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Science Oregon/Washington BLM




Stream Survey
Stream survey on Smith Creek in the BLM Roseburg District

Use of Science

BLM managers use science, as well as other information and considerations, in making land use management decisions. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) which gave BLM its basic land management mission, calls for the use of interdisciplinary, integrated science information and cooperative scientific investigations, studies, and experiments. The National Environmental Policy Act also mandates a systematic, interdisciplinary approach to ensure an integrated use of natural and social sciences in planning and decision making.

This and other guidance both require and empower the Bureau to respond to changing ecological conditions, to provide a wide variety of products and services, and to maintain the health of the public lands. By using the most current, accurate science and technology and working with scientific and technical experts, we will be able to do a better job of managing the land for its environmental, scientific, and economic benefits.

Research and Development

Each fiscal year, the Bureau of Land Management provides funding to universities and research organizations in support of research efforts on a variety of topics including stream ecology, forestry, rangeland management, threatened and endangered species management, and landscape patterns and processes. Research results are provided to the Bureau of Land Management and used to inform land management planning and implementation.

Research Opportunities

The lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management also provide universities and scientists with many opportunities for research and scientific investigation. Specific opportunities include the units of the National Landscape Conservation System, BLM's research natural areas (RNAs), and other designated science areas, as well as nondesignated public land areas.

Adaptive Management Areas

Valley of the Giants
Valley of the Giants, Salem District

Adaptive Management Areas are landscape units designated to encourage the development and testing of technical and social approaches to achieving desired ecological, economic, and other social objectives. Each area is meant to pilot adaptive management, thus promoting learning about how to manage in an adaptive management framework.

Ten areas ranging from about 92,000 to nearly 500,000 acres of federal lands have been identified. The areas are well distributed in the physiographic provinces of western Oregon and Washington and northwestern California. Most are associated with sub-regions impacted socially and economically by reduced timber harvest from the federal lands.

Density Management Studies

Density management
Density management thinning in the forest, Eugene District

A collaborative long-term research and monitoring project in western Oregon is examining whether "density management" thinning prescriptions can be used in 40-70 year-old Douglas-fir forests to accelerate the development of late-successional habitat characteristics, while producing significant wood volume.

These kinds of silvicultural prescriptions were called for in the federal Northwest Forest Plan, and were developed by the Bureau of Land Management with their cooperators. They are designed to reserve and maintain all stand structural features that are thought to contribute to biodiversity.

These studies include thinning treatments, with patch openings and leave islands up to one acre in size. The associated riparian buffer study is assessing the effects of thinning in federal interim Riparian Reserves on aquatic vertebrate diversity and associated microhabitats and microclimate gradients.

Research Natural Areas

Scotch Creek RNA
Scotch Creek Research Natural Area, Medford

Numerous opportunities exist in Oregon and Washington to do field research on sites that are permanently protected from resource extraction and other forms of active management. These areas, called Research Natural Areas (RNAs), can be found throughout all the ecoregions that occur in these two biologically diverse states. Research Natural Areas are primarily located on federal lands.

Technology Transfer

Below are some resources, publications, and on-line tools that help communicate scientific results.

BLM Library

The BLM Library contains a number of technical documents available to the public, such as technical references, cultural resource series, ICBEMP publications, resource notes, etc. more >>


As an unbiased, multi-disciplinary science organization that focuses on biology, geography, geology, geospatial information, and water, we are dedicated to the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten us. more>>

USFS TreeSearch

Treesearch is an online system for locating and delivering publications by Research and Development scientists in the US Forest Service. Publications in the collection include research monographs published by the agency as well as papers written by our scientists but published by other organizations in their journals, conference proceedings, or books. more>>