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Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative

Non-profit

Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative

13401 Highway 66 Ashland, OR 97520

Website Email
Address:
13401 Highway 66
Ashland
OR 97520
Interests:
  • Firewise Communities / Defensible space
  • Forest/ecosystem management
  • Fuels treatment / Prescribed fire
  • Local workforce capacity building
  • Monitoring/Assessment
  • Watershed protection/management

The Collaborative first met in 2005 to increase public and agency support for forest restoration in Southwest Oregon. The group was made up of landowners, foresters, loggers, agency representatives, academics, environmentalists and community members. The group met for several years in a local living room and was known as the Knitting Circle, reflecting its informal, conversational origin. In 2010 the group became a 501c3, now known as the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative. SOFRC focuses on land managed by the Medford District Bureau of Land Management and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
To advance restoration, the Collaborative worked with diverse stakeholders to create Productive Harmony Guidelines, a set of ecological, social, and economic indicators for agencies and stakeholders to consult in project planning to achieve on the ground success. The Collaborative has also been instrumental in advancing regional landscape assessments of forest restoration need and opportunity. This work has helped build support for restoration and generated a number of high profile projects, including the BLM’s Pilot Joe Secretarial Pilot and Friese Camp Ecological Forestry Project.

SOFRC completed “The Rogue Basin Action Plan for Resilient Watersheds and Forests in a Changing Climate” in 2014. This collaboratively developed plan emerged from a partnership with the Model Forest Policy Program and the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest.

What is Forest restoration?
Forest restoration is a planned process to regain ecological integrity in a changing climate and enhance human well being in degraded landscapes. Land-use decisions in Southwest Oregon over the last 100 years have generated overly dense forest stands that are vulnerable to insects, disease, and severe wildfire. Using the latest science and balanced approaches to restore Southwest Oregon’s forest landscape has diverse benefits for human and natural communities.
How does the Collaborative Work?

The Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative works directly with community partners and federal land managers, who oversee two-thirds of Southwest Oregon lands, to find common ground and help create sound, science-based federal forest plans. The collaborative has worked with partners to create a set of ecological, social, and economic indicators for agencies and stakeholders to consult in project development. And the Collaborative has advanced regional landscape assessments of forest restoration needs and opportunities, building support for restoration and leading to new projects on the ground.

Creating a Firewise School

Applegate Fire District 9, the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative, the Bureau of Land Management, and Ruch School middle-schoolers came together to assess their school for potential fire hazards before the upcoming fire season. Students helped to clear space, plant Firewise plants, and learn about how to be Firewise in a hands-on, engaging way. They learned about fire science, fire behavior, plant adaptability, and the three zones that make up a defensible space. They put what they learned into practice by helping build Firewise demonstration sites, planting fire resistant plants, and clearing fuels on the school grounds. Students then went to their own homes to assess them for potential fire hazards.

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Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy

SOFRC and stakeholders have developed a Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy (Strategy) that integrates wildfire risk mitigation with ecological health. The Strategy demonstrates the goals and components of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy as well as goals established in the Rogue Basin Climate Action Plan for Resilient Forests and Watersheds in a Changing Climate. Using the best available science, we describe vegetation, fuels, high value resources and assets (HVRA), access and yarding capabilities, and identified no-treatment zones across 4.6 million acres. We modeled fire probability and intensity across the basin, and through workshops with stakeholders collaboratively identified and mapped HVRA’s and their likely response to wildfire. These data were used to strategically design treatments and as a baseline to evaluate different management scenarios. Treatment placement was optimized with Landscape Treatment Designer (LTD), balancing five objectives 1) mitigating local fire community risk, 2) mitigating large wildfire community risk, 3) addressing landscape resilience measured as the proportion of seral states relative to the natural range of variability, 4) protecting existing and promoting future Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) habitat, and 5) promoting fire resistance in climate resilient settings.

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