Don Baccus dhogaza at
Tue Sep 7 20:32:21 EST 1999

In article <MPG.12357cf08c8a182d98a294 at>,
Larry Caldwell <larryc at> wrote:


>If indicator species were still in use, the current injunction against 
>logging on Forest Service land wouldn't exist.

Not true, as I indicated in my previous note.

You're right regarding the history of the use of the NSO as
an indicator species, and AFAIK the abandonment of indicator
species per se by the USFS.

But, the actual history of the development of the Northwest
Forest Plan has more to do with the administration's reasonable
idea that it made sense to settle the management issues regarding
National Forests in the PNW as much as possible in one fell
swoop than any biological thinking.  And the USFS's failure to
follow a Plan that Judge Dwyer warned BARELY met (in his opinion,
but that's what judges do) the needs of the law is the direct
reason he issued the recent injunction.  They were warned when
the original suit was dismissed years ago that an injunction
would follow if they tried to cheat on the agreement to any
substantial degree, and then the USFS promptly went out and
didn't even bother to try to develop the survey protocols for
some of the mentioned species though they solemly promised to
do in the Plan.

>As soon as we stopped the 
>abuses of the Reagan-Bush era, NSO populations started to recover and are 
>currently doing nicely.  We do have millions of acres of fairly mature 
>timber that is assuming old growth configuration, so the NSO habitat is 
>expanding all the time.

It's far too early to say this in OR/WA forests, in fact there's
been some data to suggest the opposite.  The data's a bit misleading
if you don't correct for the fact that there was much more intense
surveying for the species as a result of the whole snafu.

Over the long term, though, I think you're right as far as what
WILL happen - I see no reason why the NSO won't do well given
current practices on federal forests.  Of course, there's no
guarantee that the next administration (which most likely will
be led by Bush Jr) won't try to undue much of what's been done
this decade.

- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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