Larry Caldwell larryc at
Wed Sep 1 00:17:58 EST 1999

In article <01bef3b9$54b54de0$03f47880 at bob>, rtaylor at writes: 
> I didn't realize that forests assumed old-growth characteristics in 8
> years.  I am glad to hear you say that they are recovering, however,
> because the corps of spotted owl biologists working for the Forest Service
> maintained at a symposium last year that the owl is still declining.

It depends on the age of the forest.  A forest going from 40 years old to 
50 years old makes some substantial gains, with suppressed understory 
dying out and falling over and lower branched dropping off.  It may be 
different in California, I don't know, but in Oregon most of the "old 
growth" is not all that old.  Some of the O&C lands that have been 
inventoried as old growth have been logged a couple of times in the last 
110 years, if it didn't burn to the ground first.  O&C lands were granted 
to the railroads for a mile on either side of the right of way, and the 
old wood burning engines set the whole countryside on fire just about 
every summer.

It will be another 30 years yet before our old growth inventory really 
starts to skyrocket, but the trees are there.  All it takes is time.

As for the NSO numbers, who knows?  Your comment is the first time I have 
heard that spotted owl numbers may be declining.  That's certainly not 
what I hear out of OSU in all the habitat planning classes I go to.  Of 
course, their jobs are funded by coho salmon money, so the owls are doing 
fine but the fish are in trouble.  :)  

The only thing I am really sure of is that there hasn't been a northern 
spotted owl anywhere within 100 miles of my property any time since the 
last ice age, and I plan to keep it that way.

-- Larry

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list