U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in Transactions of the Forty-Seventh North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, ed. Kenneth Sabol (Washington, DC, 1982).


In recent years, a rapidly expanding body of research has made wildlife biologists and land managers increasingly aware that old-growth forests are critical wildlife habitat. This has come at a time when old-growth forests are rapidly being eliminated in order to meet human demands for wood products. In Oregon, for example, it is anticipated that virtually all remaining old-growth forests on commercial forest lands will be harvested by the year 2020 (Beuter et al. 1976). Thereafter, regenerating forests on cutover areas will be intensively managed and harvested every 60-80 years on most sites. If history is a good example, it is extremely unlikely that old-growth forests will ever again be regenerated on these cutover areas. Because of the overwhelming economic pressures mandating the harvest of the remaining stands of old-growth, we believe that the single most difficult issue facing wildlife biologists and land managers in the Pacific Northwest is how to retain viable populations of wildlife that find their optimum habitat in old-growth forests.
One species associated with old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest is the spotted owl (Strix occidentalis). During the last 10 years we have been closely involved with studies and management of this species in Oregon. The purpose of this report is to briefly summarize the research that has been conducted on the spotted owl and to describe a management plan that has been proposed for the species in Oregon.