Ecosystems: a new era in natural resources management
Recognizing forests as a complex network of biological systems that are connected and
dependent on each other, a team of hundreds of scientists and technical experts designed the
forest plan on ecosystem management.
- To plan for the future of the forest plan's ecosystems, Washington, Oregon and
California are broken into 12 provinces that share common water and land characteristics,
with watersheds serving as the basis for the planning areas to help assure clean water for
people and healthy habitat for wildlife and fish such as salmon.
- An aquatic conservation strategy was developed to restore and maintain the health of
watersheds, providing direction for analysis, restoration and monitoring. More than 500
watershed restoration projects are completed or initiated. About 5 million acres of
watersheds have been analyzed so far, with another 5 million acres projected to be
analyzed by the end of this year.
- Six different types of federal land allocations are created to preserve old growth forests,
protect the environment, and allow for timber harvest of trees less than 80 years old, or
for salvaging activities that help promote characteristics of ancient forests.
Riparian reserves: 2.2 million acres along streams and wetlands to protect and enhance clean
water and to create habitat.
Adaptive management areas: 1.5 million acres consisting of ten areas intended for
innovative forest management. Located near forest-dependent communities, these ten areas are
living laboratories where experimenting with innovative, environmentally sensitive forest
management techniques are being encouraged and developed.
Matrix lands: Includes 4.9 million acres outside of reserves and withdrawn areas which are
available for timber harvest.
Congressionally withdrawn areas: 7 million acres of National Parks, wilderness areas,national
monuments and other federal lands where timber harvest is prohibited.
Late-successional reserves: 7.1 million acres of federal lands where old-growth or late
successional cutting is prohibited.
Administratively withdrawn areas: 1.7 million acres of federal land to be used for various uses
such as experimental forestry, research, recreation, and scenic areas.
- Private landowners will be voluntarily conserving millions of acres for habitat
preservation, thanks to the success of the administration's new habitat conservation plans
and conservation agreements. These cooperative efforts give landowners the opportunity
to voluntarily comply with the endangered species act by setting aside important habitat
areas, and in return they can move forward with their economic goals. 39 plans and
agreements are currently underway or completed, potentially preserving about 5.5 million
acres of habitat in Oregon, Washington, and California.