We are in a historic time of a paradigm shift in the collective approach to forest policy in Oregon. The forest products industry and the environmental community have often been seen as being at odds with one another. But they are invested in the same resource: Oregon forests.
In 2020, the two groups made a concerted effort to move past their differences and create a more collaborative path forward, which has come to be known as the Private Forest Accord. The Private Forest Accord is the result of a long-term process that brought together representatives from both sides through a mediated process. The purpose was to modify the Oregon Forest Practices Act (OFPA) to identify key goals that should allow Oregon to receive federal approval of a Habitat Conservation Plan.
A Habitat Conservation Plan and accompanying incidental take permit on private forestlands would offer assurances of protected habitat for fish and other aquatic species, and provide future regulatory stability for Oregon’s forestry and forest products sector.
Over an 18-month period, representatives from the timber industry and environmental groups took time to meet, listen to scientific experts, and dive into research and data in an effort to find common ground. In October, 2021, with the leadership of Gov. Kate Brown, representatives of the Accord signed an agreement on proposed changes to state regulations governing logging and other forest practices on private forestland.
The group identified the goals pursued during the process as aiming to provide:
• greater business certainty
• greater environmental certainty
• greater regulatory certainty
• science-driven adaptive management processes
• alternatives for small woodland owners
The full Private Forest Accord report was released to the public in order to provide an in-depth look at proposed changes to Oregon’s forestry laws as agreed upon by the groups. Those agreements were put before the 2022 legislative process as Senate Bills 1501, 1502 and HB 4055.
The primary topics of those bills were identified as:
• Stream buffers. Updated stream buffers are 10% to 100% larger based on stream type and geography.
• Forest roads. New standards for road design, inventory, maintenance, management, and culvert design.
• Unstable slopes. Retaining trees in key areas as a means to reduce landslide risk, and develop new modeling.
• Protections of aquatic resource habitat. Expanded riparian buffers for a variety of riparian-dependent species, including salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and amphibians. (Includes additional reporting requirements for managing beaver activity.)
• Compliance monitoring. Expands monitoring programs to evaluate whether new rules are implemented as intended.
• Adaptive Management Program. Creates a new stakeholder committee, which will work with an Independent Research and Science Team to advise the Board of Forestry on recommendations for ongoing rule changes ensuring that the goals of the Habitat Conservation Plan are met.
• Mitigation and implementation costs.
• Tax credit to compensate small forestland owners.
There are also special accommodations for small woodland owners to address disproportional impacts they could face as a result of changes to Oregon’s forest practices regulations. Provisions for alternative practices and state funding are intended to help lessen the burden for small forest landowners, who make up about 12% of the state’s forestland and 36% of the private ownership.
There are still numerous steps to be taken, by the Private Forest Accord and the legislation associated with it, before the rules and habitat conservation plan are finalized. But the hope is that the long-term regulatory certainty and an HCP for private forestlands will better protect stream habitat for fish and other sensitive wildlife while keeping Oregon private forests forested, rather than converted for other uses. This is how we will ensure that Oregon’s forest sector can thrive into the future.
To learn more about the Private Forest Accord and upcoming changes to Oregon’s forest practices regulations, go to OregonForests.org/private-forest-accord.
Acting Director of Forestry
Hi, everyone! My name is Taylor Lowe and I’m the Oregon Forest Resources Institute’s new social media intern, responsible for creating content and helping manage the agency’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
I’m a senior at Oregon State University, majoring in marketing. I’m originally from Oregon City, which puts me in the perfect location to enjoy all that Oregon has to offer, being not far from beaches, forests, deserts and mountains.
My family lives on seven acres in Beavercreek that backs up to 150 acres of forest owned by a family friend, which includes ponds, trails for hiking, mountain biking, ATV riding and horseback riding, as well as camping spots. My dad, brothers and I love to take a short walk through our backyard and spend some time fishing, hiking with our chocolate labs – who love the water – and enjoying the scenery in all four of Oregon’s seasons.
My dad is an avid outdoorsman who instilled a love of nature in me at a young age as he took me fishing all over Oregon, as well as camping, hunting and hiking.
From the ages of 8 to 18, I rode horses competitively, which provided many opportunities for me to spend time outside with my horses, Doc and Charlie, travel across the Pacific Northwest for competitions, and trail ride all over Oregon. With my background in agriculture and outdoor hobbies, I could not be more excited about this opportunity with OFRI!
Last summer, before joining OFRI, I had an amazing opportunity to intern with the Portland Pickles collegiate baseball team. My main responsibilities included running their social media platforms, and fan engagement. My coworkers and I had a blast coming up with creative new ways to get fans engaged and involved at the games, and bringing all of our ideas to life. Fan engagement also tied into social media by showing our fans what was happening at the stadium if they weren’t able to make it out to the game, as well as featuring fans in attendance on our social media. While spending my summer with the Pickles I learned so much about event coordinating and production, and how to maximize the online presence of a brand.
As graduation is quickly approaching this year, my goal is to continue to work in marketing, specifically social media marketing. I love being able to get creative and strategize new ways to engage with a variety of target audiences through rather new and dominant platforms in the marketing world such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook.
I am so excited to be working with an organization that ties in so well with some of my favorite hobbies and the state that I love the most!
Feel free to reach out to me with content ideas for OFRI’s social media accounts or our blog at [email protected].
Social Media Intern
Now that we’ve officially entered western Oregon’s wet season, many of us are ready to snuggle up at home with a warm cup of tea and a good book or movie. It also happens to be the time when the conditions are safest for forest landowners to burn the woody debris piles, commonly known as “slash,” that are left behind after an area has been logged on their property.
As part of the timber harvest planning process, it is important for landowners and forest managers to consider how to manage the woody debris generated by logging, including tree tops, limbs and broken pieces. To aid forest landowners with this process, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI), with the help from some of our forestry education partners, published an informative publication called Managing Logging Slash Piles in Northwest Oregon on the best management practices for piling and burning woody debris.
The pamphlet and an accompanying “how to” video available on our landowner education YouTube channel give an overview of the practices and methods for piling and burning any woody material that’s not left in the forest to provide nutrients and wildlife habitat or used as firewood. Often, forest landowners decide to manage large quantities of slash by burning it, removing the physical barrier to planting trees to replace those that were harvested. It may sound counterintuitive, but burning slash piles can also reduce fire hazards on the landscape.
Both the pamphlet and the video focus on the Douglas-fir and hemlock forests that grow in northwest Oregon, where dry summers are followed by fall rainstorms and east-wind events, although the information included may apply across the state.
Contributors to the development of the pamphlet and video included the Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Program, the Northwest Oregon Forest Protective Association, Associated Oregon Loggers and Keep Oregon Green.
If you want to dive even further into the topic of how to safely burn slash, a webinar titled “Best Practices of Managing Logging Slash Piles and Burning,” was hosted by Tree School Online. The presenters were Mike Cafferata with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Rodney Jacobs with Stimson Lumber Company and the Northwest Oregon Forest Protective Association. It can be found in the archives of Tree School Online classes under the date it was originally hosted, May 4, 2021.
Of course there are alternatives to managing woody debris left after a wildfire, windstorm or timber harvest that don’t involve burning it. Some landowners may choose to find biomass fuel solutions or grind up tree limbs and sticks into wood chips.
While there are many viable options to choose from, piling and burning slash is often the most economical choice. The Managing Logging Slash Piles pamphlet provides a checklist of things to consider when choosing whether or not to burn, including consideration if burning is even allowed in your area.
If you do decide to burn, make sure to take the proper safety precautions to minimize potential risks and liability. Pile-burning is an art and science of its own and deserves proper time for planning and execution. Hopefully, our educational materials on managing logging slash piles serve as a good place to start.
For the forest,
Acting Director of Forestry
Where you can learn more about slash pile creation and burning:
· Download or order a copy of the pamphlet at .
· Watch the “Slash Piles: How to Safely Build and Burn” video on .
· Watch a recording of the Tree School Online “Best Practices of Managing Logging Slash Piles and Burning” webinar at .
The Oregon Forest Resources Institute’s (OFRI) Wildlife in Managed Forests program has a new publication that’s all about amphibians!
For our new Wildlife in Managed Forests: Forest Amphibians publication we worked with scientists from Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service to help forest landowners get to know the amphibians that call Oregon forests home, and help provide good habitat for them. We also summarize the current science and offer suggestions for voluntary forest management actions that benefit amphibians. Read on to learn a little more about the authors behind this awesome new publication.
Dr. Tiffany Garcia
Dr. Tiffany Garcia grew up in northern California and has always been around forests, amphibians and natural resource management. Her thirst for answers about wildlife management started early, but she didn’t get the chance to work on research projects until she started college at the University of California Davis. There, she bothered postdocs, graduate students and her professors constantly with questions about amphibians! They were gracious enough to let her tag along on surveys and studies.
Now Dr. Garcia is professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University. Her work focuses mainly on seasonal streams and ponds, where she studies the impacts of environmental stressors on amphibians. Her research quantifies behavioral, physiological and community responses to environmental stressors, including pharmaceutical contamination, invasive species and climate change. She completed her bachelor’s at U.C. Davis in 1997, and her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky in 2002. She first arrived in Oregon as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, and has since conducted research projects in Sweden, California and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Deanna (Dede) Olson
Dr. Deanna (Dede) Olson got hooked on field ecology research when she was an undergraduate at U.C. San Diego, where she helped with lizard research, and she went on to do independent studies on mussels and barnacles in a marsh near Woods Hole, Mass., and on Przewalski’s horses at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and then was an assistant for a National Geographic expedition to South America. When she entered graduate school, she wanted to keep working on the behavioral ecology of animal mating systems, but when she took a course on herpetology, the branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians, she decided to focus on Oregon amphibians. She worked on researching frogs and toads in the Oregon Cascade Range starting in 1982, and continues 40 years later.
Dr. Olson was a free-range kid, coming home only when it got dark. She always had pets, and the family would go on treks together in natural areas. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was a favorite TV show then, a window to a bigger world. Dr. Olson aimed to be a biology major in college, with pre-med or a health pathway in mind, and then she discovered behavioral ecology and found her bliss. Undergraduate ecology studies were fun adventures, and she learned to put her observations into theoretical contexts. She discovered she was above par in writing, and her first journal paper on lek-mating birds in the South American country of Suriname was published before graduate school, and then was accepted in lieu of a master’s degree. She went straight for a Ph.D. on toad and frog mating systems in Oregon. After a couple postdoctoral instructor stints at western Oregon colleges, she was hired as a postdoc by the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, with the anadromous fish habitat program. As agency needs grew and declining amphibians became a global concern, she was able to expand her work to more amphibians, the threats to them, and managing them for sustainability.
I asked Dr. Garcia and Dr. Olson some questions about their experiences researching forest amphibians and their advice for forest landowners and managers. In some cases, their answers have been shortened and edited for clarity.
Do you have an amphibian moment that stands out?
Dr. Garcia: I once saw a bullfrog so big that I thought it was an Asian carp. Scared the wits out of me.
Dr. Olson: The first time I saw a breeding toad aggregation stands out to me. I had been looking for them as I walked along a lake shoreline, but after I gave up and started back to the car without seeing anything, I heard faint pip pip pip sounds, and it was male mating calls being made out in deeper water. In a very small area of perhaps 10 square yards there were hundreds of mating toads. Breeding ended in a couple more days. In the large lake, this was a needle in a haystack in both space and time, and I had happened upon them. Toads use traditional mating sites, and once I found them, I could reliably find them again in a later year. I felt like I had cracked the code of these cryptic animals!
What advice do you have for landowners interested in managing their forests to provide amphibian habitat?
Dr. Garcia: In promoting amphibian habitat, you’re promoting ecosystem health and wildlife biodiversity. This is because amphibians are the heart of the forest. They are prey for many of our birds and mammals, as well as predators of forest invertebrates. They bridge stream, forest floor and canopy ecosystems by transferring nutrients throughout and across these systems. Amphibian habitat, which includes downed wood, streamside trees and plants, and wetlands, also provides important ecosystems services that benefit both current and future human populations.
Dr. Olson: Consider the different life stages and life functions of the animals and providing habitat conditions for each, including breeding habitat, foraging habitat, overwintering or summer refugia and dispersal habitat to connect populations.
What's your take-home message from the publication for forest managers and landowners?
Dr. Garcia: I hope this illuminates the amazing diversity of frogs and salamanders in Oregon. We’re a global hotspot for these animals, and the more we know about where they are and what habitat they need, the better we can do in working together toward their conservation.
Dr. Olson: Sustain amphibians and their habitats, and that helps sustain broader forest wildlife communities, due to amphibians’ central role as predators and prey for other animals.
What are your current interests and projects?
Dr. Garcia: I’m currently working on research projects that assess wildfire impacts on terrestrial salamanders in Oregon, and how large pieces of downed wood can provide important microhabitats for these animals during forest disturbances such as fire.
Dr. Olson: Advancing knowledge of the effectiveness of riparian buffers (where trees are preserved along streams to shade and cool the water and provide habitat) for amphibian protection in forests, and elevating the “social capital” of amphibians for increased conservation attention as their extinction rates exceed all other main animal groups. Can we preserve these animals for our children’s children’s children?
The full Wildlife in Managed Forests: Forest Amphibians publication is available to download or order at OregonForests.org/publications.
Fran Cafferata Coe, CWB®
OFRI Contract Wildlife Biologist