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The Condition of Oregon's Forests and Woodlands: Implications for the Effective Conservation of Biodiversity

Macdonald, Catherine; Buttrick, Steven; Schindel, Michael
link DOWNLOAD FILE: Oregon Report

Suppression of wildland fire over the past 60-100 years, along with widespread livestock grazing and logging, has altered the characteristics of most ecosystems in Oregon. When fires occur following long-term fire suppression and other habitat modifying practices, fire behavior can be more intense with more severe ecosystem effects.

To frame this problem at the statewide scale, we analyzed the recently released draft LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment fire regime and condition class data for fire-prone forests and woodlands and lands within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). We selected forests and woodlands for analysis based on their fire regime characteristics, current condition and proximity to the WUI. We then compared our estimates of the acres of forests and woodlands that would need to be treated annually to address uncharacteristic fuel loads, restore fire as a natural process or reduce fire risk in the reported federal treatment accomplishments to get a first approximation of the gap between current and needed restoration efforts.