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Data Information and Reporting for Indicator C.a.
Oregon Indicator of Sustainable Forest Management C.a.
Area of non-federal forestland and development trends
 

Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy C:
Indicator C.a. is one of two indicators that will measure progress towards achieving Forestry Program for Oregon Strategy C:  Maintain and enhance the productive capacity of Oregon's forests to improve the economic well-being of Oregon's communities.
 
Quick Links -
Other Indicators for
Stategy C Reporting
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Target*
No net loss in the area of wildland forest use in Oregon between 2009 and 2020.
 
*Note: Targets are specific preferred outcomes or results for the indicators set by the Oregon Board of Forestry.  At this time, targets have been established only for Indicators C.a., C.b., and D.a.
 

At-a-Glance: Condition, Trend, and Information

Condition:Trend:Information:
Good
Improving
Adequate
Good 
Improving but uncertain 
Adequate 

Why is this indicator important?
A photo of young Willamette Valley pine trees on private lands in western Oregon
Young Willamette Valley pine trees on private lands
Maintaining and enhancing the productive capacity of Oregon’s forests to produce the ecological, social, and economic values Oregonians expect from their forests requires limiting the development of forestland to other uses.  Showing trends in land use change to and from forestland highlights the importance of maintaining Oregon’s forestland base for producing fish and wildlife habitat, timber, and other traditional forest values on a sustainable basis.
 
Data for this indicator reports historical and current trends in area of land in forest land uses and of development occurring on land that remains in forest land uses.  While this indicator references all forests in Oregon, indicator metrics look at only nonfederal land because little land use change is expected on federal lands.
 
This indicator references two types of forest land uses, wildland forest use and mixed forest/agricultural use.  Wildland forest use includes forestland with less than 5 structures per square mile and is a key component in maintaining the values Oregonians expect from their forest. Mixed forest/agricultural use includes land with intermixed forest and agricultural uses and with fewer than 9 non-farm-related structures per square mile.  In 2009, land in wildland forest use accounted for 92 percent of nonfederal land in forest land use and land in mixed forest/agriculture use accounted for the other 8%. 
 
This indicator looks at forest use, not forest cover.  It is complementary to Indicator E.a., which provides information about change in the composition, diversity, and structure of forest vegetation.
 

What does this indicator tell us about sustainable forest management?
Condition:

 Symbol for Good
Good

Across most of Oregon, nonfederal wildland forest is being converted to other uses relatively slowly.  Comprehensive plans adopted by cities and counties in the early 1980s have slowed conversion of forests and farms to more developed uses.  The previous indicator target for Indicator C.a., that 97.4 percent or more of non-federal land in wildland forest use in 1974 should still be in wildland forest use in 2010 was met: 98 percent remains in wildland forest use. Development of land in wildland forest use is uneven across the state with little development occurring in most of eastern Oregon and relatively large areas being developed around Portland and other metropolitan areas.  Being closer to already more developed areas, rates of development of land in mixed forest/agricultural use to more developed uses has been relatively high, with 90 percent of non-federal land in mixed forest/agricultural use in 1974 still in mixed forest agricultural use in 2009.
 
It is possible for average levels of development and population to increase within areas remaining in wildland forest use.  This may change the mix of values produced by these forests and may be a precursor of more rapid development to other uses in the future. To address these concerns, another metric is assessed for Indicator C.a., the average number of structures per square mile on non-federal wildland forest use.  As measured by this metric, development on land remaining in wildland forest use continued at a relatively high rate until the 2005-2009 period.

Trend:

 Symbol for Improving
Improving, but uncertain
Annualized rates of change in conversion of wildland forest to other uses declined dramatically from 1974 to the mid-1980s and remained at relatively low levels through 2005, and declined to negligible levels between 2005 and 2009.  Development rates near urban areas are much higher than the statewide averages and are expected to return to high levels once the economy recovers and as urban growth boundaries are expanded.  The rates of development of land in mixed forest/agricultural uses to more developed uses has been and remains higher than for land in wildland forest use.
 
Probabilities for future development are unclear.  Ballot Measures 37 as modified by Ballot Measure 49 will allow some additional development, but debate continues about Oregon’s land use laws.  Parcelization of land in wildland forest and mixed forest/agricultural uses continues in Oregon at unknown rates and is a precursor to development.  Parcelization could be used as a leading metric for land use change if resources were available to collect and analyze information about parcelization rates and patterns on nonfederal land in wildland forest and mixed forest/agriculture land uses. 
 
Additional structures may also be a precursor of land use change and may affect the mix of values produced by forests.   Annual percentage increases in structure counts declined on nonfederal land in wildland forest and mixed forest/agricultural land uses after land use plans were implemented but remained at relatively high levels until 2005.  With the start of the recession in 2007, these rates of increase in the number of structures on nonfederal land in wildland forest and mixed forest/agriculture uses declined in the 2005-2009 period to their lowest levels since data was first collected in 1974
 

Information:

 Symbol for Adequate
Adequate
Information is available for this indicator at the State level and for all counties back to 1974.  The data is available in GIS polygons and in databases with numerous land use variables for 30,003 plots sampled and defined consistently back to 1974. The databases include information about land use class, number of structures, nearest distances to adjacent land use classes, and land use zoning.  The data are current and regularly updated by the Oregon Department of Forestry the Pacific Northwest Research Station and are linked to Pacific Northwest Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis Program field plots and forest landowner surveys. 

Percent of 1974 Non-federal Wildland Forest Still In Wildland Forest
Chart: percent of Nonfederal Forestland in 1974 Still in Forest Use in Later Years
 
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Percent of 1974 Non-federal Wildland Forest Still In Wildland Forest, by Region
This is a graphic showing the percent of nonfederal land in wildland forest use in 1974 still in wildland forest use in later years, by region
 
x
Average number of Structures per Square Mile on Nonfederal Wildland Forest
This is a chart showing the average number of structures relative to the number present in 1974 by non-Federal land classified as wildland forest in Oregon in 1974
 
x
Percent of 1974 Nonfederal Land in Mixed Forest/Ag Use Still in that Use
This is a chart showing the percent of non-federal land in mixed forest/agriculture use in 1974 still in mixed forest/agriculture use in later years.
 
x
Evaluations by the Oregon Roundtable on Sustainable Forests on this indicator
 
 

Metrics and Data Sources


Metric
Data Source
Area of nonfederal land wildland forest useOregon Department of Forestry
Average number of structures per square mile on nonfederal wildland forestOregon Department of Forestry
Area of nonfederal land in mixed forest/agricultural useOregon Department of Forestry

Other Information Relating to this Indicator
Forests, Farms & People: Land Use Change on Non-Federal Land in Oregon, 1974-2005, Dated: August 2009 [PDF 6.77 MB; 80 pages]

Related State, National, or International Indicators
  • Montreal Process: Criterion 2 - Maintenance of the productive capacity of forest ecosystems: 2003 and 2010 Indicator 10: Area of forest land and net area of forest land available for wood production.
  • Northeastern Area:  Area of timberland.
  • Heinz Center: Forest area and ownership
  • Heinz Center: Forest pattern and fragmentation
  • Oregon Benchmarks: Environment - 82: Percent of Oregon's non-federal forest land in 1974 still preserved for forest use.
  • Oregon State of the Environment Report: Conversion of forest land to more developed uses, landscape pattern of patches.