Findings & Recommendations

During a four year assessment in eastern Washington across three study regions Tribal forests surfaced as prime candidates for Anchor Forests. This was attributed to the legacy of tribal stewardship, their extent, often bordering federal forest lands, and the status of tribes as sovereign nations. Between the three study regions the potential for implementation of the Anchor Forest concept was quantified given collaborative forest management experiences, milling infrastructure, processing capacity, landownership extent, and past collaborative forestry-related projects.

Through evaluation of all aspects influencing forest management the Anchor Forest reports were able to propose treatment acres within the three study regions of eastern Washington (Table 1) and provide the estimated benefits these treatment acres would provide in regard to new jobs, wages, product sales revenue and savings from avoided-costs (Table 2). Although the proposed treatment acres within the three assessment regions would represent a significant gain in correcting forest health degradation and wildfire severity, additional acres would need to be treated to outpace current tree mortality, insect damage, overstocked forest conditions and job losses.

Findings from the Anchor Forest Pilot Project Study Assessment

  • There is a growing urban population culturally removed from the functions of forestry and silviculture.
  • Chronic federal agency funding and expense challenges, staff and leadership shortages, personnel turnover and inconsistencies in federal action that influence management decisions must be overcome.
  • Current forest treatment levels on USFS lands are insufficient to keep pace with deteriorating forest ecosystem conditions thereby, promoting increases in wildfire frequency and severity across the landscape that threaten adjacent forestland ownership.
  • Deteriorated forest conditions are facing particular legislation, local laws, and policies that are often unreasonably time consuming and too slow to effectively achieve the actions needed.
  • Without assessment data and long-term project monitoring using quantifiable metrics, quantification of ecosystem services will remain a challenge for natural resource managers.
  • Tribal leadership can be instrumental in fostering cross boundary collaboration given their history of proven long-term stewardship, political status as sovereign governments, unique rights, and management capabilities.

Recommendations for Anchor Forests

  • Implement forest conservation and management projects at a sufficient spatial and temporal (15+ year) scale to make a significant difference at the landscape (1,000,000 plus acre) level.
  • Classify landscape conditions or regions with similar attributes using measurable metrics, where social/cultural, economic, and ecologic goals are prioritized.
  • Identify the direct and indirect impacts associated with ecosystem services through long- term monitoring.
  • Involve diverse land ownership’s as stakeholders through third party facilitation and structured communication outreach programs to attain a foundation to develop actionable strategies.
  • Develop a measure of ‘protection’ for the collaborative process and stakeholder efforts in order to minimize administrative appeals and objections, and focus on environmental performance.
  • Support efforts to engage tribal leadership in collaborative efforts for cross-boundary forest management.
  • A “champion” and leader is needed in each agency and tribal entity to collaboratively prioritize and direct management of Anchor Forests.
  • Funding sources should be integrated within a structured “one stop” shopping investment framework to facilitate effective leveraging and efficient application.
  • Develop a transparent public forum for dissemination of collaborative decisions, examples, results, and successes.

Proposed Treatment Acres for eastern Washington. Total forested acres, current annual treatments by landownership, and estimated biomass produced and used for each study region in the Anchor Forest Assessment are shown for eastern Washington. The proposed increases in treatment acres are to maintain working forests and improve forest resilience within a multi-jurisdictional landscape. These proposed acres would be in addition to the “Current Acres Treated Annually”. The “Operable Acres Needing Treatment” represent all available acres after the exclusion of wilderness, inventoried roadless, and other federally protected lands.

Regional Conditions and Target Treatments South Central North Central Northeast
Forested Acres 2,356,000 3,276,000 1,808,000
Operable Acres Needing Treatment1 450,000 468,000 973,000
Current Acres Treated Annually 43,743 28,992 70,465
Current Annual Timber Harvest (MMBF) 288 77 298
Estimated Annual Biomass from Harvest (BDT)2 233,280 62,370 241,380
Estimated Utilized Biomass (BDT)3 39,411 10,537 40,779
Eastern Washington Forest Products Produced by Region 43% 12% 45%
Proposed Total Increase in Treatment Acres +2,257 +7,008 +14,035
1Haugo et al. 20152Estimated annual biomass production was calculated using a conversion factor of 0.81 bone-dry tons of biomass per thousand board feet of timber harvest (Perez-Garcia et al., 2012).

3Current statewide biomass utilization is 498,500 BDT (Perez-Garcia et al. 2012), with 18.2% (approximately 90,727 BDT) being attributed to eastern Washington. It was assumed biomass production for each study region was the same as percent-harvested timber volume, 43%, 12%, and 45% of the 90,000 BDT for the South Central, North Central, and Northeast study regions respectively.

Estimated Benefits From Proposed Treatment Acres. The potential benefits and avoided costs following implementation of the Anchor Forest concept is presented for each of the three study regions within eastern Washington. Avoided cost estimates were calculated based on implementing fuels treatments to reduce associated wildfire expenses as provided by previous research and described in the Anchor Forest Final Report.

Estimated Benefits From Proposed Treatment South Central North Central Northeast
Additional Forest Products Generated (MMBF)* 11 35 70
New Jobs1 198 630 1,260
Wages1 $5,808,000 $18,480,000 $36,960,000
Product Sales1 $35,200,000 $112,000,000 $224,000,000
Avoided Cost per Acre High-Risk Conditions2 $1,402 $1,402 $1,402
Estimated Total Avoided Costs $3,164,314 $9,825,216 $19,677,070
1Research has shown average of 18 jobs, $528,000 in wages, and $3.2 million in sales are generated per million board feet of harvest within the Pacific Northwest (Cook et al., 2015).

2An assessment of avoided costs using management costs, and benefits derived from, associated with investments in forest fuel removals and fire risk reduction (Mason et al., 2006).

* Calculated based on an assumed harvest of 5,000 board feet per acre.

References

Haugo, R., C. Zanger, T. Demeo, C. Ringo, A. Shlisky, K. Blankenship, M. Simpson, K. Mellen-mclean, J. Kertis, and M. Stern, 2015. Forest Ecology and Management A New Approach to Evaluate Forest Structure Restoration Needs across. Forest Ecology and Management 335:37–50.

Perez-Garcia, J., E. Oneil, T. Hansen, T. Mason, J. McCarter, L. Rogers, A. Cooke, J. Comnick, and M. McLaughlin, 2012. Washington Forest Biomass Supply Assessment. http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/em_finalreport_wash_forest_biomass_supply_assess.pdf.

Cook, P.S., T.A. Morgan, S.W. Hayes, C.B. Sorenson, R.G. Taylor, and J. O’Laughlin, 2015. Idaho’s Forest Products Industry Current Conditions and 2015 Forecast. Moscow, Idaho.

Mason, C.L., B.R. Lippke, K.W. Zobrist, T.D.B. Jr, K.R. Ceder, J.M. Comnick, J.B. Mccarter, and H.K. Rogers, 2006. Investments in Fuel Removals to Avoid Forest Fires Result in Substantial Benefits. Journal of Forestry 104:27–31.

Heller_Ignition_1330hrs Greg Bassler TrainingSawmill Complex 2007 036Management DSC02464image-006Foresters Forum 2015-02-05 11.40.10Harvest equipment in winter - NMI clientForest Canopy Spacing - NMIimage-015Spotted Owl - Yakama Nation Patricia Heemsah2