Sustaining Biodiversity in the Oregon Coast Range: Potential effects of Forest Policies in a Multi-ownership Province
Brenda C McComb, Department of Natural Resources Conservation, University of Masschusetts-Amherst
Thomas A. Spies, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, OR
Keith A. Olsen, Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
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To understand the potential effects of forest policies on sustaining biological diversity at broad scales, we used spatial simulation models to evaluate current and potential future habitat availability over 100 yr for three focal species: Pacific Fisher (Martes pennanti
), Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus
), and Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus
). The habitats of these species represent a broad range of spatial scales and forest types. Area of habitat for fishers and Pileated Woodpeckers is predicted to increase over time under current forest land management policies. Habitat for Warbling Vireos is predicted to decline. These patterns are consistent with past analyses that predicted declines in diverse early successional forests and hardwood forests and increases in late-successional forests under current and two alternative policies. Land ownership influenced the spatial arrangement of habitat for all three focal species. Public lands subsidized habitat for wide-ranging species on adjacent private lands. A land use policy that required greater green tree retention on private lands seemed to result in modest increases in habitat quality over 100 yr for Pileated Woodpeckers. Thinning of plantations on federal lands had little effect on these focal species. Policy analyses such as these highlight incongruities between historic habitat patterns and contemporary spatial and temporal scales of habitat in managed landscapes. This information can be used to assess risks and inform the policy debates surrounding biodiversity conservation.
forest habitat; forest planning; habitat scaling; landscape spatial scale; wildlife habitat relationships.