A Scenario of O & C Forest Management

“O&C timberlands shall be managed for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principle of sustained yield.”

“Timber from said lands in an amount not less than one-half billion feet board measure… shall be sold annually.” O&C Act, 43 U.S.C §1181a

Management of the O&C forest under the principles of sustained yield and producing at least 500 million board feet annually are basic requirements of the O&C Act.  Federal regulations, policies, and plans over the last 20+ years have not complied with these basic requirements.  The checkerboard land pattern of the O&C forest has far different biological capabilities than block ownership of the Forest Service, yet regulations and plans have been developed as though one size fits all.  BLM’s 2016 plan, which precludes sustained management on 80% of the land, and produces at most 278 million board feet per year, demonstrates how far the current Federal policies have strayed from the basic principles for managing the O&C Forest.

This O&C Forest Management Scenario illustrates one way sustained yield management strategies could produce a range of forest conditions and values and still met the requirements of the O&C Act. Utilizing a variety of harvest cycles, legacy tree retention, harvest intensity and timing, multiple objectives can simultaneously be achieved.  Sustained yield management is the foundation to provide multiple forest values for today and for future generations.

BLM – Blue   Forest Service – Green

Sustained Yield Land Base

  • Unavailable Lands (372,000 acres)
  • Sustained Yield Land Base (1,791,00 acres)

Unavailable Lands

372,000 Acres (17%) – These lands are not managed for sustained yield objects.

  • Congressionally Reserved (29,000 acres)
  • Administratively Reserved (24,000 acres)
  • TPCC (319,000 acres)

Age Class Distribution

  • W/D
  • SYLB

Lands Excluded from Sustained Yield

Congressionally Reserved – 29,000 Acres

Wilderness, Designated Wild and Scenic Rivers and other National Designations.

Administratively Reserved – 24,000 Acres

Recreation sites, Pacific Crest Trail, and Research Natural Areas.

Unsuitable Woodlands – 319,000 Acres

Lands not suitable for timber management due to soil and or other physical conditions under BLM’s Timber Productivity Capability Classification (TPCC).

Sustained Yield Potential and O & C Scenario

1.2+ Billion Board Feet Potential

Ten years ago BLM determined that 1,791,000 acres of the O&C forest can produce 1.2 billion board feet on a sustained yield basis. Given the lack of regeneration harvest for the last 20 years and improved understanding of productivity, the sustained yield potential has likely increased to at least 1.3 billion board feet.

O & C – 500 Million Board Feet Scenario

The O&C Act’s minimum required 500 million board foot annual harvest is just 40% of the sustained yield potential. This differential provides opportunities to utilize a range of sustained yield management strategies that can provide high levels of other forest values in addition to timber production.

  • 1.2+ Billion Potential
  • 500 Million Scenario

Sustained Yield Land Base - Emphasis Areas and O & C Scenario

O & C Scenario

All of these lands will be managed for sustained yield under a range of intensities and cycles of harvest.

1,791,000 Acres of Forest

  • Riparian (304,000 acres)
  • Older Forest (569,00 acres)
  • Timber (918,000 acres)

Age Class Distribution (in thousands of acres)

Riparian Emphasis Area

A 150’ buffer on fish bearing streams, 50’ on non-fish bearing streams and a no treatment buffer area of 50’. Thinning in stands under age 120 to create structurally complex forest that will shade streams, maintain resilient forests and provide large wood structure within streams. Individual tree selection harvest permitted for stream enhancement projects. In very dry forest, density management treatments applied to improve fire resiliency in overstocked stands.

Older Forest Emphasis Area

A network of forest areas where older forest can develop most rapidly and that meet size and spacing criteria for northern spotted owls. Over half of the area is currently under age 80. These stands would be thinned to promote structurally complex late successional conditions. Stands 80-150 years would have individual tree selection harvest over a very long cycle. Stands 160 years and older would not be harvested until the younger stands have developed to provide a landscape of late-successional forest on BLM lands. In very dry forests, density management would be applied to improve fire resiliency in overstocked stands.

Timber Emphasis Area

Areas outside of Riparian and Older Forest Emphasis Areas. Cycle of regeneration harvest conducted on stands after maturity based on productivity of each site, generally between 80-150 years. Regeneration harvest with retention conducted on a portion of the area if such retention makes significant contribution to habitat needs at the landscape scale. Intermediate thinning conducted to improve growth and volume production of the stand. In very dry forests, fire resiliency treatments would be emphasized along with uneven aged management. In stands 160+ years adjacent to the Older Forest Emphasis Areas, harvests deferred until those areas have developed late-successional forest conditions.

O&C Scenario - Outcomes

  • The O&C Forest will continue to provide clean water and habitats for fish.
  • A network of late – successional forest will increases in higher concentrations of habitat across the landscape than exists today.
  • Very Old Forest – Stands 160 years and older will continue to increase across the BLM landscape. Most of the existing very old forest will not be harvested for many decades while the network of late successional forest develops.
  • The O&C Forest will continue to provide a wide array of recreation opportunities.
  • Carbon sequestration will increase on O&C Forest over what exists today.
  • Sustainable Harvest of 500 Million Board Feet which will provide jobs and milling infrastructure to the rural communities, wood products for the nation, and funding for vital county services.

O & C Forest Management Scenario

The O&C Forest is once again managed under the Principles of Sustained Yield. Multiple forest values will be sustained and enhanced including; clean water, older forest habitats, recreation, carbon storage, while producing forest products.

2,163,000 Acres of Forest

  • Timber Emphasis
  • Riparian and Older Forest Emphasis Plus Excluded Lands

Age Class Distribution (in thousands of acres)