Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

Western Oregon BLM Federal Public Forestlands:

The Ecological Values at Stake

Though Western Oregon BLM forestlands are not upper case National Forests—as are most federal public forestlands that are part of the National Forest System and managed by the USDA Forest Service—these lands are no less ecologically, economically and socially important. As solutions to the O&C controversy are contemplated, it is important to keep it mind that these lands not just colors on a map, fountains of logs for the timber industry or a trough for the counties to feed.

The Nature Conservancy and Wild Salmon Center have published the Atlas of Conservation Values on Bureau of Land Management Holding in Western Oregon (2012) (warning: it is 85 megabytes in size, but worth every byte).  The take-home message of the atlas is this: There are no free and easy acres to sell-off, sell-out (manage in a timber trust) or otherwise sacrafice to the altars of logs and/or county revenues. From the conclusion of the Atlas:

Just taking into account the modeled terrestrial wildlife data, we found that over 99 percent of BLM lands in Western Oregon support habitat for wildlife species of conservation concern. Only 9,000 acres (or 0.4 percent) were not identified as likely habitat for one of these species (Figure 2). While every acre identified for a given species is not essential to the conservation of the species or habitat overall, in conservation assessments done to-date, over 83 percent of BLM’s holdings in Western Oregon have been identified as priority lands and waters for the conservation of native species and habitats.

The atlas contains 21 full-color maps that depict:

1.    Study Area with Sixth-level Watersheds
2.    General Ownership for Western Oregon
3.    Industrial Timber Owners by Watershed
4.    Adjacent Ownership Contrast for BLM Lands
5.    Percent of BLM Land by Watershed
6.    Northwest Forest Plan Land Use Allocations
7.    Riparian Reserves & Key Watersheds
8.    Harvest Land Base
9.    Occurrences of Species of Conservation Concern on BLM Lands
10.    Current Salmon Distribution
11.    Strong Salmon Populations
12.    Wildlife Species of Conservation Concern on BLM Lands
13.    Critical Habitat
14.    Terrestrial Habitat Types
15.    BLM Forest Stand Age
16.    BLM Stands with Limiting Harvest Factors
17.    Salmonids: Habitat Intrinsic Potential
18.    Conservation Priority Areas
19.    Drinking Water Protection
20.    Protected Areas
21.    Recreation Resources and Wilderness Characteristics