Habitat Restoration Across Large Areas: Assessing Wildlife Responses in the Clearwater Basin, Idaho

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Over the past century, fire suppression and prevention have altered disturbance regimes across the Pacific Northwest, resulting in a significant divergence of historical and current conditions in forested habitats. To address this continuing trend in habitat changes and begin restoring historical patterns of disturbance, the Clearwater Basin Elk Habitat Initiative (CEI) proposes relatively extensive management actions in the Clearwater basin of north-central Idaho. We attempted to evaluate potential effects of such management actions on selected wildlife species using extant data sets and suggest ways to improve such projects with respect to a multispecies and adaptive management approach. Although there is increased interest in ecosystem management over large areas, the increased scale of analysis and implementation require a substantial increase in the level of species information beyond what currently exists. We conclude that baseline information required for an effective multispecies land-management policy in the Clearwater basin does not exist for many terrestrial wildlife species. To implement a true multispecies or ecosystem approach, wildlife and land managers should cooperate to increase existing population data and modeling efforts for wildlife species in the basin and develop a sustainable monitoring program to evaluate habitat management changes and their influence on wildlife populations within the context of adaptive management theory. Management actions to restore disturbance patterns should attempt spatial and temporal scales that are biologically relevant to the population ecology of species being affected. West. J. Appl. For. 19(2): 123–132.

Keywords: Clearwater basin; Habitat restoration; Idaho; ecosystem management; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; wildlife

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Landscape Dynamics Lab, Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit University of Idaho Moscow ID 83844-4061 Phone: (208) 885-3774, Email: leonab@uidaho.edu 2: Idaho Department of Fish and Game Boise ID 83707 3: Clearwater National Forest United States Forest Service Orofino ID 83544 4: United States Geological Survey, Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit University of Idaho Moscow ID 83844-1141

Publication date: April 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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