I was just getting ready to respond to Sharon’s public database idea (I’m all for it) and to the HRV modeling crowd (they are NOT historical ecologists — but that’s what is really needed) after checking my email, but came across the following news release first.
My pet peeves are the insistent references to “principles of ecological forestry” (which all of the agencies have apparently bought into, or been required to adopt, whatever they might be) and to the claim that these efforts are “science-driven” and represent the “latest science,” apparently based on “new scientific information.”
These are social value problems, and the scientists who need to be involved are cultural anthropologists and historical ecologists — both sadly underrepresented in the literature and in funding. Once common values and objectives can be established, then experienced resource managers need to become involved. So far, it looks like the whole thing is continuing to degenerate in closed door meetings at the hands of high-level bureaucrats, lawyers, and ivory tower theorists — not locals, and not skilled managers. And certainly not the public.
Have these “principles of ecological forestry” ever been independently peer reviewed, or is it just more in-house stuff? How did they change, given the recent influx of “new scientific information?” And — most importantly — where can American taxpayers review these documents?
U.S. Department of the Interior Contacts:
BLM, Jody Weil, (503) 808-6287
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USFWS, Jason Holm, (503) 231-2264
USFS, Larry Chambers, (202) 205-1005
For release: April 26, 2013
USFWS, BLM, USFS Leadership Travel to Pacific Northwest to Discuss Northern Spotted Owl Recovery, Forest Health
As part of the Administration’s on-going commitment to improving forest health in the Pacific Northwest, recovering the northern spotted owl, and supporting sustainable economic opportunities for local communities, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, Bureau of Land Management Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze, and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell this week travelled to California, Oregon and Washington to meet with employees from both the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to underscore what they see as an historic opportunity for forest ecosystem progress.
“In the past two years, the Service has used the principles of ecological forestry and the latest scientific information to revise and update the recovery plan and identify habitat essential to the survival and recovery of the spotted owl,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe. “With all three agencies aligned around these principles, we have an historic opportunity to accelerate the protection and restoration of healthy forest ecosystems that will support owl recovery and sustainable timber supplies.”
The USFWS , BLM and USFS have been working together for two decades on recovery of the northern spotted owl, protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The four employee meetings held in Olympia, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; and Redding, California provided an important opportunity for agency leaders to articulate a common vision and intent, and address questions from the people who will play a key role in achieving that vision. The visit emphasizes the importance that sustainable forest health plays in the social, cultural and economic viability of communities in the Pacific Northwest.
“Balance is the key to our success,” said BLM Principal Deputy Director Kornze. “We are
working collaboratively with our partners to develop a sustainable path forward and a long-term solution to the complex forest management challenges in western Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest.”
In December 2012, the USFWS finalized a science-driven proposal identifying lands in the Pacific Northwest that are essential to the survival and recovery of the northern spotted owl. The USFWS identified 9.29 million acres of critical habitat on Federal land and 291,570 acres on state land.
“Our National Forests in the Pacific Northwest are a great national treasure, not least for all of the values they provide to local communities,” USFS Chief Tidwell said. “We are working with partners and communities to apply the latest science in maintaining and restoring habitat for spotted owl and other wildlife.”
The agencies have worked closely in developing the revised critical habitat designation and recovery plan. The plan embraces active forest management by applying principles of ecological forestry to target and achieve forest health. This will allow forests within the range of the northern spotted owl to be managed for conservation of the species, ecosystem health and economic opportunities for local communities.
The BLM is revising its resource management plans for 2.5 million acres of forest lands across six BLM Districts in western Oregon in order to address new scientific information related to forest health, the USFWS’s recovery plan and proposed critical habitat designations for the northern spotted owl. The plans will supersede those completed in 1995.