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National Forest Planning and NFMA Requirements


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An evaluation of potential impacts of 2005 Planning Rule on forest planning and models.

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National Forest Planning and NFMA Requirements

  1. 1. National Forest Planning and NFMA Requirements Karl R. Walters
  2. 2. Purpose of Study <ul><li>Forest Service recently released new planning rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do these changes in the rules mean? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will the changes make a difference? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the implications for modelers? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Why is this important? <ul><li>National Forest Planning bogged down </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time and expense has become exorbitant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisions required every 10-15yrs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On some forests, taking almost that long </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New rules to reduce time to develop plans </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less litigation, more implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on sustainable forest management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forest health is a major goal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NFMA (1976) and NPLMA (1976) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple use-sustained yield concept still applies </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Why is this important? <ul><li>What if the Forest Plan isn’t implemented? </li></ul><ul><li>Harvests are significantly lower than allowable across most Regions </li></ul><ul><li>Catastrophic insect & fire damage common </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fire suppression costs increasing yearly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do more with less </li></ul><ul><li>Increased mandates (fire protection on non-Federal land) </li></ul><ul><li>Budgets are being cut, not increased </li></ul>
  5. 5. Highlights of the New Rule <ul><li>Planning framed in EMS (ISO 14001) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides standards for management process, reporting, etc, across NFS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Streamlined planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2-3 yr process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More internalized evaluation of alternatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public comment on the proposed plan rather than a variety of alternatives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allowable sale quantity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Still subject to LTSY constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viewed as an upper bound only on timber sales </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Implications <ul><li>Auditing for compliance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EMS requires regular measurement of actions against the plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to do what you say you’re going to do </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sustained yield – sustainable management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which is it? NFMA requirements at odds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Planning models </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Smaller, simpler models to determine capacities, interactions, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spatially explicit to consider smaller scale effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One final, detailed model for public comment </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Contrived Planning Problem <ul><li>~ 300,000 ac </li></ul><ul><li>Ponderosa pine dominated landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Major concerns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forest fires, mountain pine beetle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining historical range of variability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More dispersed age classes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Greater presence of aspen and hardwoods </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Example Forest - Covertype
  9. 9. Example Forest – Age distribution
  10. 10. Example Forest – Inholdings
  11. 11. Example Forest – Age Class Distribution
  12. 12. Current Conditions – Fire Risk
  13. 13. Current Conditions – Structural Stage
  14. 14. The Model <ul><li>Goal programming formulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize deviations from goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>75% of area in wildland urban interface and 1 mile buffer in low or low-moderate fire hazard rating </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain proportions of structural stages within key management areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perform minimum acres of aspen and oak restoration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintain minimum habitat acres in critical management area </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Base Run Results <ul><li>Total Sale Program Quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Subject to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nondeclining yield (NDY) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LTSYC-NDY link </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perpetual timber harvest constraint </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forest inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Generally increases </li></ul><ul><li>Goal achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Generally under-achieve </li></ul>
  16. 16. Current Conditions – Structural Stage
  17. 17. DFC (Planned) – Structural Stage
  18. 18. Current Conditions – Fire Risk
  19. 19. DFC (Planned) – Fire Risk
  20. 20. Current Conditions – Structural Stage
  21. 21. DFC (Planned) – Structural Stage
  22. 22. DFC (Implemented) – Structural Stage
  23. 23. Current Conditions – Fire Risk
  24. 24. DFC (Planned) – Fire Risk
  25. 25. DFC (Implemented) – Fire Risk
  26. 26. Is Sustainable Yield Sustainable? <ul><li>NFMA requires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sale quantity < long-term sustained yield </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Departures from NDY ok if consistent with multiple-use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New rule makes ASQ an upper bound only </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But what if forest health suffers because of NFMA requirements? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Luckert & Williamson (2005) question SY in the context of Sustainable Forest Management </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. No NFMA constraints <ul><li>Sale Quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Large variations </li></ul><ul><li>Inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Marginal decrease relative to Base </li></ul><ul><li>Goal achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Better achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Higher forage production </li></ul>
  28. 28. DFC (Base) – Structural Stage
  29. 29. DFC (No NFMA) – Structural Stage
  30. 30. DFC (Planned) – Fire Risk
  31. 31. DFC (No NFMA) – Fire Risk
  32. 32. Model Attributes <ul><li>Example is a typical monolithic model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Model II formulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13 landscape themes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>42 trillion potential development types </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2055 defined at start </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>42 yield components </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal programming formulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Goals used because constraint set infeasible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Constraints specified in isolation with no testing for compatibility or feasibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big and slow </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Discussion <ul><li>Backlog of NF’s requiring Plan revisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Litigation has hampered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Development of plans </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Implementation of plans </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>New rule implies a disconnect between harvests and other outputs (ASQ = ceiling) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot use silviculture to achieve vegetation management goals if you don’t implement it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With reduced budgets, how will vegetation management be funded without a timber program? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SAF advocates use of silviculture on NF’s </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Discussion <ul><li>Sustained yield and sustainable forest management seem to be at odds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Timber production facilitates improving forest structure but is limited by SY laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-timber benefits require vegetation management and silviculture is best option </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to improve forest conditions is hampered </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Discussion <ul><li>Large scale models to address multiple goals often don’t work well </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex and hard to interpret </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constraints and objectives are often conflicting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developed in isolation from each other </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Yields/prescriptions often out-of-sync with overall objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using treatments developed to produce timber to effect fire risk reduction </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Discussion <ul><li>Use multiple small models to look at issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine which objectives conflict and which ones complement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on real trade-offs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine reasonable range of values </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Finally, create a smaller, tightly focused model representing a single alternative </li></ul>
  37. 37. FORSight Resources, LLC World-Class Natural Resource Decision Support