Fall 2005, Volume 6, No. 1
Table of Content
copy of this Newsletter is available here!
RTI Director's Notes
In 2000, RTI was created as a pilot project with the objective
of making technology more accessible to rural timber communities.
With new and more complex environmental regulations, there
was a growing concern whether small forest landowners and
forestry-based communities could stay economically viable
without access to technology that could help them.
By providing technology tools, workshops, publications,
presentations, and electronic delivery, RTI has helped rural
and extension services in Idaho, Montana,
Oregon, and Alaska to get funding for technology transfer
of research findings and the development of tools for more
immediate implementation in the field. We are confident that
we will gain the support of the other institutes in our five
state region as well as many rural communities and tribal
groups in each state.
The federal budgeting process has put a high priority on
being able to demonstrate the effectiveness of research and
the transfer of technology. In order for this new five state
effort to compete for funds in FY07, we need your help. Your
contacts with state policy makers and our federal delegation
will be the key to establishing a new PNW Regional Forestry
Technology Consortium modeled on RTI’s successes. The
voice of our rural community of users will have to be very
convincing. Letters on how you and your community have
find sustainable forestry solutions and has provided better
those developing policy. RTI was recognized with an award
for major contributions to the education of family forest
landowners and received a positive recommendation by a federal
review group that we were having a unique impact and should
regionalize our effort outside of Washington.
Unfortunately, despite our successful impact, RTI was not
included in the Interior Appropriation Bill for federal FY06,
which would have provided funds to RTI for 2006 & 2007.
The practical implication of this is that we must rapidly
reduce our outreach activities. We have already had to cancel
our upcoming training sessions, and this will be our last
newsletter for the foreseeable future.
During this transition, WSU Extension will continue Coached
Forest Stewardship Planning courses, and the Family Forest
Foundation has received funding to advance the development
of the family forest land parcel database. The expertise
brought together for RTI will be redirected to the timber
supply analysis update mandated by the 2005 Legislature.
We have already embarked on an effort to regionalize the
RTI concept, as recommended by the federal review group.
Our goal is to join with the universities
from RTI’s efforts will make the difference. Also look
on page 2 of this newsletter for how you can directly support
In the meantime, our staff continues to be involved as much
as possible in various projects for the benefit of the rural
communities in Washington. Kevin Zobrist reports on efforts
to broaden the scope of our management template process,
which has gained national attention through the National
Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry (NCSSF). Larry
Mason reports on a very successful Alder Symposium that RTI
co-sponsored in March. Larry also reports on the recent National
Indian Timber Symposium. RTI has enjoyed working with and
learning from a number of tribal foresters and had the privilege
of being invited to participate in this symposium.
Thank you all for past and continued involvement in RTI.
We look forward to serving and working with you in the future.
|Bruce Lippke, Director
Templates for Biodiversity and Economics in Intensively Managed
In 2004 RTI was awarded a grant by the National Commission
on Science for Sustainable Forestry (NCSSF) to investigate
management templates for combining biodiversity targets with
favorable economics in intensively managed private forests.
Intensively managed private forests are being increasingly
called upon to play a larger role in meeting habitat and biodiversity
goals. These forests can potentially make significant contributions
to such goals, but forest owners are also sensitive to economic
performance and are often under pressure to convert to more
profitable land uses. A key challenge for sustainable management
of these forests is balancing goals to support increased biodiversity
and other ecological functions with the long-term socio-economic
benefits derived from harvest activities.
RTI has developed a framework for creating management “templates” that
provide specific but flexible guidelines to help forest managers
successfully integrate achievement of ecological and economic
goals. This framework begins with identifying a stand structure
associated with ecological goals. A reference dataset is then
established using forest inventory data from stands that are
representative of the desired structure. A statistical targeting
and assessment procedure developed by RTI can then be used
to test whether or not a stand is structurally similar to the
reference dataset. This is a robust procedure that utilizes
multiple stand attributes, such as stand density and average
diameter, and incorporates natural variability. Finally, with
the help of forestry modeling
software like the Landscape Management
System (LMS), potential management pathways can be projected
over time and compared against the structure target as well
as economic performance metrics to identify strategies that
balance these objectives.
The RTI template framework was
initially developed as a tool to provide scientific support
for creating alternate plan templates for riparian areas
in Washington. The Forests and Fish Rules (FFR) were enacted
in Washington to provide greater protection for riparian
areas. These rules prescribe general riparian harvest restrictions,
but they also include provisions for site-specific alternate
plans that can be customized to achieve riparian protection
while ensuring economic viability. Templates are needed
to streamline the alternate plan process for common situations.
The desired riparian forest structure prescribed by the
FFR is that of a mature, unmanaged riparian forest, characterized
by large conifers to provide shade, large woody debris recruitment,
and other functions. Young, dense Douglas-fir stands are
a common situation for which an alternate plan would be appropriate.
Under the default prescriptions, thinning in riparian zones
is often not allowed or not economical. The absence of thinning
in young, dense stands can delay or preclude the development
of the desired mature forest structure, and the economic
impacts of the harvest restrictions can be significant for
many landowners. Using the framework described above, RTI
developed a draft template that utilizes repeated, heavy
thinnings to accelerate the development of the desired mature
forest structure in the riparian zone while also providing
economic returns for the landowner.
the support of the NCSSF grant, the riparian template was
further developed and tested and was shown to achieve good
results under a range of conditions. The applicability of
templates for other regions and management issues was then
examined, recognizing that the overall framework was not
limited to riparian management in the Pacific Northwest but
could be applied to other management issues and other regions.
To demonstrate the application for another region, an example
management template was developed for supporting increased
biodiversity in intensively managed loblolly pine plantations
in the South.
In southern forests, an open, park-like structure that supports
a rich, herbaceous understory is desirable for biodiversity.
This type of structure is characteristic of the fire-maintained
longleaf pine forests that were prevalent throughout the
South in pre-settlement times. Using a reference dataset
representative of these conditions, a template was created
that utilizes early and frequent thinning and prescribed
burning over a 55-year sawtimber rotation. Projections of
this template show it to be successful at achieving the desired
stand structure. The rotation is longer than is typically
the case in the South and while economic returns are not maximized,
they appear to be fairly competitive, providing a reasonable
balance of objectives. Low current
pulp prices make production
of higher-valued products over longer rotations more desirable,
and increased opportunities
for supplemental income from hunting leases may further
The example southern template demonstrates
that the RTI template framework can indeed be successfully
applied in other regions. This framework shows promise
a proactive approach to managing forests for multiple
objectives in a way that minimizes economic impacts, management
and the potential for unintended consequences.
The complete report on this study can be found in RTI
Working Paper #5, which is available on the RTI website
or as a hard copy upon request. Fact Sheets on the southern
template are available as well (RTI Fact Sheets #37 and
#38). Also available is a streaming
video version of a
presentation that was given in Washington, D.C. to several
groups, including the NCSSF Applications Workshop, staff
for the House Committee on Resources, Forests and Forest
Health, and the USDA Forest Service.
- Kevin Zobrist, RTI Staff -
(RTI Promotes Technology continued)
International Alder Symposium
Once considered a weed, red alder is increasingly recognized
as a premium commercial species unique to the Pacific Northwest.
This tree species has proven to be a renewable resource that
when manufactured into high quality products can be an attractive
and affordable alternative to exotic hardwoods from endangered
tropical rainforests. The rising price of alder logs is testimony
to the market’s recognition of its product value. Scientists
now know that alder also provides very important contributions
to the health of forest ecosystems by contributing nitrogen
to soils and organic matter to streams. It is no wonder that
forest managers now regard alder in a new light. Yet regional
changes that are affecting red alder management and utilization,
including advances in our understanding of ecology and silviculture,
market and non-market values, and the management implications
of current regulations may not be broadly understood.
On March 23-25, 2005, the University of Washington, College
of Forest Resources hosted the fourth symposium on red alder.
Previous symposiums were held in 1967, 1977, and 1992. The
International Alder Symposium brought together regional experts
for a critical examination of the economic, ecological, and
social values of red alder. The conference was attended by
more 170 people including representatives from educational
and research institutions, government agencies, private industry
and interested members of the public from the U. S. and Canada.
Activities included a one day field trip to view an alder
saw mill and alder plantations and two days of presentations
|More than 170 people
from the U.S. and Canada attended the International
Alder Symposium at the University of Washington March
The Rural Technology Initiative
has created streaming videos of all 45 presentations that are
available on the for viewing at 2005 Alder Symposium main page.
A special video that is also available entitled Western
Alder: It's worth more than you may think was created by
Dr. Grant Sharpe and Dr. Laury Istvan and features historical
images and chronicles the evolution of knowledge and opinion
in regards red alder. The entire proceedings from the Alder
Symposium are also available on DVD-ROM for a $10 handling
fee. To order, contact Clara Burnett at RTI office at (206)
543-0827 or email@example.com.
- Larry Mason, RTI Project Coordinator
Twenty-Ninth Annual National Indian Timber Symposium
The National Indian Timber Symposium is an annual conference
that brings together tribal and BIA foresters from throughout
the nation to discuss current issues that affect forest resource
management in Indian Country. The 2005 meeting was held on
June 6-9 in Visalia, California and was attended by representatives
of 59 tribes and tribal organizations that manage timber.
The symposium is organized by the Intertribal Timber Council
(ITC), which was established in 1976 to provide a forum for
promoting sound management of natural resources and tribal
enterprises to sustain Indian forests and dependent economies
in accordance with tribal goals and objectives. Each year
the symposium is hosted by a different tribe in a different
location. This year the Tule River Indian Tribe was the host.
The Tule River Indian Reservation, most of which is mountainous
terrain, comprises approximately 48,000 acres east of Porterville,
CA, in the foothills of the Sierras. Tule River is the only
reservation in the United States that has Sequoia trees on
its land. The people of Tule River graciously welcomed symposium
attendees and hosted a tour of their forestlands followed
by a dinner with performances by traditional drummers, dancers,
and singers. The primary objective of Tule River forest management
is the removal of understory trees to reduce fire risk to
Sequoias while creating jobs and generating revenue for the
The theme of the 2005 Indian Timber Symposium was “Tribal
Forest Resource Protection: Threats and Solutions”.
Presentations included talks on invasive species, utilization
of small diameter timber, biomass-to-energy from wood fiber,
forest fire issues, stewardship contracting, tribal stumpage,
tribal enterprises, and more. Each year high-achieving Native
American students are awarded scholarships from the Truman
D. Picard Scholarship Fund to further their educations in
natural resource management. This year 14 students received
|Giant Sequoias on
the Tule River Indian Reservation.
RTI staff members Kevin Ceder and Larry Mason presented
an introductory short course on the use of the Landscape
Management System (LMS) with tribal and BIA forest managers
attending from the Warm Springs, the Yakama, the Menomonee,
the Salish Kootenai, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and the
Stockbridge-Munsee Community. This is the second year that
RTI has had the honor of being invited to contribute to this
important symposium, and we are grateful to have been asked
to participate again in next year’s symposium, hosted
by the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks, AK (June 5-8,
2006). More information regarding the symposium and Indian
forest management is available from the Intertribal
Timber Council website.
- Larry Mason, RTI Project Coordinator -
Forest Management in Indian Country
Since the Rural Technology Initiative was established in
2000, RTI staff members have had the privilege of working
with many outstanding professional foresters from tribal
natural resource programs and the Bureau of Indian Affairs
towards meeting the technology transfer needs that are unique
to Indian country. For me this has been an opportunity to
renew old friendships, make new acquaintances, and learn
a tremendous amount about the complexities of sustainable
forestry on Native American lands. The hurdles faced by tribal
resource managers are on one hand different from those faced
by other private and public foresters, but on the other hand
can be viewed as a microcosm of larger societal challenges
replete with a diversity of opinions about how forests should
be managed. Yet tribal managers are uniquely accountable,
as tribal members rely on the management of their forests
for employment, economic development, cultural resources,
and healthy ecosystems. There is much to be learned from
an examination of tribal forest enterprises in the United
States and especially the Northwest where Indian nations
have become a significant component of the forest industry
There are approximately 18.5 million acres of Indian forestlands
on 287 reservations held in trust by the United States. The
Northwest region has the most productive tribal forests.
In 2001, tribal forests in the Northwest accounted for more
than 67% of the timber volume and more than 72% of the revenue
generated from harvests on all Indian forests in the United
States. Indian harvests in the Northwest have remained stable
at just under 400 MMBF/year (an annual harvest volume close
to that of the Washington Department of Natural Resources).
In contrast to current divesture of forestland assets by
many industrial forestland owners, tribes are increasing
reservation forests through purchases of allotments and non-Indian
lands and by reclamation of tribal titles. During the decade
from 1991 to 2001, tribal forestland acreage increased in
the United States by 2.1 million acres.
In addition to expanding their forest holdings, some tribes
have been investing in timber manufacturing enterprises.
For example, in Washington State, the Confederated Tribes
of the Colville Reservation operate a saw mill and a veneer
plant which currently provide 300 jobs, 80% of which are
held by Indians. The Yakama Nation operates two sawmills
with 320 employees, 92% of which are Indian. The economic
multipliers of Indian forest enterprises in Washington
ripple throughout the state with substantial benefits for
and non-native publics.
If sustainability is to be the national goal for forestry
in the 21st century, Native American successes in forest
management could provide valuable insight on how to move
beyond the resource conflicts of the last century.
Next month, a special issue of Evergreen Magazine, created
in partnership with the Intertribal Timber Council, will
be dedicated to Indian forestry in America. With articles
provided by 22 scientists and forestry professionals, this
80-page report will be a valuable contribution to the literature
on forestry in Indian Country. For more information, contact
Evergreen Magazine: www.evergreenmagazine.com or (406) 837-0966.
- Larry Mason, RTI Project Coordinator
Education website for forest and
The National Learning Center for Private Forest and Range
Landowners is a nationwide initiative providing web-based
education to landowners about sustainable natural resource
management. Through a free and easy to use website, www.forestandrange.org,
landowners from around the nation have access to interactive
modules and other activities where they can find valuable
information to help them manage their natural resources in
a more efficient and sustainable manner. Topics currently
include forest management, range management, wildlife management,
estate planning, post-fire restoration, and others. The site
is frequently updated with new topics. RTI will be contributing
a learning module on forest finance in the spring of 2006.
Due to the loss of funding for the RTI training
program, all LMS, GIS, and GPS trainings have been cancelled
Oct 11 - Dec 6, 2005
Forest Stewardship Coached Planning Shortcourse
For registration/information contact Andy Perleberg, WSU
Extension, at (360) 428-4270 or andypwsu.edu
December 3, 2005
2005 Fall Forestry Education Seminar: Introduction to Small-Scale
Pack Forest, Eatonville, WA
For registration information contact Donna Loucks, Lewis
County Farm Forestry Association, at 360-736-2147 or loucksdlocalaccess.com
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Readers may send comments to:
Editor, RTI News
University of Washington
College of Forest Resources
Rural Technology Initiative
Seattle, WA 98195-2100