Soil Matters Improving Forest Landscape Planning and Management
Historically soil scientists mapped soil resources and prepared interpretations for resource managers. They were viewed as “the resource specialists” who could describe landscape capability and response to management. As the focus changed to assessments of soil disturbances resulting from forest management, the role of soil scientist became one of assessing past and predicting future impacts to soil quality at specific sites. The need to assess and limit soil impacts cannot be ignored, but its dominance in forest management in recent decades has also led to a diminished awareness of the broader value of soil information in forest planning and management decisions.
Terry Craig presented an adaptive management model that provides a framework for integrating soil quality concepts into the planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of forest projects. This approach helps forest managers recognize the value in using soils information to assure those management objectives are matched to soils that have a high potential for achieving and sustaining those objectives over time. A case study of the Green Ridge planning area located on the Deschutes National Forest, Sisters Ranger District was used to highlight the use and potential benefits of detailed soils information in forest planning. The goal is to help forest managers make better planning and management decisions through wider awareness, understanding, and application of local soils information.