Early Seral Biodiversity

Biodiversity in Natural and Managed Early Seral Forests of Southwestern Oregon

Principal and Co-principal Investigators: Dr. Meg Krawchuk (OSU), Dr. Graham Frank (OSU), Dr. Matthew G. Betts (OSU), Dr. Mark Swanson (OSU), Dr. James W. Rivers (OSU), Dr. Jake Verschuyl (NCASI), Dr. A.J. Kroll (previously with Weyerhaeuser).

JUSTIFICATION: Early seral forests contribute important heterogeneity to landscapes in the Pacific Northwest. Federal forest management and intensification of management on private lands have reduced the availability of complex early seral ecosystems, contributing to calls for forestry approaches to help balance the aims of wood production and biodiversity conservation. A necessary next step for early seral science and policy in the Pacific Northwest is a carefully designed research program focused on a deeper understanding of spatial and temporal variability in early seral biodiversity along a gradient from more naturally regenerating through intensively managed forest landscapes.

DESCRIPTION OF APPROACH: We will document how plantation forestry alters the biodiversity and tempo of the early seral period from its primary natural counterpart, wildfire. At the same time, we will investigate the extent to which active management may support species and communities traditionally associated with natural disturbance. Biodiversity responses to management intensity are expected to be variable over time, so that differences between high and low intensity management differ among phases of early seral development. Our objective in this study is to conduct a large-scale retrospective study of biodiversity, including plant, pollinator and bird communities, in early seral Douglas-fir dominated forest site types of southwestern Oregon's Klamath ecoregion. We will compare 1) pre-forest community development on public lands after stand replacing fire, 2) after wildfire and timber salvage/management on public lands, and 3) managed regeneration plantation forestry on private industrial lands at three different periods of early stand growth.

LAND MANAGEMENT COLLABORATORS: Weyerhaeuser, Roseburg Forest Products, USDOI Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service