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Aspen Restoration and Social Agreements : An Introductory Guide for Forest Collaboratives in Central and Eastern Oregon

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  • Collaborative Regional Learning This document is part of a forest collaborative regional learning project on aspen restoration and social agreements. Thanks to all the individuals, collaborative groups, and organizations who provided feedback and suggestions. We appreciate the participation of members from: Blue Mountains Forest Partners, Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, Harney County Restoration Collaborative, Ochoco Forest Restoration Collaborative, Umatilla Forest Collaborative Group, and Wallow-Whitman Forest Collaborative.
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is one of the few hardwood trees found outside of riparian areas across central and eastern Oregon. Although aspen makes up less than 1% of total acres in Oregon’s eastside forests, it supports a disproportionate amount of wildlife, plants, and insects compared to surrounding coniferous forests. Aspen stands and ecosystems are one of the most biodiverse habitat types in the conifer forest systems of central and eastern Oregon; second only to riparian areas for species richness and diversity. Yet the total acres of aspen ecosystems and habitat have decreased greatly (possibly by as much as 80%) and are at risk of disappearing across some regions (see Section 4: Aspen in Central Oregon and the Blue Mountains). Many forest collaborative groups in the region have voiced an interest in addressing aspen restoration on their public lands of focus or Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CLFR) projects. These groups consist of diverse stakeholders who work together to support forest restoration on public lands for mutual ecological, economic, and social outcomes through consensus-based dialogue and decision making. This often occurs during the management agency’s planning or NEPA process. Although the agency retains final decision-making authority, common ground agreements that collaboratives achieve can assist in identifying socially acceptable restoration treatments, and are intended, in part, to reduce the likelihood of objections and litigation. This document highlights the social and ecological importance of aspen, provides some basic information on aspen restoration, and points the reader to in-depth science synthesis papers to assist with restoration guidelines and developing collaborative input. It may help collaboratives start a conversation and move toward social agreement on why, how, and where to prioritize aspen restoration; and the tools and approaches provided may also be useful for other issues.
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  • Seager, S T., Ediger, V., and Davis, EJ. 2015. Aspen Restoration and Social Agreements: An Introductory Guide for Forest Collaboratives in Central and Eastern Oregon. The Nature Conservancy, Portland, OR. 64 p.
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  • This project was funded by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Federal Forest Health Program through Agreement ODF 2191A2-14 with The Nature Conservancy. Additional funding and support from the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society and Extension Program (Oregon State University) and the Central Oregon Forest Stewardship Foundation.



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