Eastern Oregon forest restoration efforts hampered by diameter limits on tree cutting
by Steve Lundeberg, Oregon State University
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A quarter-century-old harvesting restriction intended to last one year has served as an obstacle to returning eastern Oregon national forests to the healthier, more fire-resilient conditions they embodied in the late 1800s, research by the Oregon State University College of Forestry shows.
The findings, published in Ecosphere, are both important and timely because the U.S. Forest Service recently revised what has widely become known as the “21-inch rule” – a prohibition against cutting trees greater than 21 inches in diameter at breast height on Forest Service land in eastern Oregon.
“Under the old policy, live trees more than 21 inches in diameter couldn’t be cut,” said the study’s lead author, James Johnston. “The simulations we conducted show that a quarter of mixed conifer stands east of the Cascades couldn’t be restored to historical forest density or basal area under this 21-inch rule.”
Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.3394