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Conservation Gateway » Conservation By Geography » North America » United States » Oregon » Forests

Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy


Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy


The forests of the Rogue Basin in southwestern Oregon have innate ecological value, provide diverse wildlife habitats, underpin the carbon and water cycles, and provide human communities with clean water, recreation, and other benefits. Landscape-scale forest restoration is needed to mitigate threats to these forests and surrounding communities from uncharacteristically destructive fires catalyzed by a century of fire exclusion, past destructive logging practices, and climate change. The original report from 2017 describes the collaboratively-derived Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy, which integrates resource assessments conducted by the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative and partners to clarify the potential costs and benefits of landscape-scale forest restoration in the Rogue Basin. Subsequent to the report we revised some assumptions, to account for the cost of initial-entry controlled burns and to eliminate work originally proposed where heicopter would have removed small amounts of merchantable restoration byproduct. Published in 2021, the peer-reviewed paper Integrating forest restoration, adaptation, and proactive fire management: Rogue River Basin case study also has links to updated appendices as well as supplemental materials.

This document integrates four foundational parts. First, we conducted a wildfire risk assessment to quantify current wildfire risk and provide indicators for evaluating alternative management scenarios. Second, we identified a suite of five landscape-scale management objectives and the relative value of mechanical treatments to achieve those objectives. Third, we generated mechanical treatment themes and their potential extents and derived outputs for the entire landscape, should mechanical treatments be implemented. Fourth, we compare three contrasting management scenarios of increasing treatment footprint across the Rogue Basin and estimate their performance on key indicators. Finally, we discuss how these assessments could be used to inform project development and evaluation.

Consistent with the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, the All Lands scenario best achieved landscape scale objectives. The Rogue Basin Forest Restoration Strategy framework can be used to structure manager decision-making and has already been used to engage stakeholder and the public in conversations about management of southwestern Oregon forests. Strategy treatments should promote conditions to enable managed fire that will improve landscape resilience, climate resilience, and community safety at a reduced cost over the long-term. Continued implementation of this strategy on federal lands could encourage related work on all lands, and result in a more resilient landscape where people and nature thrive.

Original Appendices (updated appendices available here):

Appendix 1:
Data and supporting information underpinning the Rogue Basin Strategy. These data were developed by the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative and The Nature Conservancy to inform project development and provide landscape context for restoration work planned.

Appendix 3:
Detailed methodology for developing and refining fuel data from LANDFIRE and the local fuels calibration workshop, as well as running the FSIM large fire simulations. Analysis run and appendix written by Donald Helmbrecht of USFS Teams.

Appendix 6:
Detailed methodology for parametrizing the Marxan optimization software and developing the three landscape scale management scenarios.

Appendix 7:
Detailed methodology for modifying fuel characteristics for modeling fire behavior under the three management scenarios.

Appendix 8:
Detailed economic analysis and underlying assumptions for the Rogue Basin Strategy.

Appendix 9:
Factsheets that summarize characteristic of all 96 planning areas analyzed under the Rogue Basin Strategy and their performance on landscape objectives, risk reduction, acreage by potential treatment category, and economics.

Appendix 10:
Description and outcomes of a workshop with engaged stakeholders to introduce the Rogue Basin Strategy and receive feedback on how well the Rogue Basin Strategy addresses climate change concerns.