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What The Northwest Forest Plan
says about 80+ year old trees
Ecological Principles for
Management of LateSuccessional Forests
Appendix B2 FSEIS B-43 – B-50 and
Chapter B. Basis for Standards &
Guidelines B-1 – B-34 ROD
Structure and composition
Structural characteristics of late-successional and
old-growth forests vary with vegetation type,
disturbance regime, and developmental stage.
For example, in many Douglas-fir stands in western
Oregon & Washington, the mature phase of stand
development begins around 80 years and is
characterized by relatively large live and dead trees
(Spies and Franklin, in press), although multiple
canopy layers may not yet be well developed.
App B2 & B-2
Four major structural attributes of old-growth
Douglas-fir forests are:
 Live old-growth trees
 Standing dead trees (snags)
 Fallen trees or logs on the forest floor
 Logs in streams
Additional important elements include multiple
canopy layers, smaller understory trees, canopy gaps,
& patchy understory.
Ecological Processes
Ecological processes include: tree growth &
maturation, death & decay of large trees, low to
moderate intensity disturbances, establishment of
understory trees, & closing of canopy gaps.
These processes result in forests moving through
different stages of late-successional and old-growth
conditions that may span 80 to 1,200 years for forests
dominated by long-lived species.
App B2 & B-2 ROD
The maturation stage is characterized by a slowed
rate of height growth & crown expansion. Heavy limbs
begin to form, gaps between crowns become larger &
more stable, or expand from insect & pathogen
mortality. Large dead & fallen trees begin to
accumulate, & the understory may be characterized
by seedlings & saplings of shade-tolerant species.
In Douglas-fir stands west of the Cascade Range,
this stage typically begins between 80 & 140 years,
depending on site conditions & stand history.
App B2 & B-2 ROD
The Role of Silviculture in LSRs
Silvicultural systems proposed for LateSuccessional Reserves have two principal objectives:
 (1) development of old-growth forest characteristics
including snags, logs on the forest floor, large trees &
canopy gaps that enable establishment of multiple
tree layers
 (2) prevention of large-scale disturbances by fire,
wind, insects & diseases that would destroy or limit
the ability of the reserves to sustain viable forest
The Role of Silviculture in Matrix
Matrix objectives for silviculture should include:
Production of commercial yields of wood, including
those species such as Pacific yew & western red
cedar that require extended rotations
Retention of moderate levels of ecologically valuable
old-growth components such as snags, logs, &
relatively large trees
Increasing ecological diversity by providing earlysuccessional habitat.
LSR Silviculture Standards &
Guidelines - West of the Cascades
There is no harvest allowed in stands over 80 years
old (110 years in the Northern Cascades Adaptive
Management Area).
Thinning may occur in stands up to 80 years old
regardless of the origin of the stands.
Purpose: to benefit the creation & maintenance of
late-successional forest conditions.
Examples of silviculture treatments that may be
considered beneficial include thinning in existing even
aged stands & prescribed burning. ROD C-12
Risk Reduction in LSRs
East of the Cascades & in the Oregon & California
Klamath Provinces:
Given the increased risk of fire in these areas due to
lower moisture conditions & the rapid accumulation of
fuels in the aftermath of insect outbreaks & drought,
additional management activities are allowed in LSRs.
Such activities in older stands may also be
undertaken in Late-Successional Reserves in other
provinces if levels of risk are particularly high.
Note: the limit on activities in stands older than 80
years of age only apply to silvicultural treatments.
ROD C-12 & C-13
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
The activities are clearly needed to reduce risks,
The activities will not prevent the Late-Successional
Reserves from playing an effective role in the
objectives for which they were established.
ROD C-13
Salvage in LSRs
The NWFP allows for salvage of dead trees
following a large, stand-replacing event within a LSR.
Salvage guidelines are intended to prevent negative
effects on late-successional habitat, while permitting
some commercial wood volume removal.
Salvage sales need to be either beneficial to latesuccessional habitat objectives or neutral to the future
attainment of late successional habitat objectives.
Note: the 9th Circuit Court Opinion on the Timbered
Rock Sale ruled that salvage has to be beneficial.
ROD C-13 – C-15
Regional Ecosystem Office
consistency reviews
If a project is being proposed that is not covered by
an existing, approved Late Successional Reserve
Assessment or the silvicultural exemption criteria; the
project needs to be brought to the REO LSR
Workgroup for review to provide concurrence that
projects are consistent with the NWFP.
If a project is not consistent, site specific rationale
may be brought to the Regional Interagency Executive
Committee to consider a Forest Plan Amendment.
Refer to “REO Late-Successional Reserve Project
Level Consistency Reviews, August 5, 2009” for more
Matrix Stand Management
Stands in the matrix can be managed for timber &
other commodity production, and to perform an
important role in maintaining biodiversity.
Silvicultural treatments of forest stands in the matrix
can provide for retention of old-growth ecosystem
components such as large green trees, snags and
down logs, and depending on site and forest type, can
provide for a diversity of species.
Matrix Standards & Guidelines
Coarse woody debris
Obj.: provide coarse woody debris well distributed
across the landscape in a manner which meets the
needs of species & provides for ecological functions.
Scattered green trees will provide a future supply of
down woody material as the stand regenerates.
Specific measures include providing a renewable
supply of large down logs, retention & protection of
CWD during treatments, leaving specific levels & sizes
of logs, & leaving logs in patches retained under
green-tree retention.
ROD C-40 – C-41
Green Tree Retention - Matrix
Retention of green trees following timber harvest in
the matrix provides a legacy that bridges past & future
Retaining green trees serves several important
functions including snag recruitment, promoting
multistoried canopies, and providing shade & suitable
habitat for many organisms in the matrix.
Retaining green trees of various sizes, ages, and
species, in well-distributed patches as well as
dispersed individuals, will promote species diversity.
Diversity of tree structure should be considered
when selecting trees for retention.
In Matrix, retain at least 15 percent of the area
associated with each regeneration harvest unit.
As a general guide, 70 percent of the total area to be
retained should be aggregates of moderate to larger
size (0.2 to 1 hectare or more) with the remainder as
dispersed structures (individual trees, and possibly
including smaller clumps).
To the extent possible, patches & dispersed retention
should include the largest, oldest live trees, decadent
or leaning trees, & hard snags.
Patches should be retained indefinitely to provide
support for those organisms that require very old
ROD C-41 – C-42
The green tree retention limitation does not apply to
intermediate harvests (thinnings) in even-age young
In addition:
Landscape areas where little late-successional
forest persists should be managed to retain latesuccessional patches. This standard & guideline will
be applied in fifth field watersheds in which federal
forest lands are currently comprised of 15% or less of
late-successional forest. Within such an area, all
remaining late-successional stands should be
ROD C-44
Survey & Manage species
Survey and Manage 2001 ROD:
These standards and guidelines apply within all land
allocations; however, the Survey and Manage
provision for each species will be directed to the range
(or portion of range) of that species, to the particular
habitats where concerns exist for its persistence, and
to the management activities considered “habitatdisturbing” for that species. 2001 ROD S&G’s p.6
Currently, the FS is implementing the 2001 ROD using
the December 2003 species list with the exception of
the Red Tree Vole which remains a Category C (predisturbance surveys practical), and/or the four
categories of projects exempt from the Survey and
Manage standards and guidelines as stipulated by
Judge Pechman (October 11, 2006, “Pechman
Bottom line: the 80 year old threshold is only
mentioned in the context of the LSR.
And in the matrix, standards & guidelines assure
appropriate conservation of ecosystems as well as
provide habitat for rare and lesser-known species.
ROD pg. 10