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New Science Report Will Help Re-Shape Northwest Forest Plan

USDA Forest Service
Boulder Flat Campground, in the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon. Umpqua is one of 17 National Forests which are managed under the Northwest Forest Plan.

The US Forest Service has just released a new science report that will guide how National Forests are managed in the Pacific Northwest.

Since 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan has governed federal forest policy in western Oregon, western Washington and northwestern California. The new report -- called a “science synthesis” -- looks at research into a range of ecological, biological and socio-economic issues related to the region’s 17 National Forests.

Paul Anderson is head of the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland , which published the report.

“I view the science synthesis as being a compendium of those different things that we’re learned in the 20-plus years that the Northwest Forest Plan has been in place," Anderson says.

For example, Anderson says, the report found the Forest Plan has succeeded in slowing the loss of old growth habitat, but it’s been less successful in producing the anticipated quantities of timber.

The three-volume, peer-reviewed report is intended to put the best available science into the hands of federal forest managers as they make planning decisions.

The science report has been finalized, but this is just the start of a public process to revise the Northwest Forest Plan that’s expected to take another four years.

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.