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Oregon State University Meeting Forum

Mike Mottice: Closing Comments

It’s important for us to look at what we’ve learned under the Northwest Forest Plan. There is a tremendous amount of information out there. We’ve dome some things right, and some things wrong, but we have learned a lot.

  • We’ve been successful in providing more old-growth habitat
  • We’ve improved the condition of watersheds but have found that one-size-fits-all management doesn’t work
  • The effects of the NW Forest Plan varies – especially to counties
  • We have been unsuccessful in producing the timber outputs that were expected
  • We’re not very successful at reducing the risk of wildfire in fire prone forests
  • We’ve not been very successful in adaptive management
  • And, we’re not sure if static reserves are the best way to manage a dynamic landscape

New ideas are worth exploring.

You asked, "How did we select these issues for this forum?" These issues came from management questions that we developed because there seemed to be some new information since we prepared our current plans. The first three topics came from interdisciplinary team discussions and the next two questions will help us meet the settlement agreement – "Is there a way to meet our management objectives without using static reserves?" The last two topics today were "opportunistic" – ongoing efforts that we were aware of.

This doesn’t mean that there are not more issues to address and that we are not talking to other scientists about other topics. A good discussion about the science we are using can be found in a document we produces earlier this year, the Proposed Planning Criteria and State Director Guidance document.

The question was also asked, "Are we doing anything relative to social economic analysis that will consider other amenities, like quality of life? I don’t know how we will handle that but it’s important that we talk about it. We need to pay attention to that.

One final question that I want to address was, "What’s up with BLM’s resistance to Adaptive Management Areas?" Keep in mind that no decisions have been made yet. It’s true, we’re not proposing formal Adaptive Management Areas (AMAs) in any of the new alternatives, but their continuation is included in the No Action alternative. So, because we have the option to keep them in one of the alternatives, we will analyze that impact and consider that in the final decision. There are many reasons why AMAs seemed to work or did not work. The bottom line is we don’t need AMAs to experiment.

My general observations with the forum today:

  • I was impressed with the expertise and enthusiasm today and I’m proud to be associated with these professionals.
  • I was impressed with the informed and passionate questions from our non-agency guests here today.
  • We’ve learned a lot, but there is a lot of complexity to understand and other questions to ask. We know more about the northwest’s forest than any other forests in the US.

How will we use this information? I talked earlier about the three-legged stool and constraints on our decision-making. Today we learned a lot about many topics. If the science indicates we should take action "A", will we do it? Maybe, but maybe not. However, let me assure you that all decisions we make will be informed by science has to tell us.

Well, those are questions that came up today. The main question is, "how will we meet our O&C Act obligations and the other obligations we have?" That’s our task. That’s the social challenge we must face. Our decisions will be made, informed by what we learned today, but we will make our decisions based on how we can meet the legal mandates we’ve been given.

Today was a great opportunity for dialogue about some of these important topics. Thanks to our partners. Thanks to the OSU’s Media Services for videotaping the presentations. Maintain your passion and enthusiasm. Thanks for coming. BLM people will stay around and talk if you have more questions.