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

Matrix (Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve Buffers)


The following descriptions summarize direction for those areas in the west side Matrix that surround the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. Most of these special restriction areas are in existing old growth stands.

Objectives

Protect and enhance conditions of late-successional and old growth forest stands, which serve as habitat for late-successional and old growth forest-related species including the northern spotted owl.

Maintain a functional, interacting, late-successional and old growth habitat.

Contribute substantially to the achievement of Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision objectives, including provision of well-distributed late-successional habitat outside reserves; retention of key structural elements of late-successional forests on lands subjected to regeneration harvest; restoration and protection of riparian-wetland areas; and provision of a stable timber supply.

Land Use Allocations

There are approximately 3,800 acres (gross) of BLM-administered land in 19 restrictive buffer areas around the Late-successional/District Designated Reserves. These areas vary in size and are distributed throughout the Matrix.

Management Actions/Direction

Note: These areas are a part of the Matrix, but will have many of the management actions/directions of the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves applied to them. Adaptive management is a key component of the management for these areas.

General

Apply the management actions/direction in the Special Status and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Special Attention Species section.

Management in the buffers around the reserves will be designed to reduce the risk of natural disturbances. Old growth ecosystem prescriptions are harvest methods designed to facilitate the attainment or maintenance of old growth characteristics (see Appendix E).

Manage coarse woody debris, green trees, and snags in a manner that meets the intent of the management actions/direction for the Matrix.

Modify site treatment practices, particularly the use of fire and pesticides, and modify harvest methods to minimize soil and litter disturbances.

  • Minimize intensive burning, unless appropriate for certain specific habitats, communities, or stand conditions. Prescribed fires should be planned to leave the appropriate amount of litter and coarse woody debris for the site.
  • Minimize soil and litter disturbance that may occur as a result of yarding and operation of heavy equipment.
  • Reduce the intensity and frequency of site treatments.

Explore and support opportunities to research the role and effects of fire/fuels management on ecosystem functions.

Plan and implement non-silvicultural activities inside these areas that are neutral or beneficial to the creation and maintenance of late-successional habitat.

Using interdisciplinary teams, evaluate other activities not described below and document appropriate guidelines.

Silviculture

Produce a sustainable supply of timber and other forest commodities.

Plan and implement silvicultural treatments inside these areas that are beneficial to the creation or maintenance of late-successional habitat.

Create and maintain late-successional forest conditions. Conduct thinning operations in forest stands. This will be accomplished by pre-commercial, commercial thinning, or selective harvesting of stands regardless of origin (for example, planted after logging or naturally regenerated after fire or blowdown).

Large-scale disturbances, such as fire, are natural events and can eliminate spotted owl habitat on hundreds or thousands of acres. Certain risk management activities, if properly planned and implemented, may reduce the probability of these major stand-replacing events. Elevated risk levels are attributed to changes in the characteristics and distribution of the mixed-conifer forests resulting from past fire protection. These forests occur in drier environments, have had repeated insect infestations, and are susceptible to major fires. Risk reduction efforts are encouraged where they are consistent with the objectives for these areas.

Silvicultural activities aimed at reducing risk shall focus on younger stands. The objective will be to accelerate development of late-successional conditions while making the future stand less susceptible to natural disturbances. Salvage activities should focus on the reduction of catastrophic insect, disease, and fire threats. Treatments should be designed to provide effective fuel breaks wherever possible. However, the scale of salvage and other treatments should not generally result in degeneration of currently suitable owl habitat or other late-successional conditions.

In some of these areas, management that goes beyond these guidelines may be considered. Levels of risk in those areas may be particularly high and may require additional measures. Consequently, management activities designed to reduce risk levels are encouraged in those areas even if a portion of the activities must take place in current late-successional habitat. While risk-reduction efforts should generally be focused on young stands, activities in older stands may be appropriate if: the proposed management activities will clearly result in greater assurance of long-term maintenance of habitat; the activities are clearly needed to reduce risks; and the activities will not prevent these areas from playing an effective role in the objectives for which they were established.

Example of activities that may be needed in these areas to reduce large-scale disturbances are:

  • Light to moderate intensity underburning to reduce fuel loads;
  • Light to moderate thinning of the understory component in the stands; and
  • Manipulating species compositions to maintain or develop a diversity of conifer species.

Salvage

Down woody debris objectives will be the same as the rest of the Matrix.

Retain snags that are likely to persist until late-successional forest conditions have developed and a new stand is again producing large snags.

Retain adequate coarse woody debris quantities in a new stand so that in the future it will still contain amounts similar to naturally regenerated stands. Watershed-level or province-level plans will establish appropriate levels of coarse woody debris to be used. Levels will be typical and will not require retention of all material where it is highly concentrated or too small to contribute to coarse woody debris over the long term.

If essential to reduce future risk of fire or insect damage, conduct salvage that does not meet the preceding management actions/direction. Focus on those areas where there is high risk of large scale disturbance.

Remove snags and logs to reduce hazards to humans along roads and trails and in or adjacent to recreation sites. Leave some material where coarse woody debris is inadequate.

After disturbance in younger stands, develop diameter and biomass retention direction consistent with the intention of achieving late-successional forest conditions. Where green trees, snags, and logs are present following disturbance, the green tree and snag direction will be applied first and completely satisfied where possible. The biomass left in snags can be credited toward the amount of coarse woody debris biomass needed to achieve management objectives.

Retain logs present on the forest floor before a disturbance event.

Retain coarse woody debris to approximate the species composition of the original stand to help replicate preexisting suitable habitat conditions.

Deviate from these management actions/direction only to provide reasonable access to salvage sites and feasible logging operations. Limit deviations to as small an area as possible.

Road Management

Construct roads in these areas if the potential benefits of silviculture, salvage, and other activities exceed the costs of habitat impairment. If new roads are necessary to implement a practice that is otherwise in accordance with these guidelines, they will be kept to a minimum, be routed through unsuitable habitat where possible, and be designed to minimize adverse impacts. Alternative access methods, such as aerial logging, will be considered to provide access for activities in reserves.

Remove trees along rights-of-way if they are a hazard to public safety. Consider leaving material on site if available coarse woody debris is inadequate. Consider topping of trees as an alternative to felling.

Fuelwood Gathering

Permit fuelwood gathering only in existing cull decks, in areas where green trees are marked by silviculturists for thinning, in areas where blowdown is blocking roads, and in recently harvested timber sale units where down material will impede scheduled post-sale activities or pose an unacceptable risk of future large scale disturbance. In all cases these activities will comply with management actions/direction for salvage and silvicultural activities.

Minerals Management

Assess the impacts of ongoing and proposed mining activities in these areas.

Include stipulations in mineral leases, mineral material disposals, and, when legally possible, require operational constraints for locatable mineral activities to minimize detrimental effects to late-successional habitat.

Developments

Neither construct nor authorize new facilities that may adversely affect these areas.

Review on a case-by-case basis new development proposals that address public needs or provide significant public benefits. They may be approved when adverse effects can be minimized and mitigated. They will be planned to have the least possible adverse impacts on these areas.

Locate new developments to avoid degradation of habitat and adverse effects on identified late-successional species.

Retain and maintain existing developments, such as campgrounds, utility corridors, and electronic sites, consistent with other management actions/direction for these areas.

Remove hazard trees along utility rights-of-way and trails and in other developed areas.