Applegate River Watershed Forest Simulation Project


Research Team

Community Contacts

Project proposal


Current activities

Meeting Minutes


Working groups

Public discussion


K. Norman Johnson, College of Forestry, OSU

Todd Kesterson, Applegate River Watershed Council



The College of Forestry at Oregon State University is currently conducting a research project on the development and application of strategic forest planning methods for the fire-prone landscapes of Oregon. This work grew out of a recent study of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California in which scientists at the College of Forestry developed an approach to simulating forest and watershed condition under different management practices that emphasized the interaction of forests, fire, watersheds, and people.

We plan to adapt this approach for use in evaluating alternative management practices for the forests, streams, and watersheds of the Applegate River Watershed. We hope to involve scientists from OSU, the University of Washington, and the Forest Service as well as managers, landowners, specialists, and interested citizens. We have put together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to work on the project including experts in fire ecology, forestry, aquatic ecology, wildlife ecology, forest operations, planning and other disciplines.

We plan to combine sound scientific methods with community involvement and technical advice from the federal agencies to develop a model specific to the Applegate River Watershed that will reveal the outcomes of different management strategies relative to achievement of resource management goals. We hope to obtain these resource goals from the Applegate community. Then, we will build a computer model for the community and others to use in evaluating strategies for management of the Watershed.

We are working through the Applegate Partnership and the Applegate River Watershed Council. While the federal agencies are providing technical advice, as we request it, this effort is a research project that is independent of the federal land management agencies in the Applegate. The project is funded by the College of Forestry at OSU with a portion of the funding coming from interest on an endowment that Boise Cascade gave OSU for policy research.

What Resource Management Goals Should be Recognized in the Simulations?

In our approach, management strategies are evaluated relative to how well they achieve the resource management goals of the analysis. Thus, specification of goals is an essential starting point. Goals related to wildfire are usually considered, but many others can be recognized. We will then develop a computer simulation model tailored to the conditions of the Applegate River Watershed to help us understand the degree to which different management strategies help achieve the specified goals.

We are currently developing a set of resource management goals for the forested ecosystems of the Applegate River Watershed that will guide the simulations and be used to evaluate them. We have listed a proposed set of goals below and seek guidance about their usefulness.

To date, we have included information from the following sources for resource management goals:

Discussions at the Applegate Partnership Meetings, a public meeting at the Medford BLM for the federal agencies and other interested people, and other public meetings.

Applegate Valley Strategic Plan, Coordinated by the Rogue Institute for Ecology and Economy, July, 1997.

Draft Applegate AMA Guide by the Rogue River National Forest and the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, Sept. 1996.


Applegate River Watershed

Proposed Overall Forest Resource Management Goals

Provide for forests, streams, and watersheds that are healthy, natural systems managed for a variety of resources, including wildlife, fish, water, wood products, aesthetics, and recreation, and that contribute to the protection of life and property.

Respect the rights, goals, and responsibilities of all landowners and land managers in the watershed and encourage voluntary cooperation in achieving resource management goals.

Enable a high level of participation and understanding of the modeling process used to simulate forest and watershed conditions.

Produce a simulation model useful to the Applegate community in understanding the long-term implications of different management strategies for managing the forests of the Applegate River Watershed.

Enable the identification of cost-effective measures for attaining resource goals and reducing the conflict in simultaneous achievement of multiple goals.

Supporting Subgoals

Provide for forests, streams, and watersheds that:

1) Create and maintain landscapes that are resilient in the face of disturbance from wildfire, insect outbreak, wind, floods, and human activities, and that contribute to the protection of life and property. Also, increase the resistance of landscapes to disturbances that do not reflect historical patterns or processes, such as when high-severity fires now occur but low to moderate fires were common historically.

2) Support a diversity of plant communities and stand conditions that provide habitat for native species and ecosystem processes.

3) Have intact physical, biotic, and trophic (soil) networks to support productive ecosystems, in which people both live and work.

4) Help with the protection and restoration of habitat for threatened species including salmon stocks.

5) Provide a predictable and sustainable flow of wood products useful to local mills and provide for special forest products.

6) Provide a high-quality and adequate quantity of water for agricultural, fishery, residential, and other uses.

7) Limit emissions that may cause a deterioration in air quality.

8) Promote employment opportunities for the residents of the watershed and surrounding communities.

9) Provide a variety of recreation experiences.


Responses can be sent by:

Email: Todd Kesterson at: or Su Rolle at:
Fax: Todd Kesterson at (541) 899-8603.
Forwarded to: Ed Reilly at the Star Ranger Station (541) 899-1812.

We thank you for your time and comments.