This project addressed potential contributions of forest thinning to enhancing biodiversity and accelerating development of old-growth characteristics in relatively young Douglas-fir forests typical of those managed according to the Northwest Forest Plan. Studies focused primarily on 32 paired unthinned and thinned stands and 20 associated old-growth stands in the Coast Range and Cascade mountains of western Oregon. Data were collected on vascular plants in most stands surveyed, and on epiphytic lichens and bryophytes, moths, and birds in subsets of these stands. Studies assessed whether or not (1) communities of organisms differed among stand types, (2) communities in thinned stands were more similar to those in old-growth stands than were those in unthinned stands, (3) species diversity or abundance was related to specific stand features, and (4) these specific stand features were shared across taxa. Results indicated that communities differed among stand types, and that communities in thinned stands were not necessarily more similar to old-growth communities than were those in unthinned stands. Variation in stand conditions appeared to enhance biodiversity, and hardwood trees and shrubs were important for many species. These and other results form the basis for general thinning guidelines, which are presented here, and will guide future research.
Additional publication details
Federal Government Series
Managing for biodiversity in young Douglas-fir forests of western Oregon