The Concept of Adaptive Management

The federal land management agencies have long operated under a philosophy that sought what were called "best management practices". These practices were selected from an array of options, based on available science and the experience of managers. Standards and guidelines were then developed to direct how the "best" practices were to be applied across the landscape. The results were monitored (though monitoring was often a weak link in the system) and the practices were continued until some unexpected, unacceptable result caused the managers to alter them or develop new ones. Learning occurred, albeit slowly and unsystematically.

The core idea of adaptive management is to accelerate the rate at which we learn from experience--so that appropriate adjustments to our management practices can be made more quickly. Learning is the principal product of adaptive management, and is considered a resource of value equal to, or even greater than, other outputs of management. Because we must manage resources under circumstances that contain varying degrees of uncertainty, all of the effects of any management action are never fully known; as a result, all such actions are in a sense experimental.

To accelerate the rate of learning from these management "experiments," partnerships of land managers, scientists, and citizens are designing sets of management actions to apply--principally in the Adaptive Management Areas, but also on other public lands in the region. The selected strategies are applied on the landscape at a variety of scales, the effects of the actions are predicted by all members of the partnerships, and the appropriate variables are monitored over time to see if the predicted outcomes were near the mark. What variables will be monitored--and how--is included in the original design, and the monitoring is focused on the learning objectives of the Northwest Forest Plan.

The three-way partnership has multiple benefits: it combines on-the-ground knowledge of the land managers, the scientific knowledge and methods of the scientists, and the local knowledge of the citizen-owners of the public forests. The partnership also taps into the ideas, values, and creativity of all three. Answers to some management questions will require traditional, rigorous, controlled science experiments; having scientists in the partnership will help identify such questions and how the experiments can be designed to answer them. Other questions may be explored by more general management studies. Some types of experiments might not be implementable under the AMA guidelines, but cooperative studies might be initiated with private land owners interested in answering the same sorts of questions.

Some techniques will work better than others; in fact, if an adequate range of techniques is applied, we would expect that some will probably fail to achieve our objectives. Successful application of adaptive management includes the need to take risks--and to learn from both our "failures" and our "successes." Learning, the cornerstone of adaptive management, provides the motivation needed to change standards and guidelines where necessary, and to adjust policies and management activities as needed to better manage complex ecosystems.



Harvest Projections

As stated in chapter 4, the AMAs are expected to continue to produce a harvest of timber. Estimates of long-term yield for the three management units in the North Coast AMA are presented in chapter 5. Tables 7, 8, and 9 display short-term timber sale plans for the Hebo Ranger District, the Marys Peak Resource Area, and the Tillamook Resource area.

U.S. Forest Service, Hebo Ranger District

Table 7. Short Term Harvest Projections: Siuslaw National Forest - Hebo Ranger District

Fiscal year 
Sale Name
Stand Description
Burnt Flat Thinning  Off-site stands 
Hiack Thinning  Young managed stands
Upper Drift Thinning  Young managed stands 
Fiscal year totals 
Upper Niagara Thinning  Off-site stands  150  3.3
Alder Treatment  75  1.3
Little Nestucca Thinning  Young managed stands 
Fiscal year totals  525  7.0
Burnt Last Thinning  Off-site stands  200  4.0
Alder Treatment  90  1.6
Lower Drift Thinning  Young managed stands  300  2.5
Fiscal year totals  590  8.1
Hebo Remains Thinning  Off-site stands  120  2.4
Alder Treatment  90  1.6
Salmon River Thinning  Young managed stands  260  1.8
00 Miscellaneous sales Natural regeneration stands  160  1.1
Fiscal year totals  630  6.9
Alder Treatment  90  1.6
Devil's Lake Thinning  Young managed stands  600  4.2
01 Miscellaneous stands Natural regeneration stands  160  1.4
Fiscal year totals  850  7.2

Bureau of Land Management, Marys Peak Resource Area

Table 8 identifies the short-term harvest for the Marys Peak portion of the AMA. The specific projects identified for fiscal years 1996 and 1997 will provide enough timber volume to meet the Probable Sale Quantity (PSQ) that was developed for the full decade 1994-2003. Additional projects are anticipated for 1998, 1999, and 2000, but are not yet identified.

Table 8. Short-term harvest projections - Marys Peak Resource Area

Fiscal year 
Sale Name
Management Allocation
Sand Creek Density Management  AMA  75  1.78
Callahan Cr. Density Management  AMA  145  2.10
LSR/AMA  85  0.747
LSR/AMA  85  0.747
LSR/AMA  85  0.747

Bureau of Land Management, Tillamook Resource Area

Table 9 displays short-term harvest projections for Tillamook. Acres and volumes for 1996 and 1997 are more definite than those for 1998. The figures for 1999 and 2000 are projected targets.

Table 9. Short-term harvest projections - Tillamook Resource Area

Fiscal Year 
Sale Name
Management Allocation
Rye Mtn. Density Management  AMA/LSR  123  1.50
Phoenix Density Management  AMA/LSR  54  1.00
Fiscal year totals  177  2.50
Neverstill Density Management  AMA/LSR  140  1.10
Elkhead/Bear Cr. Density Mgt.  AMA/LSR  400  3.20
Patchy Panther Salvage  AMA  30  1.05
Fiscal year totals  570  5.35
Stoned Gopher Thinning  AMA  75  0.90
Spotted Panther Density Mgt.  AMA  75  0.90
Cooper's Creation Density Mgt.  AMA/LSR  159  1.90
Fiscal year totals  309  3.70
AMA and LSR/AMA  309  3.54
AMA and LSR/AMA  309  3.54

Several types of variables will affect the harvest estimates contained in the timber sale plans for each management unit:

(1) The actual amount of timber offered will vary from the estimates as environmental analysis is carried out and detailed surveys of project areas are conducted.

(2) Annual sale volumes may have to be less than the estimates because of reduced agency work force.

(3) The projected sale program may change if higher priority projects are recommended in upcoming watershed analysis of specific basins.

(4) The sale program will also be adjusted annually to fit with Siuslaw National Forest and BLM programs of work. That is, some years harvest in the AMA will be more than the estimated long-range sale quantities and in other years less.



Special Areas in the AMA


Special areas in the AMA include Research Natural Areas (RNAs), Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs), and the Cascade Head Experimental Forest and Scenic-Research Area.

Research Natural Areas have been designated on both National Forest and BLM-administered lands for primarily scientific and educational purposes. Specifically, RNAs are intended to

There are eight RNAs within the AMA: five administered by the Bureau of Land Management and three administered by the Forest Service.

Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) are designated on BLM-administered lands to provide special management attention for important botanical, geological, archaeological, paleontological, or scenic resources, or to address natural hazards. Some ACECs are also designated as RNAs, and others as Outstanding Natural Areas (ONAs).

Research Natural Areas


Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (Those which are also RNAs are listed above)


Cascade Head Experimental Forest

The Experimental Forest, located on a prominent headland on the Pacific Ocean north of Lincoln City, was established by the Forest Service in 1934 to represent typical Sitka spruce-western hemlock forests found along the Oregon Coast. An active research program, managed by the Pacific Northwest Research Station, has been ongoing in this 11,980-acre forest ever since. Numerous long-term studies begun in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are still active today.

In 1974, Congress established the Cascade Head Scenic-Research Area, which includes the western half of the experimental forest, the Salmon River estuary, and contiguous private lands. This designation added several grassy coastal headlands and the estuary to the mature forest ecosystems already part of the experimental forest. The result has been a more diverse set of habitats available for research on coastal ecosystems.

Together the Cascade Head Experimental Forest and Scenic-Research Area ensure the protection and encourage the study of significant areas; promote more sensitive relations between people and their environment; and provide present and future generations with the use and enjoyment of an area of diverse beauty. The area was designated a Biosphere Reserve as part of the United Nations Man and the Biosphere Reserve system in 1980.



Communities of the Northern Coast Range AMA


Following is a summary of the various types of communities in the AMA. These lists will be expanded as other communities are identified.

Communities of Place

Tribal governments

Cities and towns and rural communities within the AMA boundary:

Benton County:
        Kings Valley            Hoskins

Lincoln County:
        Devil's Lake            Kernville                  Lincoln City
        Neotsu                     Oretown                   Otis
        Rose Lodge             Siletz

Polk County:
        Falls City                 Grand Ronde            Pedee

Tillamook County:
        Bay City                    Beaver                     Blaine
        Cape Meares            Cloverdale               Garibaldi
        Hebo                          Lee's Camp            Neskowin
        Netarts                     Oceanside                Oretown
        Pacific City                Pleasant Valley      Tierra del Mar

Washington County:

Yamhill County:
        Carlton                      Wapato                    Willamina

Cities and towns and rural communities near, but outside the AMA boundary:

        Corvallis                  Dallas                        Depoe Bay
        Forest Grove          McMinnville              Newport
        Salem                      Sheridan                     Toledo

Communities of Interest

Environmental organizations
        Oregon Chapter Sierra Club
        Oregon Natural Resources Council
        Audubon Society
        Coast Range Association
        Native Plant Society

Industry and logger groups
        Oregon Forest Products Transportation Assoc.
        Association of Oregon Loggers, Inc.
        Oregon Reforestation Contractors Association

Local watershed councils
        Nestucca Watershed Council
        Netarts Watershed Council
        Yamhill Basin Council
        Tillamook Bay National Estuary Council

Community-based action groups
        North Coast Ecosystem Work Force Initiative (Jobs in the Woods)
        Local Community Based Partnerships
        Soil and Water Conservation Districts
        Patterson Creek Pals

Special interest advocacy groups
        Northwest Steelheaders
        Friends of Walker Creek Wetlands

Recreational groups
        Hiking groups
        Off-highway vehicle groups
        Applegate Rough Riders Motorcycle Club
        Northwest Trail and Sand Patrol

Non Public institutions and organizations
        Civic groups
        Fraternal organizations
        Local educational and school groups

Special forest products groups
        Moss collectors
        Special forest products collectors
        Special forest product buyers



Sources of Funding and Assistance

The following types of agreements, grants, and cooperative programs have been used or are currently in use in the AMA:

Challenge Cost-Share Agreements are authorized under the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1992. The Act authorizes the Forest Service to cooperate with other parties to develop, plan, and implement projects that are beneficial to the parties and that enhance Forest Service activities. Projects can be financed with matching funds from cooperators. Cooperators may be public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals (Forest Service Manual, 1587.12).

Collection Agreement is an instrument to accept money, equipment, property, or products from a nonfederal party to carry out a purpose authorized by law. These agreements may involve both trust fund collections (advances) and reimbursements. The following federal laws authorize the Forest Service to enter into these agreements (Forest Service Manual 1584):

Cooperative Agreements and Grants are the instruments used to transfer money, property, services, or anything of value to a recipient to support or stimulate activities for the public good. Law enforcement agreements are joint ventures between the agency and local governments, to enforce state and local laws on public lands administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (Forest Service Manual 1581, BLM Handbook 1511-1).

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements are authorized under the Federal Technology Transfer Act. This Act authorizes the Forest Service, where appropriate, to transfer federally owned or originated technology to state and local governments and to the private sector. The Act authorizes an agreement between one or more federal laboratories and one or more nonfederal parties under which the Forest Service, provides personnel, services, facilities, equipment, or other resources with or without reimbursement. This Act does not authorize transfer of funding by the Forest Service to nonfederal parties. The nonfederal parties may provide funds, personnel, services, facilities, equipment, and other resources toward the conduct of specified research and development projects that are consistent with the mission of the Forest Service (Forest Service Manual 1587.14).

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements for the Department of Interior have been managed by the National Biological Service.

Interagency and Intraagency Agreements deal with other federal agencies. An interagency agreement is used when one federal agency is in a position to provide materials, supplies, equipment, work, or services of any kind that another agency needs to accomplish its mission. Intraagency agreements may be used when one District or Resource Area is in a position to provide materials, supplies, equipment, work, or services of any kind to another District or Area to accomplish its mission (Forest Service Manual 1585, BLM Manual 5010).

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is the instrument used for a written plan between the Federal government and other parties for carrying out their separate activities in a coordinated and beneficial manner and for documenting a framework for cooperation. A letter of intent may be used in place of a MOU, only when the activities involve a foreign government and the foreign government will not accept the title of MOU to document a framework for cooperation. Memoranda of Understanding and letters of intent are not fund-obligating documents and cannot be used when the intent is to exchange funds, property, services, or anything of value. Under a MOU or letter of intent each party directs its own activities and uses its own resources (Forest Service Manual 1586, BLM Manual 1786).

Jobs in the Woods

 The North Coast Ecosystem Work Force Initiative has launched eight demonstration projects in Oregon, designed to link dislocated timber workers with ecosystem restoration work. The projects are part of Jobs in the Woods, a program created by the Clinton administration as part of the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative.

The North Coast Ecosystem Workforce Demonstration Project is largely based on community partnerships and an ability to form alliances with local, private, and public organizations. Management Training Corporation (MTC), a Tillamook based business, is an example of a private sector partner bringing crucial components to the project. The Corporation acts as the general project manager and provides classroom training. Another example of private-sector participation is the project employer of record, Pierce, Inc. Pierce is a local employment contractor working with MTC to hire the project workers.

Partners in the North Coast Ecosystem Workforce Project include:

The North Coast Ecosystem Workforce, which began operating in May 1995, employs 13 dislocated timber workers in year-round ecosystem-management jobs. The workers earn a family wage plus benefits. They receive one day of classroom education for every four days of field work. The training is a curriculum provided through various education partners in Oregon. Workers completed more than $700,000 worth of ecosystem restoration projects on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service administered lands during the first year of the program. Some projects have been completed on state and private lands in the North Coast region.

The Bureau of Land Management, Tillamook Resource Area, and the Forest Service, Hebo Ranger District, have packaged projects normally let as one-to-three week contracts to create a year-long program that requires a wide diversity of ecosystem enhancement skills. These projects include stand exams, density management in young stands, management of competing vegetation in plantations, animal damage management, plantation pruning projects, culvert inventory and marking, culvert downspout installation, creation of wildlife trees, riparian area underplanting, and road decommissioning.

Contracting workshops

The Tillamook Bay Community College Small Business Development Center, in cooperation with federal and state agencies, presents an annual one-day workshop on "Securing U.S. Government and State Agency contracts." The workshops present an overview of how businesses can access contracts with the following agencies: Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Department of Administrative Services, and the Government Contracts Acquisition Program (GCAP). Graduates of the Jobs-in-the-Woods program are encouraged to attend.

Knutson-Vandenberg Act

Another avenue available to finance activities on National Forest System lands is through the Knutson-Vandenberg Act (K-V) of June 9, 1930, as amended by the National Forest Management Act of October 22, 1976. This Act is the authority for requiring purchasers of National Forest timber to make deposits to finance sale-area-improvement activities to protect and improve the future productivity of the renewable resources of forest lands within timber sale areas. Activities include operations to improve conditions on the timber sale area, maintenance and construction for restoration, timber stand improvement, and other improvements related to range, wildlife and fish habitat, soil and watershed, and recreation values. Sale-area improvement activities must be carried out only on lands with full National Forest status and on lands administered in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations applicable to National Forest lands (Forest Service Handbook 2409.19).

The following are some of the types of projects that may be performed using K-V funding (Forest Service Handbook 2409.19):



Human-Resource Programs

Human-resource programs can provide a way to carry out federal work projects for which other funds are not available. The objective is to provide both social and natural-resource benefits through administering and hosting programs in work, training, and education.

Volunteer Programs

Salem BLM District's volunteer program has been growing steadily during the past seven years. Although the number of volunteers has decreased recently, the number of volunteer hours has increased substantially.

What began seven years ago as mostly volunteer park-maintenance help from youth groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, and various other clubs has expanded to include about 70 college students and graduates. Students from across the country and throughout the world seek experience in natural resources by volunteering for the BLM.

Some of these students were placed in Salem through the Student Conservation Association and through college internships with Willamette University, Western Oregon State College, Oregon State University, Chemeketa Community College, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, Lewis and Clark, University of Freiburg (southern Germany), and Sprague High School.

Others are college graduates seeking experience in their field of study in an effort to get a job. The volunteers generally work 3 to 6 months surveying for spotted owls and marbled murrelets, monitoring fish habitat, inventorying soil and riparian conditions, surveying for endangered plant species, and assisting seed propagation at Horning Seed Orchard.

Everybody wins with the volunteer program; it provides work experience for local youth while accomplishing agency goals. One opportunity would be to work with the local school district to set up a Sponsored Group Volunteer Agreement. In may instances, this agreement could provide the student the ability to fulfill some of the Certificate of Advanced Mastery requirements (CAM). Many college students are looking for volunteer opportunities to provide them job experience, complete course work requirements, or both. With summer job opportunities dwindling for students and with dollar restrictions in the agencies, this program could be an excellent way to meet both student and agency goals.

For fiscal year 1995 (October 1994 through September 1995), volunteers for the Hebo Ranger District contributed about 6,777 hours of work with an estimated value of $90,800. The majority of volunteer work was in recreation related projects with 6,280 total hours for an estimated value of $80,900. Project work in fish and wildlife, range, and timber management contributed to the total with 560 hours for an estimated value of $9,880.

Volunteers for the Tillamook and Marys Peak Resource areas, BLM, contributed about 26,100 hours of work with an estimated value of $261,000. The majority of work was performed in recreation related projects with more than 15,000 hours for an estimated value of $150,000. Volunteers contributed in other functions such as cultural and historical, lands, forestry, watershed and hydrology and wildlife for a total of 11,000 hours for a estimated value of $111,000.

Youth Programs

Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) is a nonprofit teenage job training program. It provides youth, ages 16 to 19, experience in environmental education. The NYC crews can do a variety of projects, including trail construction or reconstruction and stream cleanup. All recruiting and payrolling is done by NYC and includes all costs associated with hiring an employee. Tools, supervision, and transportation are provided. Programs last from one to five weeks and the cost to a sponsoring unit is $5,264 per week for a crew of ten teenagers and two staff people.

Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (Saturday Academy) is designed for high school students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year and who have potential to excel in science or engineering. Students work full-time for eight weeks, which gives them the opportunity to explore their interests and to make educational and career decisions. This program may also fulfill some requirements of the Certificate of Advanced Mastery. Students are payrolled by Saturday Academy and fully insured before being accepted into the program. Saturday Academy does the initial recruitment and a Forest Service mentor selects and supervises the participant. The cost of the program is $2,500, but often the Academy has funds to defray some of this cost.

Students are expected to complete productive work or projects. They attend a two-day midsummer conference that includes workshops and seminars on science and engineering. At the end of the summer, the student attends a symposium where all participants share their work and report on their summer experience.

Student Conservation Corps (SCA) is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for youths to learn about the principles and practices of resource management and conservation. The two basic programs are the Resource Assistant Program, designed for college-age and adult participants with skills and qualifications to perform activities on natural resource management areas, and a high school program designed for students to participate in work crews for a minimum five-week period on conservation and natural resource management projects. A high school crew with six students and one leader costs about $8,000 of reimbursable costs and about $9,000 of non-cash contributions for a five-week program.

Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC) has as its main purpose to engage youth, ages 16 to 24, in meaningful work in well-supervised, cohesive teams, while enhancing job skills and educational development. Seventy-five percent of the program participants are disadvantaged and at-risk because of poverty, deficiency in family support, or inadequate opportunity for community employment. The OYCC is administered by the Oregon Commission on Children and Families and is fully funded by the state of Oregon. Direct supervision is provided by Forest Service or BLM staff when the work is on federal lands.

Experience International is a nonprofit visitor exchange program to provide young professionals with on-the-job training and career-related work experience. These trainees all have a minimum of two years of practical experience and two years of post-secondary education in a natural resource field. All exchange visitor placements are made for 8 to 18 months. Reimbursement for food and lodging is provided by the receiving agency. In addition, a $319 initial placement fee and a $382 quarterly fee are paid for each trainee.



Education and Information Sharing

While searching for new ways to inform and educate AMA stakeholders about natural resources and ecosystem management, we need to continue to make use of existing programs that are effective. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have taken part in many kinds of outreach in recent years.








             The home page for the AMA network is:


             The home page for the Northern Coast Range AMA is:


             World Wide Web:
             Government Printing Office: docs/gils.html
             U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Technical Information Service (NTIS) Federal World Information Network:    

             Contributions are encouraged and can be sent for upload to


The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have developed the following partnerships and volunteer agreements that are helping to meet the Northern Coast Range AMA objectives:




Key Federal Agency Staff - Northern Coast Range AMA

The following list is current as of January 1, 1997. Please contact any of these persons for more information about the Northern Coast Range AMA or its activities.
USDA Forest Service 
 Siuslaw National Forest 
 P.O. Box 1148 
 Corvallis, OR 97339 
 (541) 750-7000; FAX (541) 750-7142
James Furnish 
Rick Alexander 
Forest Supervisor 
Public Affairs Officer 
USDA Forest Service 
 Hebo Ranger District 
 31525 Hwy 22 
 Hebo, OR 97122 
 (503) 392-3161; FAX (503) 392-4203
Don Gonzalez 
Paul Radlet 
Carol Johnson 
District Ranger 
Rural Community Assistance 
Public Affairs Officer 
USDI Bureau of Land Management 
 Salem District 
 1717 Fabry Rd. S. 
 Salem, OR 97306 
 (503) 375-5646; FAX (503) 375-5622
Van Manning 
Trish Hogervorst 
District Manager 
Public Affairs Officer 
USDI Bureau of Land Management 
 Tillamook Resource Area 
 PO Box 404 
 4610 Third Street 
 Tillamook, OR 97141-0404 
 (503) 815-1100; FAX (503) 815-1107
Dana Shuford 
Warren Tausch 
Bob McDonald 
Area Manager 
AMA Coordinator 
GIS Specialist 
USDI Bureau of Land Management 
 Marys Peak Resource Area 
 1717 Fabry Road S.E 
 Salem, OR 97306 
 (503) 375-5692; FAX (503) 375-5622
John Bacho 
Belle Verbics 
Area Manager 
Plans & Monitoring 
Pacific Northwest Research Station 
 Corvallis Forestry Sciences Lab 
 3200 SW Jefferson Way 
 Corvallis, OR 97331 
 (541) 750-7435; FAX (541) 750-7329
Andrew Gray AMA Lead Scientist