Expanding the Forest Management Toolbox: a Large-scale Field Experiment on Washington State Lands
Dr. Teodora Minkova
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The societal demands on forests increase to provide an ever-growing list of ecological services: from habitat conservation and timber to carbon sequestration and recreation. Yet, after the adoption of the ecological forestry practices on public lands in the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s, there has been little change in silvicultural systems. A team of researchers and forest practitioners, led by Washington Department of Natural Resources and University of Washington are implementing a landscape-scale management experiment to test innovative forest management strategies that aim to benefit both communities and forests. The Type-3 Watershed Experiment compares alternative silviculture prescriptions, best management practices currently implemented on state lands, and unmanaged controls in both riparian and upland areas. The interdisciplinary experiment will examine the ecological, economic, and social responses to variation in tree species composition, density and regeneration patterns after harvest. The study takes place in 16 watersheds in the Olympic Experimental State Forest on the Olympic Peninsula and is implemented at the scale of standard forest management operations. To further advance the study goal of increasing the ecosystem sustainability, our project team is engaging the local communities through an approach called learning-based collaboration – researchers, practitioners, stakeholders, and tribes work together to shape the study’s priorities, treatments and monitoring activities.
Teodora Minkova is natural resource scientist at Washington Department of Natural Resources. She leads the research and monitoring program for the Olympic Experimental State Forest – 270,000 acres of working forest on the western Olympic Peninsula dedicated to learn about integration of habitat conservation and timber production through applied research, monitoring, and adaptive management. She received BS and MS degrees in Zoology from Sofia University in Bulgaria and PhD in Ecology and Environmental Protection from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She has been working on projects related to managing forests for multiple ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat, timber, and recreation. Her current research involves acoustic monitoring of forest birds, monitoring streams occupied by salmon, and experimenting with novel forest management prescriptions. The program she leads provides education opportunities in the form of internships and summer fieldwork and facilitates the link between scientists and land managers for continuous improvement of forest management.
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