Northeastern California Plateaus Bioregion Science Synthesis published

In response to requests from local stakeholders, the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region enlisted the help of the forest service scientists within the Western Center for Native Plant Conservation and Restoration Science to synthesize existing research to better understand dry conifer forests and rangelands of Northeastern California’s plateau region. These ecosystems are found primarily on the Lassen and Modoc national forests. The Northeastern California Plateaus Bioregion Science Synthesis is being published today and highlights the best available science on natural resources and socioeconomic considerations in these unique ecosystems. It is found online at fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_series/rmrs/gtr/rmrs_gtr409.pdf.

This science synthesis provides a science-based foundation to be used by the agency, stakeholders, tribes and the public during future forest planning efforts, particularly for the Lassen and Modoc national forests. It augments two previously published science syntheses for the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade mountain ranges and Northwest Forest Plan area. Together the three reports will inform upcoming forest planning efforts across different ecosystems in Northern California, Washington and Oregon. New science or any not included in the three syntheses may also be considered.

“This report is invaluable in our efforts to utilize the best available science for planning. It also provides a foundation for holding informed conversations with the public and our key stakeholders about the unique ecosystems in Northeastern California,” said Randy Moore, regional forester of the Pacific Southwest Region in California.

The synthesis incorporates input from local governments and tribes and is organized around five key topic areas that were identified through public participation. Each section was peer-reviewed by independent and forest service scientists.

“The report documents scientific conditions and trends related to these unique ecosystems and how they are affected by disturbances, including climate variability,” explained project leader Kasten Dumroese. “It discusses changes to vegetation related to grazing by livestock and wildlife, and conifer encroachment resulting from past fire suppression.

It also includes threats to sagebrush habitat, changes in land use patterns and people’s relationship and use of forests and rangelands.”

This synthesis represents a strong collaboration between the National Forest System and Research and Development to help address a critical need for contemporary scientific knowledge to inform forest plan updates. The Lassen and Modoc national forests are not currently scheduled to begin forest plan revision.

For more technical information about this science synthesis, email Dumroese (kas.dumroese@usda.gov) at the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Forestry Sciences Laboratory located in Moscow, Idaho.