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Implementation Monitoring
Walking through a forest
The Oregon Department of Forestry adopted new Forest Management Plans for the southwest and northwest areas in 2001 that adopted structure-based management as a guiding principle.  This approach is new to the department and has required districts to alter their operational methodologies.  The Implementation Monitoring Project is the first opportunity for the department to determine systematically whether operational goals presented in these forest management plans are being implemented at the district level.  Implementation monitoring seeks to answer the question, “Did we do what we said we were going to do?” 
A pilot project protocol was developed in FY2005.  It described a four-prong approach to answering the above question.  First, a contract and administrative process review will assess consistency between contract documents and forest management plan strategies.  In this process, contract administrators and monitoring staff answer a series of questions that were developed directly from goals and strategies presented in the forest management plans.  Second, stand-level inventory will be used to assess operational practices in partial cut stands.  Two new approaches have been developed to assess activities in clearcuts and riparian areas.  A clearcut protocol will measure mainly quantitative data, such as green tree and snag retention and downed wood levels, and some qualitative data such as the spatial distribution of green trees and snags.  A riparian area protocol will measure similar attributes in riparian management areas and qualitatively assesses riparian management areas at both partial and clearcuts. 
Twenty percent of all partial cuts and all clearcuts will be sampled by district by year, with a minimum of one operation of each type per district per year, if available.  Contract administrative process reivew and riparian management area plots will be conducted for every operation as well as clearcut plots or stand level inventory, depending on the type of operation.  A goal of one type of each operation was set in the pilot project protocol; these operations have now been sampled. 
Preliminary results indicate that methodologies are generally adequate with some changes necessary.  Major changes include scheduling contract administrative process reviews before, rather than after, site data collection and a revision of the riparian management area methodology to provide more precise estimates of stand characteristics.  Minor revisions include a streamlining of data collection software and a slightly different sampling approach to provide landscape-level, as well as stand-level, estimates.
Implementation monitoring was initially designed to collect data on FY2002 – FY2004 operations, but it has been recognized that there is an ongoing need for data of this nature to inform program objectives, such as performance measures, and inform the districts on implications of operational approaches on an ongoing basis. Data collected to date suggests district practices are consistent with forest management plan goals and strategies, but the data are too few for a statistical sample and thus are not presented here.

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