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The use of ecological principles for riparian zone management in four forest planning documents Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which ecological principles were used in four documents of differing scope and intent, that address management of forest resources and riparian zones in three National Forests of the Pacific Northwest. We use the phrase "ecological principles" in a very broad sense, as it has been used in recent judicial interpretations of the forest planning process. Recent court cases, summarized in Figure 1, have challenged management activities in several National Forests, citing them for inadequate consideration of ecological principles in their planning. In a study of three recent court cases testing forest plans and associated Environmental Impact Statements (ElS's) involving fish and watershed management, Craig (1987) found that the court's decisions had hinged on ecological principles governing relationships between cumulative clearcutting, road construction, landsliding and debris flows, stream sedimentation, fish habitat, water quality, and fish populations. Similarly, in the case of Seattle Audubon Society, et al, v. James R. Moseley, et al, which affected logging sales in spotted owl habitat, (U. S. District Court, 1992), Judge Dwyer found that the requirement "to maintain viable populations of existing native and desired non-native species in the planning area" further required "planning for the entire biological community, not for one species [spotted owl] alone." He found that the EIS was inadequate because it failed to address the consequences of the plan for species, other than the spotted owl, that live in the old growth forests. This wording implies that a future decision on the revised EIS could hinge upon ecological principles describing interdependence among species, including fish, and how they are affected by forest management actions. In summary, recent judicial actions suggest that in the future, management plans will be judged on the strength of the ecological ideas which underlie them. The significance of this research is that it attempts to identify the ecological
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