration Treatments

Forest condition restoration treatments are silvicultural treatments that are intended to reduce mortality and to restore the vigor, resiliency, and stability of forest stands that is necessary to achieve resource management objectives. These treatments include:

Restoration thinning: Reduction of the density of forest stands with the objective(s) of increasing stand vigor, reducing mortality of desired stand components, and/or reducing susceptibility to insect and disease attack and spread.

Understory reduction: Partial or complete removal of one or more understory canopy layers for the purpose(s) of reducing competition for desired stand components and/or reducing the risk of stand replacement fire.

Restoration underburning: Use of fire for the specific purpose of reducing mortality of desired trees and improving stand vigor, resiliency, and stability. Hazard reduction is an incidental benefit.

Plant community restoration: Silvicultural actions (including planting, maintenance, and stand tending) designed to establish and maintain desired species (including grasses, herbs, and shrubs) within forest stands and to prevent the introduction of noxious weeds.

Restoration fertilization: Fertilization of forest stands, with nitrogen or with micronutrients, designed to minimize thinning shock after restoration thinning, to improve stand vigor, and/or to increase resistance to insect attack.

Silvicultural System Design

Silvicultural systems as well as individual management actions will be designed to:

  • meet established land use objectives,
  • maintain the health and sustainability of forest ecosystems and their processes or to restore forest condition so that management objectives can be met,
  • incorporate current and developing knowledge of natural processes and the relationships between structures, landscape arrangements, and the maintenance of ecosystem function,
  • involve landscape level (watershed) analysis at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, and
  • consider the elements of ecosystem and landscape function, composition, and structure.

Silvicultural system design will vary from site to site and will be based on:

  • consideration of stand vigor, disease, live crown ratio, and general stand condition,
  • the autecological and synecological requirements of major or indicator plant and animal species and species groups,
  • habitat requirements of rare or endangered species,
  • requirements of avoidance strategies for vegetation management,
  • economic feasibility, and
  • soil, slope, aspect, and other physical site conditions that influence reforestation potential, blowdown potential, or that otherwise influence the ability of prescribed treatments to meet target stand and landscape objectives.

Simply stated, silvicultural systems and actions should be based on the objectives of the Land Allocation, ecological processes, site and stand characteristics, and economic feasibility within a framework of landscape analysis.

Best management practices for soil and water resources (see Appendix D) would be used in designing site-specific silvicultural prescriptions consistent with the objectives of the land use allocation.

Where appropriate, silvicultural systems and individual management actions will be adapted to meet the requirements of experimental designs that permit the agency and its publics to explore the results of the application of a range of alternative management options to both stands and landscapes. Where not in direct conflict with land use allocation objectives, silvicultural systems would be designed to assure that resultant wood quality is suitable for the range of current and forecasted uses and that they would maintain or enhance log value.

Objectives, Habitat Criteria, and Management Practices Design for the Land Use Allocations

The description of the proposed action involves three separate criteria for each Land Use Allocation. These criteria are: A) resource condition objectives that summarize and highlight the important resource management goals for the land use allocation for the next decade; B) stand and landscape condition objectives that are desired in the near future and in the longer run; and C) management direction, which set sideboards and stands for stand and landscape composition.

Management direction described in this appendix incorporates Standards and Guidelines for Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl.


The general prescription would involve management within strategies and with levels of green tree retention that would both mimic natural ecological processes and meet species diversity, structural diversity, and landscape diversity objectives. In most cases, the general prescription would be one of structural retention. Modified even-aged and shelterwood retention systems would be utilized dependant upon factors such as site quality, growing season frosts, sensitive soils, presence of disease and visuals. Silvicultural practices include the full range of practices consistent with land use allocation objectives.

A. Resource Condition Objectives

  1. Commodity Production: Suitable commercial forest land would be managed to assure a moderately high level of sustained timber productivity.
  2. Forest Condition (Forest Health): Achievement of management objectives, including sustainability of both commodity production and wildlife habitat, requires that management emphasis be placed on treatments and harvests that restore stand condition and ecosystem productivity. Management actions include density management and understory reduction operations that reduce competition, increased use of understory prescribed fire, and fertilization. Removal of biomass from the understories of stands in the Pine series to restore stand health, reduce overstory mortality, and restore habitat productivity may be a below cost operation on many sites.
  3. Habitat Retention, Restoration, and Production: Manage for minimal loss (including loss from wildfire) and long-term recovery of intact forest habitat over 150 years of age and toward an increase in the amount of spotted owl reproductive habitat. Selection of stands for management will involve consideration of the desired blend of seral stages and stand densities. Manage landscape planning blocks to maintain desired levels and distribution of early seral vegetation. Manage to retain a minimum of 40% canopy cover at the stand level in most regeneration harvest units except for units of the pine series or where stand condition or site characteristics require lower levels.

B. Stand and Landscape Condition Objectives

  1. Target Stand Conditions: Manage forests of the land use allocation so that over time landscapes would trend toward a forest composed of stands containing a variety of structures, stands containing trees of varying age and size, and stands with an assortment of canopy configurations. As stands age, within stand conditions should trend toward those characteristic of older forest types. Manage to provide for connectivity. Consistent with operational and logging practicality, retain fine-grained patterns.
  2. Seral Composition: Over time, manage for a balance of seral stages consistent with land use allocation objectives.
  3. Landscape Composition: Manage toward a mix of stand conditions and seral patterns with consideration to three levels of scale: physiographic province (river basin / mountain range), landscape block (watershed), and within stand detail. Manage treatment unit shapes and sizes to mimic natural terrain and stand features. Minimize fragmentation and maintain the highest level of interior habitat consistent with meeting overall resource objects, except for Pine series forest types where a mix of various sized seral patches may be desired.

C. Management Direction for program implementation

  1. Variation by ecological type: Planning and implementation of specific projects will be strongly based on an understanding of the ecological relationships and limitations of the communities proposed for management.

Pine Series: Prescriptions would discriminate in favor of a higher proportion of ponderosa pine in the stand than current and would target reduction in understory densities. Stand densities would normally be reduced to less than 100 square feet of basal area.

Douglas-fir Series: Regeneration patch sizes would vary to maintain pine and other species in the stand. Mistletoe and excessive madrone regeneration will require variation in prescriptions. Retention of canopy cover and careful choice of site preparation technique should be used to maintain deerbrush and grass at levels that prevent target stand conditions to be reached. Deerbrush and legumes should be retained in the system.

Shasta red fir Series: Management actions would consider limitations imposed by growing season frosts and would be designed to restore a higher proportion of white pine and Douglas-fir on sites where those components have been lost.

White fir Series: Management actions would consider limitations imposed by growing season frosts and will be designed to restore a higher proportion of pine and Douglas-fir in stands from which those components had been lost.

  1. Qualification of stands for management deferral: Harvest entries would usually not be planned for the next decade for stands with less than 40 percent live canopy cover, expect for stands of the Pine Series. Salvage of volume from these stands following partial or complete stand mortality would be permitted provided structural objectives were met.
  2. Stand Structural and Species Composition:

Structural Composition: Maintain site productivity and wildlife habitat values through the retention of structure and the design of practices required to maintain ecosystem processes throughout the management cycle. Retain on the average 16-25 larger green trees per acre in harvest units. For specific Standards and Guidelines on coarse woody debris, green tree, and snag retention refer to pages C-40 through C-44 of the Record of Decision for Amendments to Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Planning Documents Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl, sections "Provide specified amounts of coarse woody debris in matrix management," "Emphasize green-tree and snag retention in matrix management," "Standards and Guideline Specific to Northern Spotted Owl Habitat for Lands Administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon," and "Provide additional protection for caves, mines, and abandoned wooden bridges and buildings that are used as roost sites for bats." In addition, a minimum of two large hardwoods, if present would be left per acre. Logging safety and potential tree mortality would be considered when determining the distribution of retain trees and snags.

Species Composition: Manage so that tree species trend over time toward Target Species Composition Objectives, see Table E-1. Manage shrubs, forbs, and other vegetation consistent with land use allocation objectives.

Table E-1. SGFMA Target Stand Species Composition Objectives.

Desired Species Composition (by percent conifer basal area)

Plant Series Ponderosa pine Douglas fir White fir Shasta
Ponderosa Pine 50-95 0-35 0-20 -- 0-5 0-2 -- 0-5 1-20
White fir 5-40 10-50 40-60 5-20 5-20 1-5 0-10 1-10 --
Douglas-fir 5-30 60-85 2-10 0-5 0-5 1-5 0-10 0-5 --
Shasta Red Fir -- 5-20 5-20 40-80 -- -- 2-5 0-30 --
  1. Landscape Design Elements: Harvest unit shapes would be constrained by economic practicality and logging system capabilities. Retain dead and green structure within group selections consistent with meeting long term stand composition goals. Situate harvest units to meet general landscape objectives, including minimizing fragmentation and providing general landscape connectivity. Harvest methods could vary within stand to: a) reflect current within-stand spatial patterns, b) as required to meet stand objectives, and c) to retain or create patches of reproductive or other habitat for key wildlife species.
  2. Regeneration harvests: Regeneration harvests would not be programmed for stands under 120 years of age and generally would not be programmed for stands under 150 years of age within the next decade unless required by deteriorating stand condition, disease, or other factors that threaten the integrity of the stand. Priority for harvest in stands under 150 years of age would be commercial thinning.

    Regeneration strategies would be planned to produce the highest probability of success at the lowest practical cost and will include provisions for species diversity and long-term site productivity within the design. Practices will be strongly influenced by consideration of ecological site potential, for retention of sufficient canopy to assure control of competing vegetation, by the requirements of owl habitat connectivity at the stand level, and by factors including growing season frost potential.
  3. Commercial Thinning: Stand densities would be maintained within desired ranges through a combination of planting density, precommercial thinning, commercial thinning, and management of fine-grained stand detail. Commercial thinning entries would be programmed for stands under 150 years of age, often in conjunction with limited selection harvest in stands over 80 years. Thinning in older stands will often result in understory regeneration and the development of multiple-canopied stands. Units will retain patches of denser habitat where desired to meet wildlife habitat criteria
  4. Activity Scheduling: Stand treatment priority would result from the watershed analysis process. General priorities for stand treatments are shown in Table E-2.
Table E-2. Treatment Priority by Ecological Type
Treatment Type Pine White
Red Fir
Understory Density Control High Medium High Medium
Stand Density Management High Medium High Medium
Density Management and
Group Selection
Medium Medium Medium Medium
Regeneration Harvest or
Overstory Removal
Low Low Low Low
Underburning High Medium Medium Medium
  1. Disease Management: Design silvicultural treatments so that within-stand endemic levels of tree disease do not increase and so that, where possible, infected trees contribute to the achievement of land use allocation objectives. Creation of snags over time as a root rot center expanded would be an example of using tree disease to meet a structural objective. Mistletoe infected trees should be located in topographic positions that are not conducive to the spread of the disease and which are favorable for the production of nest groves. Treatment of stumps with borax would be done as needed to prevent air-borne infection of the stumps with root rot fungi, and prevent its spread to adjacent trees via root grafts.
  2. Forest Condition (Forest Health) Restoration: Priority for restoration treatments will be determined at the stand level and will be based on the stand's ability to meet management objectives in the long-term.

Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves

Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves would be managed to protect and enhance conditions of late-successional and old-growth forest ecosystems, which serve as habitat for the northern spotted owl and other late-successional and old-growth related species. Silvicultural practices and salvage should therefore be guided by the objective of maintaining adequate amounts of suitable habitat.

Silvicultural practices within reserves would be limited to those practices beneficial to the creation of late-successional forest conditions and would include reforestation, maintenance and protection of existing young stands, density management, and fertilization. In addition to practices that put or maintained stands on desired developmental pathways, practices designed to restore forest condition (forest health) and other practices designed to reduce the risks of stand loss would be done to maintain long-term habitat viability.

"While risk-reduction efforts should generally be focused on young stands, activities in older stands may be appropriate if: (1) the proposed management activities will clearly result in greater assurance of long-term maintenance of habitat, (2) the activities are clearly needed to reduce risks, and (3) the activities will not prevent the Late-Successional Reserves from playing an effective role in the objectives for which they were established." ("Guidelines to Reduce Risks of Large-Scale Disturbance," page C-13, Standards and Guidelines for Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl).

Salvage of mortality volume is limited to stand-replacing disturbance events exceeding 10 acres under standards outlined under "Guidelines for Salvage," page C-13, Standards and Guidelines for Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl.

Riparian Reserves

Silvicultural activities within Riparian Reserves will be designed to meet the objectives of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. Generally, standards and guidelines prohibit or regulate activities in the reserves that retard or prevent attainment of Strategy objectives. Silvicultural practices would be applied within the reserves to control stocking, to reestablish and manage stands, to establish and manage desired non-conifer vegetation, and to acquire desired vegetation characteristics needed to attain objectives of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. Forest condition (forest health) restoration would be done where required to attain objectives of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy.

Salvage operations would be done only when watershed analysis determines that present and future coarse woody debris needs are met and other Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives are not adverse

Other Allocations

Silvicultural practices where appropriate would be designed to be consistent with the objectives of the allocation.


Manage hardwood stands for production of commodities as markets develop. Regenerate harvested stands with the same hardwood species mix. Harvest up to 1/200 of the hardwood allocation per year.

Suitable commercial forest land allocated to timber production, but dominated by grass, shrubs, and hardwood that resulted from human activity would be restored to conifer production. Hardwood species would be retained to maintain species richness. Natural hardwood and shrub communities on suitable commercial forest land would not be converted to conifer production.

Stands on commercial forest land that are dominated by commercial conifers, which also contain a high percentage of hardwoods as a successional stage, would be managed for timber production.

Manage white oak woodlands to meet wildlife, range, and biological diversity objectives.


A variety of wildlife and other research activities may be ongoing, currently proposed, or proposed in the future in all land allocations. Provided certain requirements are satisfied, ongoing research may continue and new research may begin. For a discussion of research requirements see, "Research" page C-4, under "Standards and Guidelines Common to all Land Allocations" in Standards and Guidelines for Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl. Research discussions can also be found under some of the individual allocations.

Forest Genetics Program

For thousands of years humans have selected and used the genetic variation which is naturally present in plants and animals. Genetic diversity is the foundation for plant and animal improvement programs. Modern crop and livestock improvement programs have substantially increased yields and productivity with selection and breeding. The need for food production and natural resources is increasing as the human population increases. Genetic improvement programs have and will continue to help meet these demands.

The genes in all organisms are the basis of their diversity. Genetic diversity is a key component of an ecosystem. Broad genetic diversity is considered to be an asset because variability is a buffer against change. Problems can occur when genetic diversity is too narrow. Genetic uniformity decreases resilience to change and increases the potential for problems due to pests and diseases. Environmental conditions influence the expression of the genetic code. The physical characteristics of an organism are dependent on the interaction of it's genes with the environment. Ecosystems are dynamic communities which change over time and plants and animals are impacted by the changes. Species with wide tolerances can adapt to changes, while those with narrow tolerances can be heavily impacted.

The amount and pattern of genetic diversity in a species develops in part as an organism responds to the environment. This adaptation occurs over a long period of time as the environmental conditions select for or against specific genetic traits. Each species has a unique genetic structure. Genetic studies are conducted to describe and quantify the amount of genetic variation within a species. This information is necessary to direct management and to help guide operational projects.

Genetic diversity can be described as a natural resource. Management and conservation of genetic resources is vital for many reasons. Genetic improvement programs are a great benefit to society and genetic materials have a large economic value. Genetic material from wild stock is an important source of variability which can be infused into existing improved varieties. Many medicinal compounds are derived from plants and there is the potential for more undiscovered uses. Conserving genetic diversity for all species allows evolutionary processes to continue within the conditions of the natural environment.

Tree improvement is the application of genetic principles and methods to forest trees. Many of the desirable traits in trees can be enhanced with tree improvement. The Bureau of Land Management has participated in cooperative tree improvement programs for forest trees in the Pacific Northwest since the late 1950's. The emphasis to date has been in improvement of growth and disease resistance. Ecosystem management principles are changing the focus of the tree improvement program. The existing tree improvement and seed orchard programs will be integrated into a broader based forest genetics program. Genetic diversity issues for many organisms will likely become more important in the future. A forest genetics program is consistent with ecosystem management principles and can be expanded to cover the genetics of other plants and animals.

This appendix describes the objectives of the forest genetics program, the present status, and proposed direction. The BLM Western Oregon Tree Improvement Plan (1987) describes the technical details of the program. Additional general information on genetic resource issues can be found in The Value Of Genetic Resources (Oldfield 1984) and Genetics and Conservation Of Rare Plants (Falk and Holsinger 1991).

Program Objectives

The objectives of the forest genetics program underlay a broad spectrum of land management activities. The biological foundation of ecosystem management rests upon a clear understanding of the genetic diversity present within the system. The following objectives are broadly defined and include tree improvement, gene management, and gene conservation activities.

  • Provide for seed production as needed for planting species on BLM lands. Develop seed collection and seed deployment guidelines as needed.
  • Develop genetically improved materials as needed to meet BLM's resource management objectives.
  • Maintain and restore the genetic diversity within managed forest stands.
  • Analyze needs and implement gene conservation strategies as appropriate.
  • Collect information on genetic variation from important species.
  • Contribute to the development of genetic information needed for landscape analysis, ecological assessments, research studies and ecosystem management projects.
  • Maintain flexibility within the program so that information fulfills the current needs and anticipates future needs.

Status of the Existing Program

The BLM tree improvement program has generated a substantial and important genetic information base for several conifer species. The data is significant to ecosystem management because it describes the nature and extent of genetic variation present for traits of the species.

Tree improvement programs function at a landscape level. Genetic diversity is continuous across the landscape and tree improvement programs are implemented at this level. Each program is a small ecologically similar area called a breeding unit. Most tree improvement programs are cooperatives with BLM and adjacent land owners. A cooperative structure is beneficial because it greatly increases the number of trees in the genetic base and the trees are located across a broader geographic area. Program costs are shared among cooperators which is more efficient. BLM is cooperating in more than fifty breeding units which include several million acres of forest land in Western Oregon.

The following accomplishments summarize the status of the program.

  • Several conifer species (Douglas-fir, western white pine, sugar pine) have been selected for genetically controlled characteristics such as growth rate, form and resistance to disease.
  • Field tests have been established using progeny of the selected trees. These progeny test sites have been measured at regular intervals.
  • Seed orchards have been established using parent trees. The orchards are producing locally adapted seed for several major species (Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, ponderosa pine, grand fir, noble fir, incense cedar).
  • Each year improved seed is sown for replanting a portion of the harvested forest acres.
  • The seed orchards are managed for seed production. Stimulation techniques are part of the management to encourage cone production. Trees which have slow growth in field tests or show undesirable characteristics are removed from the orchard. This practice is known as "roguing".
  • Second generation programs have been initiated in some breeding units. Selection and breeding work is underway.
  • Facilities for cone and seed processing and greenhouses for growing custom tailored lots of many species are located at the seed orchards.

Proposed Program Direction

The future forest genetics program will be more complex under ecosystem management than under the previous management plans. Improvement of growth and disease resistance will continue as an important component of the forest genetics program. Gene conservation and gene resources management issues will be emphasized to a greater degree. Gene conservation is specific actions taken to conserve the genetic variation of a species. The purpose is to maintain the range of natural diversity within the species. Gene management is the integration of genetic principals into resource management actions. Ecosystems are complex and genetic diversity is important for all organism. Genetic principals must be considered when planning and implementing resource management projects so that genetic diversity is maintained.

The following is a summary of the direction for the forest genetics program.

  • Progeny test sites will be maintained and measurements of growth and other characteristics will continue. Long term management plans for the sites will be developed.
  • Seed orchards will be maintained and managed to produce seed as needed for ecosystem management projects.
  • Improved stock will be planted on a portion of the harvested acres.
  • Tree improvement programs have emphasized cooperative efforts for operational programs and research studies with state, private, and other government agencies. These partnerships will continue.
  • Genetic expertise and genetically appropriate guidelines will be provided for ecosystem management implementation.
  • A forest genetic plan will be prepared. It will include a strategy for gene conservation, maintenance of genetic diversity and definition of a monitoring baseline to quantify genetic variation.