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20 Years of Science Show Mixed Results for NW Forest Plan

Cascadia Wildlands

The latest report card is out for the Northwest Forest Plan. The landmark forest management plan covers more than 2 million acres of public lands in Washington, Oregon and California.

Jes Burns of our EarthFix team says the newly-released 20-year monitoring report examines how well those federal forests are meeting economic and habitat restoration goals.

Jes Burns: “The monitoring report is essentially a collection of the latest scientific research on Northwest forests. It covers everything from river health to spotted owls to the timber industry. They’re seeing some interesting things – namely that old growth forests have decreased about 3% since the plan was put in place in 1994. Spotted owls continue their slow decline as well. Most of the habitat destruction has not been due to logging, as some may think – wildfire has actually been the biggest culprit.”

The Forest Service is beginning the broader process of updating the Northwest Forest Plan. This report card provides the scientific backdrop for changes to come.

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