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So Far, Northwest Forest Plan Falling Short Of Biodiversity Goals

The Northwest Forest Plan was a ground-breaking policy to protect wildlife habitat. Now 25 years in, a new study examining bird populations shows we’re still a good ways off from achieving the plan’s conservation goals.

Certain bird species can be used to gauge biodiversity. And with the Northwest Forest Plan’s focus on preserving old growth forests, Biologist Matt Betts of Oregon State University expected bird populations to increase accordingly. But the data showed we’re still losing old growth on federal land – as well as the birds.

“You know we basically looked under the hood to see how things were doing earlier than mid-term, and it turns out that things haven’t recovered as quickly as some of us would have hoped.”

Wildfire has overtaken logging as the biggest threat to mature forests on federal land. Despite these findings, researchers say the Forest Plan wasn’t expected to achieve substantial results until fifty years in.

Copyright 2019 OPB.

Copyright 2019 KLCC

Jes Burns is a reporter for OPB's Science & Environment unit. Jes has a degree in English literature from Duke University and a master's degree from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communications.