Don Baccus dhogaza at
Tue Sep 7 20:41:48 EST 1999

In article <01bef3b9$54b54de0$03f47880 at bob>, Bob Taylor <rtaylor at> wrote:
(and Larry before him)

>> 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.

>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.

Yes, the data indicates a continued decline.  However, a decline
was predicted when the NW Forest Plan was put together.  I forget
when the trough was predicted, i.e. when numbers would stop declining.
In the next decade?  Something like that, I presume.

So the issue I've heard debated is whether or not the decline
is following the projections in place for various management
options when the Plan was cobbled together.  In other words,
is there a decline in excess of the expected decline, which
trailed the loss of habitat.  As I'm certain folks know, when
habitat is lost birds frequently will nest in marginal or
even unsuitable habitat, frequently failing to fledge young or
to fledge young in the numbers needed to balance mortality.
Thus, it isn't unusual to see decline lag behind habitat loss.
So stabilization of habitat isn't necessarily going to end
declines immediately.

The biologist I know who was on the committee - a bird, but not
NSO, specialist - didn't think there was any cause for concern
last time I talked to him, saying at worst the data was 
inclusive in his opinion.

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

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