Study identifies priority forests in Oregon for max conservation benefit

Study identifies priority forests in Oregon for max conservation benefit

The haunting deep-green forests of Oregon are more than a backdrop for angsty teen vampires in the Twilight series. These coastal temperate rainforests on the west coast of the United States are some of the most important carbon storage facilities in the world and, at a local scale, shelter 80% of the drinking water for the state’s residents. A recent study published in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change is the first to determine which forests are the highest priority for conservation by analyzing data on drinking water sources, biodiversity, carbon storage and forest resilience. “Here’s a map that shows you where’s the biggest bang for your buck and what we need to protect first,” Beverly E. Law, the study’s lead author and professor emeritus of global change biology and terrestrial systems science in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, told Mongabay. “We’ve laid out what needs to be done, where we need to start, and where we need to look first.” Most (67%) of the high-priority forests, researchers found, are on federal lands. Some of these areas include forestlands around the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness and Elliot State Forest in the Coast Range; Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Blue Mountains; Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the Klamath Mountains; and Crater Lake National Park in the Cascade Mountains. A map of the high-priority forests for conservation in Oregon. Figure from Law et al 2022. A highlight of some of the areas in Oregon that researchers say should be completely protected to…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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