Recent trends in large hardwoods in the Pacific Northwest, USA
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Jonathan W. Long; Andrew N. Gray; Frank K. Lake
Publication Year: 2018

Cataloging Information

  • biological diversity
  • cultural diversity
  • ecosystem services
  • FIA - Forest Inventory and Analysis
  • fisher
  • hardwoods
  • indicators
  • Native Americans
  • non-timber forest product
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 4, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 56821


Forest densification, wildfires, and disease can reduce the growth and survival of hardwood trees that are important for biological and cultural diversity within the Pacific Northwest of USA. Large, full-crowned hardwoods that produce fruit and that form large cavities used by wildlife were sustained by frequent, low-severity fires prior to Euro-American colonization. Shifts in fire regimes and other threats could be causing declines in, large hardwood trees. To better understand whether and where such declines might be occurring, we evaluated recent trends in Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data from 1991-2016 in California and southern Oregon. We included plots that lay within areas of frequent fire regimes during pre-colonial times and potential forest habitats for fisher, a rare mammal that depends on large live hardwoods. We analyzed changes in basal area for eight hardwood species, both overall and within size classes, over three time periods within ecoregions, and in public and private land ownerships. We found the basal area to generally be stable or increasing for these species. However, data for California black oak suggested a slight decline in basal area overall, and among both very large trees and understory trees; that decline was associated with fire mortality on national forest lands. In addition, mature trees with full crowns appeared to sharply decline across all species. Many trends were not statistically significant due to high variation, especially since more precise data from remeasured trees were only available for the two most recent time periods. Continued analysis of these indicators using remeasured trees will help to evaluate whether conservation efforts are sustaining large, full-crowned trees and their associated benefits.

Online Link(s):
Long, Jonathan W.; Gray, Andrew N.; Lake, Frank K. 2018. Recent trends in large hardwoods in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Forests 9(10):651.