The Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy

SOFRC and stakeholders have developcollaborativeed a Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy (Strategy) that integrates wildfire risk mitigation with ecological health. The Strategy demonstrates the goals and components of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy as well as goals established in the Rogue Basin Climate Action Plan for Resilient Forests and Watersheds in a Changing Climate. Using the best available science, we describe vegetation, fuels, high value resources and assets (HVRA), access and yarding capabilities, and identified no-treatment zones across 4.6 million acres. We modeled fire probability and intensity across the basin, and through workshops with stakeholders collaboratively identified and mapped HVRA’s and their likely response to wildfire. These data were used to strategically design treatments and as a baseline to evaluate different management scenarios.

Treatment placement was optimized with Landscape Treatment Designer (LTD), balancing five objectives 1) mitigating local fire community risk, 2) mitigating large wildfire community risk, 3) addressing landscape resilience measured as the proportion of seral states relative to the natural range of variability, 4) protecting existing and promoting future Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) habitat, and 5) promoting fire resistance in climate resilient settings.

The Strategy applies four treatment themes: Ecological Resilience, Fuel Management, Long-range Complex Habitat, and Near-range Complex Habitat. Each theme sets target densities and stand structures specified by forest type and seral state. The basin-wide assessment suggests 2.1 million acres are available and accessible to accomplish treatment objects, all within ½ mile of an existing road system. Application of the treatment themes to the available and accessible federal lands (USFS and BLM) would treat 1.1 million acres to increase ecological integrity and reduce fire risk, and generate an estimated 2.1 billion board feet of restoration byproduct. We have identified 15 potential treatment areas, ranked them, and evaluated objectives among projects. The results weigh the five objective functions for projects on federal lands evenly, and an all lands strategy including private and public lands. As we move forward in our work, objective function weightings will be refined and we will generate 120 project areas ranging in size from 8,000-12,000 treated acres across the available landscape.