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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Blue Mountains National Resources Institute

Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande, OR 97850

United States Forest Service.

BMNRI Home > Publications > Search For A Solution > Chapter 1


Search For A Solution: Sustaining the Land, People, and Economy of the Blue Mountains


Raymond G. Jaindl, Thomas M. Quigley, and Richy Harrod

(Click here to download this chapter in PDF format)

Most residents of the Blue Mountains and many residents of the United States benefit in some measure from the natural resources of the Blue Mountain area. These benefits range from supporting livelihoods to the quality of life we enjoy. In the Blue Mountains, our dependence on forest resources is particularly apparent in the timber industry's reliance on national forest timber, the domestic uses of water supplied by forest watersheds, the importance of forage provided for livestock, the special relationship Native Americans have to their land and waters, and the many recreation opportunities the area provides.

Perturbations to Blue Mountain ecosystems have occurred as a result of natural (fire, drought, extensive insect outbreaks) and human-caused (timber harvesting, livestock grazing, fire, dams, recreation) disturbances, which are resulting in short- and/or long-term effects on the ecological integrity of the system and the stability of human societies in the area. For example, man has been successful in excluding fire as a natural ecological force on forest vegetation. As a result, the forests are evolving in directions we did not anticipate. The long-term result of our fire suppression success in combination with other activities has been the creation of a large-scale pest problem and the potential for high-intensity fires.

Given existing forest conditions in the Blue Mountains, we firmly believe that forest health degradation, and in particular, insect- and disease-caused damage will continue, and perhaps worsen, as time goes on. Although the insect situation may temporarily improve as the current insect epidemics collapse, without major changes in stand conditions and modification of management practices over relatively large areas, stands will continue to be periodically subjected to major depredations by insects, because the conditions making them highly susceptible to attack have not changed. Moreover, forest disease problems will continue to worsen little by little each year as untreated disease centers expand in size, and are aggravated by management practices that do not fully consider forest health.

In the following chapters we bring together our existing knowledge of the Blue Mountains and resources, both natural and human, to contribute to solving the conflicts, ambiguities, ecosystem degradation, and societal concerns. These chapters represent a beginning for finding a solution and identifying man's role as part of the Blue Mountain ecosystem.

Contents of Chapter One:

  • The Dilemma
  • Description of the Blue Mountain Region
  • Climate
  • Geology and Soils
  • Vegetation
  • Fauna
  • Land Use
  • Economic Aspects
  • Summary

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Blue Mountains National Resources Institute
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:43 CST

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