PROGRAMS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Cascade Head Experimental Forest was established
in 1934 and covers 4814 ha (11,890 ac) of coastal headland prairies and
forests on and to the east of Cascade Head, approximately 16 km (10 mi)
north of Lincoln City. In 1974 the western half of the experimental forest
was combined with the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area, which extends
south of the headland to include the Salmon River estuary. The Area was
designated a Biosphere Reserve as part of the United Nations Man and the
Biosphere Reserve system in 1980. The experimental forest is managed by
the Pacific Northwest Research Station, but research on the forest has
been conducted and funded by a variety of state and federal government
agencies and universities. Facilities at Cascade Head include housing for
up to 20 researchers and a meteorological station in continuous operation
since 1936. Ecosystem types within the Experimental Forest include: headland
prairie, Sitka spruce-western hemlock (Picea sitchensis-Tsuga
heterophylla) forest, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest,
riparian hardwood forest, and salt-water estuary.
Early studies at Cascade Head were descriptive in nature and examined the life history characteristics of native trees, the basic relationships between vegetation and climate, and the growth and yield of Sitka spruce-western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and red alder stands. Of the original plots established in the mid-1930s, 12 of the growth-and-yield plots and 5 of the red alder plots are still part of active studies. Studies from the late 1940s through the 1960s were primarily manipulative, consisting primarily of trials of different commercial harvest techniques, including staggered-setting clearcuts, progressive strip clearcuts, shelterwood, and several types of thinning. Regeneration, wind damage, logging costs, and logging damage were examined on most sites. Current activities at Cascade Head include studies of forest ecosystem dynamics, autecology of individual wildlife and plant species, decomposition of coarse woody debris, soil microbial studies, nutrient cycling, saltmarsh restoration, and applied forestry studies of harvest techniques and species mixes. A comprehensive bibliography of published research conducted at Cascade Head between 1934-1990 has been compiled (Greene and Blinn 1991).
There are eight designated or proposed Research Natural
Areas in the AMA. Research Natural Areas (RNAs) are dedicated to: 1) preserve
examples of significant ecosystems in a pristine state for comparison with
those influenced by humans, 2) provide areas for educational activities
and ecological research, and 3) preserve gene pools of native species.
A recent publication listed all past and current research in RNAs (Greene
et al. 1986). The RNAs within the AMA are listed roughly by location from
west to east:
Neskowin Crest RNA is a 482 ha (1,190 ac) area established in 1941 as an example of Sitka spruce-western hemlock forest on the ocean front. Forty-four 0.1 ha (0.25 ac) permanent tree plots were established systematically along transects within the RNA in 1979. Neskowin Crest RNA is on the coast within the USFS Cascade Head Experimental Forest. A guidebook describing topography, environment, vegetation communities, and species lists is available (Greene 1982).
Reneke Creek RNA is a 194 ha (480 ac) coastal watershed with two matched perennial streams dominated by red alder, surrounded by a mature Sitka spruce forest type and containing a continuous 1st to 3rd order stream system. Reneke Creek is managed by the USFS and is located near the Sand Lake estuary, just east of the community of Tierra Del Mar.
Sand Lake RNA is a 98 ha (241 ac) area established in 1995 which contains an unstabilized sand dune grassland system, associated mature Sitka spruce-western hemlock forest, and a continuous 1st to 3rd order stream system. This RNA is managed by the USFS and is approximately 2 km (1.5 mi) northwest of the town of Sand Lake.
Saddleback Mountain RNA is a 12 ha area (surrounded by a 43 ha protective buffer) (29 and 106 ac, respectively) which contains an isolated population of old-growth Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis), western hemlock, and scattered noble fir (Abies procera). A rare plant study (of Scolipus hallii) has been conducted by the BLM and monitoring and management proposals have been developed by Oregon State University students. This RNA is managed by the BLM and is approximately 8 km (5 mi) east of Rose Lodge.
High Peak-Moon Creek RNA is a 618 ha (1,526 ac) area established in 1984 to represent a variety of mature Douglas-fir/western hemlock and riparian hardwood forest communities with scattered old-growth Douglas-fir trees. Studies of two rare plants (Scolipus hallii and Poa marcida) have been conducted in this RNA by the BLM. This RNA is managed by the BLM and is approximately 6 km (4 mi) north of Blaine.
Little Sink RNA is a 32 ha (80 ac) area established to represent a variety of plant communities associated with geologically unstable slumps, beaver ponds, and mature Douglas-fir forest with scattered old-growth trees. A guidebook (Hawk 1974) and a plant inventory conducted by a Western Oregon State College professor are available. This RNA is managed by the BLM and is approximately 3 km (2 mi) south of Falls City. A guidebook describing topography, environment, vegetation communities, and species lists is available (Hawk 1974).
Forest Peak RNA is a 54 ha (134 ac) area established in 1990 to represent mature valley-margin Douglas-fir and grassy bald plant communities and a continuous 1st to 3rd order stream system. A BLM inventory of the site has been conducted. It is managed by the BLM and is located approximately 13 km (8 mi) north of Corvallis.
The Butte RNA is a 16 ha (40 ac) area which
provides an example of mixed valley-margin stands dominated by young and
old Douglas-fir and Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana). Studies
comparing old and young trees and edge effects on plant communities have
been conducted by a Linfield College professor. This RNA is managed by
the BLM and is located approximately 13 km (8 mi) west of McMinnville.
A guidebook describing topography, environment, vegetation communities,
and species lists is available (Greene and Scofield 1990).
Additional information about Forest Service RNAs is available from Sarah Greene at the Forestry Sciences Lab, 3200 W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis OR 97331; for BLM RNAs contact Ron Exeter at BLM Oregon Salem District Office at 1717 Fabry Rd. SE, Salem OR 97306. The BLM maintains reports of research done in RNAs on file at the District Office.
McDonald/Dunn Research Forest is a 4,650 ha (11,500 ac) area located in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range approximately 10 km (6 mi) north of Corvallis. The Research Forest is owned by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and is managed by the College of Forestry at Oregon State University (OSU). The forest is actively managed to provide teaching, research and demonstration opportunities for students, forest managers and Oregonians, as well as provide income to the College. Past management focused on clearcutting and prompt regeneration with Douglas-fir, while more recent projects include studies of wildlife and aesthetic values of different thinning and harvesting techniques, including shelterwood and group selection cuts. Current plans call for three distinct forest management themes on the forest: even-aged, two-storied, and uneven-aged, as well as protection of existing old-growth stands. Peavy Arboretum is currently being developed to provide examples of all of the major ecological zones found in Oregon.
The George T. Gerlinger State Experimental Forest
is a 460 ha (1,150 ac) area in the eastern foothills of the coast range
approximately 16 km (10 mi) southwest of Dallas. The Experimental Forest
is owned by the Oregon State Department of Forestry; research on the 200
ha (500 ac) Black Rock area of the Forest is directed by the Department
of Forest Science of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.
Research began on the Black Rock forest in 1952 with commercial thinning
tests in 40 year old Douglas-fir stands. Replicated studies were expanded
in 1957 and now total 64 plots. In addition to studies of growth and yield
of Douglas-fir under different thinning regimes, research on understory
vegetation, seed production, tree regeneration, nutrient cycling, microclimate,
and disease development has been conducted.
COPE is intended to provide resource managers and the public with information on management of fish, timber, water, wildlife, and other resources of the Oregon Coast Range. It is a cooperative effort among the College of Forestry at OSU, the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW), the Biological Division of the US Geological Service (formerly the National Biological Service), the BLM, the Siuslaw National Forest, other federal and state agencies, forest industry, county and city governments, and the Oregon Small Woodlands Association. COPE scientists focus on basic and applied problems related to riparian-zone management and the regeneration of Oregon Coast Range forests. Specific topics include slope stability, fish and wildlife habitat needs, stream restoration methods, tree establishment and growth in riparian areas, and response of tree plantations to thinning. Results of studies are conveyed in regular conferences, field trips, newsletters, and scientific articles; a bibliography has been published (COPE 1994). COPE was initiated in 1987 and is scheduled to end in autumn, 1998. A book synthesizing research results is in progress.
CFER was initiated in 1995 among the Oregon BLM,
the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center of the USGS Biological
Resources Division, and the OSU Colleges of Forestry and Agricultural Sciences.
The intent of the program is to facilitate ecosystem management in the
Pacific Northwest, with priority on meeting BLM information needs in western
Oregon. The framework is intended to allow flexibility to address short-term
research needs within the context of long-term studies. Three emphasis
areas directly related to mandates in the NWFP are: determining how biodiversity
of young forest stands develops under managed and natural conditions, determining
appropriate buffers and management approaches in and around riparian areas
to meet conservation strategies, and assessing habitat needs and protection
requirements for rare species (those with "survey and manage" status under
Although not part of the formal research infrastructure, there are a great number of unplanned "experiments" already in place which provide great learning opportunities for retrospective studies. The primary advantage of these opportunities over new studies is that they're already installed (thus no associated costs) and time has passed to assess long-term effects. For example, there are adjacent areas on Mt. Hebo which by happenstance were treated differently after wildfire, including naturally regenerated, planted with Douglas-fir, and planted with western redcedar. Several opportunities for retrospective studies in the AMA have already been identified (Figure 10, Thomas et al. 1993); contact Andrew Gray (Forestry Sciences Lab, 3200 W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis OR 97331) for the database of site characteristics and locations.
Local schools and colleges represent an important
resource for learning in the AMA, by providing classes, books, and journals
for public, managers, and researchers, and by providing students and/or
faculty to participate in structured learning activities (monitoring exercises
and/or research) that provide information to managers and provide new learning
for participants. The rural and coastal portions of the AMA contain 11
school districts and over 15 private schools (Leonard 1997). The BLM and
USFS have been regularly involved in a variety of educational activities
with local schools and communities (USDI Bureau of Land Management and
USDA Forest Service 1997, Appendix G); perhaps some activities could also
be structured to develop new information.
Colleges and Universities in and near the AMA include Tillamook Bay Community College (Tillamook), Oregon Coast Community College (Newport), Chemeketa Community College (Salem), Western Oregon University (Monmouth), Oregon State University (Corvallis), Pacific University (Forest Grove), and Linfield College (McMinnville). Faculty and students from several of these institutions have been conducting research and taking field trips in the northern Coast Range for many years.