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Management Strategy for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife's Forests

Category: Habitat - Land Management

Date Published: June 25, 2014

Number of Pages: 49


The first section describes the various forest types managed by WDFW including their historic conditions, current conditions (which are often very different from historic conditions) and desired ranges of future conditions to meet ecological, social and economic objectives. The second section defines agency management strategies and how work is prioritized, implemented and tracked. The third section is intended to be a resource for project proponents and includes both standards and procedures to ensure that projects are properly planned, executed and documented.

Other complimentary documents will provide additional information related to the strategy for managing WDFW forests. These documents will include the following:

  • Wildlife area specific forest management plans
  • A master list of forest management needs and potential projects.
  • Instructions for inventorying forests

Each forested wildlife area will develop a wildlife area specific forest management plan as part of their wildlife area management plan. These plans do not repeat general information within this statewide strategy document but focus on:

  • Providing accurate, more detailed descriptions of forests
  • Defining suitable management areas and potential projects based on local knowledge
  • Articulating the rationale for projects using common prioritization criteria defined within this document

All wildlife area specific forest management plans are developed following a template based upon the agency mission, vision and strategies defined within this document. The template helps individual wildlife area managers efficiently provide information and ensure that all potential projects are developed in a consistent manner. Collectively, these plans will constitute the statewide forest inventory and are the source for identifying management needs and projects.

The master list of forest management needs and potential projects is derived from information provided in wildlife area specific forest management plans. Projects on the list are ranked based on the prioritization factors articulated in this document. While the list is intended to identify the most important and urgent management needs on a statewide basis, the state forester and wildlife area managers can use discretion when choosing projects for implementation. As a result, project order may not follow the ranked order on the master list. Economic and social factors, funding opportunities, staff availability and specific wildlife area needs will influence the sequencing of projects.

It is important to note that WDFW strives to manage its forests so that restoration/habitat maintenance activities provide financial benefits to the agency and local economies rather than act as a constant, financial drain. To the degree feasible projects will be scheduled so that they also serve as sources of revenue to support wildlife area management. While generating revenue and local economies is not the driving force behind WDFW’s forest management program, such outcomes are consistent with all of the department’s mission and goals as well as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2011-2017 Strategic Plan.

Finally, a wide variety of information sources will be accessed or stored by the forestry program to inform statewide forest management.

  • NatureServe forest distribution information
  • LANDFIRE information relating to forest succession classes, departure from historic conditions, historic fire return intervals and recent wildfire perimeter data
  • The best available information on insect outbreaks and outbreak predictions
  • Forest practice application data depicting the location, time and nature of projects
  • Project spatial information
  • Harvest records
  • Ecological integrity assessment information
  • Prescribed fire records
  • Priority Habitat and Species information

Suggested Citation:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2014. Management Strategy for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Forests. Olympia, Washington.