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Monitoring Plan

Posted by on Oct 12, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Tracking Forest Health – A Voluntary Monitoring Program:   Introduction: The Tracking Forest Health program provides a framework to support the monitoring of the changing health of forests.  Since 1998 the program’s development has been focused on the three forests making up Hyla Woods. At the same time, it has been designed with the goal of providing a framework which others could adapt and apply to their own forests.  We believe that we have a responsibility to track the changing health of the forest and study whether the actions we take lead to the intended results.  This document aims to summarize all main aspects of the program.   The Components: We believe that a successful approach must include and integrate the following four sequential elements: Questions      – What are the questions that our monitoring aims to answer? The      Strategy – What is our plan for answering the question(s)? Data      Collection and Storage – What data will we collect and how, when, and      by whom?  How will the data be      stored? Analysis      – What conclusions can be drawn from the data to answer the question(s)?   Characteristics: We aim to develop a program which has the following characteristics: Ongoing      – Focusing on tracking long term trends by engaging infinite generations      of forest keepers Balanced      – Investing enough time and energy to produce valuable results while      not requiring so much investment that forest keepers will not be able to      continue the work. Engaging      – Interesting and engaging enough to make the trackers and essential      volunteer partners want to continue the work indefinitely Scientifically      Sound – Using the best possible science to honestly answer questions      for which we do not yet know the answers Adaptable      – Can be modified to match the unique circumstances of each forest and forest      keeper Cooperative      – Wherever appropriate work in cooperation with others, including      using existing protocols, building and using partnerships with other      organizations, and openly sharing our work with others Voluntary      – Never linked to required or regulatory activities   The Questions: The three...

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Hyla Woods Ecoassessment

Posted by on Oct 12, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Hyla Woods Experimental Forest –  Forest Assessment: Introduction:  Since 1986, we at Hyla Woods have worked to measure, track, and better understand the ecological function and values of our forests – ecological, economic, and social.   We invest in this work and encourage others to join us, because we see it as an essential tool for tracking progress toward our goal of creating “enriched forests” and “sustaining people”.  In response to watching common wealth values in the forested region around us decline, we are determined to maintain and rebuild these same values where we have the most ability and responsibility to create change.   Growing from isolated monitoring efforts, the work has expanded and matured into a relatively comprehensive system for tracking forest health.   Though we are pleased that elements of the overall program represent high levels of scientific excellence and reliability, we also acknowledge that, on average, the program’s level of scientific rigor is not as high as we want it to be.  We are committed to finding the resources and building the partnerships necessary to continuously improve the quality of the science.  The work is designed to answer the following central questions: What is the status of the health of      these forests? How is it changing over time? What can we understand about the      causes of these changes, particularly the impacts of our actions on these      changes?   We have been most fortunate in being joined by a capable and committed group of community partners who both help us with monitoring that we initiate and coordinate and in monitoring that they take full responsibility for.  We are continually challenged to find the right balance between investing as much time and effort in the work as we would like and not committing more to the work than we can afford.  To date our focus has been on designing, coordinating, and implementing the research with relatively little emphasis on analysis and presentation of results.  This is our first effort at assembling a comprehensive summary of our work and results.  Though it is simple and inevitably less complete than we would like, we hope that it is a valuable...

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Our Way in the Woods

Posted by on Oct 12, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Finding Our Way in the Woods   The forests teach us lessons – every day – if we’re paying attention.  Over the years I have noticed that there are certain aspects of forest work that are particularly rewarding and enjoyable, while others are just the opposite.  Paying attention to the underlying differences between the two I have concluded that work in the forest involves working with two, fundamentally different, systems – what I have come to call “up cycle” and “down cycle” systems.  What began as intellectual musings – helping the hours on the noisy wood splitter go by more quickly – has grown into a simple concept that provides central guidance to our silvacultural choices.  I am confident that others have already framed and articulated these concepts better than I, and I look forward to learning from them. From the day a chainsaw or a truck is first started it is headed downhill.  Though its functionality will hopefully remain high for some time, after initial break in, it will be on a downward slope toward eventual mechanical death.  Though the rate of decreased functionality will vary, the same is true of any non living item.  Noticing my own dimming eye sight, thinning hair, and waning strength, I realize that the same is true of any individual organism – following its initial increase in functionality through maturity.   But the forests have taught me that in the life of the family forester the inevitable frustrations of working with down cycle systems may be offset by the pleasures of working with up cycle systems.  I’m encouraged to find parts of the forests where in the place of declining functionality, productivity, value, and resilience, I see all four qualities on the rise.  The positive feelings that come for this realization invite me to explore further.   Looking more closely at different parts of the forest, and particularly areas where we have logged in recent years, I see that there are some sites where our choices have created definite down cycle conditions and others that are encouragingly up cycle.  The down cycle sites are ones where, if we take no action, the...

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Partners in Stewardship

Posted by on Oct 12, 2013 in Uncategorized |

Partners in Stewardship – The Intertwined Questions:  (12.22.10) A recent comment by an Oregon gubernatorial candidate caught my attention and stirred my thinking.  As part of his stump speech the candidate asserted that we should look on our state’s forestry and forest products economy not as a “sunsetting” activities but as a “sunrising” part of a better future.  While this came as encouraging news, I couldn’t help but ask myself “but how does he know?  What makes him so certain?”  It strikes me that the future, instead of being preordained and knowable, hinges on the choices we will make in the coming months and years; what future will we choose?  One way to frame our choices is to consider the following two pairs of questions.  As I assess Oregon’s forests and forestry – past, present, and future – I conclude that the question of whether we can turn the “sunset” around into a “sunrise” will be strongly shaped by how we answer these intertwined questions.   The Old Question – While many Oregonians are supportive of the logging choices of forest owners, regardless of the outcomes, a significant portion of Oregonians have, over recent decades, asked those who make logging decisions to modify their practices – will you stopping clear cutting? reduce the sizes of your clear cuts? Stop broad scale spraying of herbicides? Do more to maintain and enhance habitat….protect water… store carbon…?”. For the most part the response from forest decision makers has been ”No, given the economic pressures that we are under, we cannot afford to make those changes – even if we would like to”.  Over time, change has come, driven, in most cases, by the force of regulation.  In contrast the general trend, in all parts of the state there are forest owners who have responded, through their actions, “yes, we will experiment to see what changes might be possible”.  Before either of these group’s of forest decision makers answered, perhaps we should have asked a reciprocal question. The Reciprocal Question – The question that we should have asked, and those of us who did change continue to ask is: “If we do change,...

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