Numerous federal and state programs are aimed at increasing the pace, scale, and quality of forest restoration in conifer forests that have previously burned with high frequency but low severity. In many of these forests, past forest management and fire suppression have combined to generate stands with higher tree densities and different forest species than were historically present. Restoration efforts are increasingly focused on landscape scale planning an implementation. These efforts often focus on private and public lands. Landscape models and participatory modeling, involving both scientists and non-scientist stakeholders, is often seen as a needed component of landscape-scale planning and restoration efforts.
In this project, Forest Service scientists joined with collaborative group members and other stakeholders in central and southeastern Oregon to simulate the potential landscape outcomes from several restoration scenarios developed by project participants. They simulated the application of 10 diverse restoration management strategies across the study area. Four key findings emerged: 1) It takes a tremendous amount of restoration activity to change landscape conditions; 2) Landscape outcomes, over the long-term, were generally similar between even very divergent management scenarios; 3) The area burned each year is not a useful metric of the efficacy of forest restoration activitie; and 4) The use of managed wildfire as part of forest restoration strategies resulted in improved forest resistance to wildfire.