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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 > Research


"The goal of the BMNRI research program is to encourage, facilitate, and conduct integrated research to answer multi-scale natural resource questions as they relate to the BMNRI mission and objectives."

The BMNRI was created in part because of a perceived lack of ongoing regional research in natural resources that was relevant to management issues, looked at the big picture, and contained a strong technology transfer element.

As a means to identify a clear direction for a research program, the BMNRI has produced a synthesis of knowledge of Blue Mountains natural resources (Search for a Solution). The synthesis summarizes current knowledge and identifies knowledge gaps, out of which a "research framework" has emerged.

The research framework identifies 11 major study areas, each consisting of a number of research elements (Table 1: March 16 1993--Report to the Board). The 27 research elements are prioritized according to how they would contribute to the following "implementation" criteria (Table 2: March 16 1993--Report to the Board):

  • reduce risk;
  • address complex ownership/resource/sociological concerns;
  • emphasize multidisciplinary research to evaluate interactions, tradeoffs, and risks;
  • improve/promote good management practices
  • obtain basic knowledge

While the research framework provides some direction as to priority topics that should be investigated, it offers little direction on how this should be accomplished. Recognizing this, the BMNRI staff developed an "Implementation Strategy" (Annual Report--1993), in which recommendations were made on the study areas that were to be given top staff priority, and then particular tactics were identified to implement research in those areas. The study areas "management practices" and "ecosystem structure and function" were identified for primary emphasis, and it was determined that staff organize teams of scientists and/or managers to get research in these areas off the ground.

The synthesis document, the research framework, and the implementation strategy give priority to particular study areas and outline some of the tactics that will be used to obtain support. These efforts provide a direction for a viable research program: the BMNRI will encourage integrated, multidisciplinary projects that focus on how human management influences ecological function, including productivity, disturbance regimes, and biodiversity. The Institute will do this by participating directly in integrated research projects, by facilitating the writing of grant proposals that seek funding to undertake these kinds of projects, and by encouraging others to conduct research of this kind.

The list of research projects (completed, ongoing, and proposed) reflects the direction provided by the research framework and illustrates how the Institute has worked with its partners to acquire and disperse information. At least 16 of our partners have collaborated with us in our research efforts--virtually all partners typically involved in the research arena. Principal among these are Oregon State University (12 projects), the National Forest System (12 projects), the PNW Station (16 projects), Washington State University (3 projects) and the University of Washington (3 projects). In all, over the past 4 years the Institute has spent $797,000 of appropriated funds and garnered $408,000 in grant funds to help carry out a research effort costing a total of $3,359,000.

Projects range in scale from big picture (Reburn) to site-specific (Genesis; Pine Avifauna), and address a wide range of response variables, from fungi (Down Wood) to economics (Deerhorn). Some are experimental (Limber Jim), some are observational (Canopy Gaps), and some are retrospective (Reburn). Project budgets range from the very small (Aspen) to the very large (Limber Jim). Yet all have three basic features in common: they have wide implications for practicing management, they address current issues, and they are incorporated into an aggressive technology transfer scheme.

The project list provides the title of the research project, principal investigators, a brief description, cost, products for finished work, and status for ongoing work. Cost is broken down into direct appropriated dollars (BMNRI), funds obtained from granting agencies, and total. More detailed information about any of these projects, or about the research program in general, can be obtained by contacting the BMNRI office in La Grande, or by calling Jim McIver, Research Coordinator, at (541) 962-6528.

Research Report to the Board of Directors, 3/5/99

The goal of the BMNRI research program is to encourage, facilitate, and conduct integrated research to answer multiscale natural resource questions as they relate to the BMNRI mission and objectives.

The research program seeks to support the mission of the Institute by encouraging research that is relevant to current natural resource issues, is conducted in a management context, and contains a strong technology transfer element. Because research is relatively expensive, it is only encouraged if there is a distinct lack of information on a critical issue. Although initially BMNRI research was geared to providing information on forest health issues, in the past 3 years the program has focused on the economics and environmental effects of forestry and cattle grazing practices, especially as they relate to forest health.

The 15 completed projects supported by the BMNRI have yielded a total of 43 research products over the past 6 years, including 1 book, 21 publications, 5 Master's theses, 10 unpublished reports, 3 workshops, 2 videos/slide presentations, and 1 computer program. All of these products are available at the BMNRI La Grande office. For a complete up-to-date list, please see the descriptions of 15 completed, 9 ongoing, and 5 proposed projects. An abstracted list of seven new products received since January 1998, is provided here.

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Blue Mountains National Resources Institute
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:42 CST

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