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Criterion 7 Indicator 66
Rationale
 
Capacity to Enhance the Ability to Predict the Impacts of Human Intervention on Forests
 
There are many critical natural resource and environmental issues today (e.g., sustainable development, global environmental change, loss of biodiversity, ecosystem health, etc.). It is increasingly recognized that the main driving force behind all these issues is the impact of human intervention in natural systems.

Evaluation
 
People can affect forests in many ways. Therefore, research on people’s impacts on forests is an extremely broad area, cutting across many lines of inquiry. Some of the relevant research areas are global environmental change, loss of biodiversity, acid deposition, loss of wetlands, loss and alteration of wildlife habitat, exotic species introduced by humans, toxic contaminants and other types of pollution, land use and management practices, and all other research dealing with the impacts of human-caused disturbances. Research on these and related topics includes everything from studies in the biological and physical sciences to social science research (i.e., research on the economic impacts of alternative silvicultural systems)
 
Non-federal forests – ability to predict impacts of human intervention
 
Oregon’s forests display a complex ownership pattern and a complex set of management intentions on those forests. This reflects the dramatic impact of human intervention on Oregon’s forests. Forest policy is designed to mitigate existing human impact and to reduce future human impact. Because trees are a long-lived species it is difficult to access the consequences of human impact and proposed forest policy.
 
At Oregon State University, the Coastal Landscape Analysis and Modeling Study (CLAMS) is a research program designed to model landscape succession over time using the different management intentions as well as ecological, economic, and social components. This program is in cooperation with the Pacific Northwest Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
 
The tools being developed by CLAMS will allow scientists, managers, policy makers, and lay citizens to have a common framework of information and together discuss the health of forest ecosystems, the stressors on those ecosystems, and the social, economic, and ecological implications of proposed policy.
 
Federally managed forests — ability to predict impacts of human intervention
 
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been a major influence on federal forest management for over a quarter century. NEPA analysis is required for all proposed federal projects, including projects on federal forest lands (see Indicator #49). The law’s key provision is precisely the analysis, prediction, and mitigation of human intervention on forest ecosystems. This analysis is central to modern federal forest management, as shown by the large volume of high quality environmental impact statements and environmental assessments produced in recent years.