Over the past century, fire suppression and prevention have altered disturbance regimes across the Pacific Northwest, resulting in a significant divergence of historical and current conditions in forested habitats. To address this continuing trend in habitat changes and begin restoring historical patterns of disturbance, the Clearwater Basin Elk Habitat Initiative (CEI) proposes relatively extensive management actions in the Clearwater basin of north-central Idaho. We attempted to evaluate potential effects of such management actions on selected wildlife species using extant data sets and suggest ways to improve such projects with respect to a multispecies and adaptive management approach. Although there is increased interest in ecosystem management over large areas, the increased scale of analysis and implementation require a substantial increase in the level of species information beyond what currently exists. We conclude that baseline information required for an effective multispecies land-management policy in the Clearwater basin does not exist for many terrestrial wildlife species. To implement a true multispecies or ecosystem approach, wildlife and land managers should cooperate to increase existing population data and modeling efforts for wildlife species in the basin and develop a sustainable monitoring program to evaluate habitat management changes and their influence on wildlife populations within the context of adaptive management theory. Management actions to restore disturbance patterns should attempt spatial and temporal scales that are biologically relevant to the population ecology of species being affected. ?? 2004 by the Society of American Foresters.
Additional publication details
Habitat restoration across large areas: Assessing wildlife responses in the Clearwater basin, Idaho