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Peter Landres Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, US Forest Service PowerPoint Presentation
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Peter Landres Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, US Forest Service

Peter Landres Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, US Forest Service

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Peter Landres Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, US Forest Service

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  1. EVALUATION FRAMEWORK FOR PROPOSED ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION IN WILDERNESS Peter Landres Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, US Forest Service Beth Hahn Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, National Park Service

  2. 757 areas 110 million ac / 44 million ha BLM, USFWS, USFS, NPS

  3. Wilderness Stewardship Reality: Several 800-pound Gorillas Spread of non-native invasive species Altered disturbance regimes: accumulated fuels from fire exclusion Fragmentation: A portion of Redwoods National Park Pollution: N deposition 1860 and 1993

  4. wilderness? Wilderness Stewardship Reality: Climate Change, the 800-ton Gorilla Muir Glacier, 1941 and 2004

  5. Reality: Ecological Systems in Wilderness Change and Always Will • Implications: • Does this change matter? What is “natural”? • Should we take restoration actions? • What do we gain and what do we lose? • Do the ends justify the means?

  6. Context: Wilderness Act of 1964 The mandate of the Wilderness Act is to preserve the area’s “wilderness character” Focus on two qualities of wilderness character for this webinar

  7. Howard Zahniser: “Once management undertakes to improve the wilderness…by manipulating natural processes in the wilderness itself, the fragile wilderness quality of the area being managed is in jeopardy.” Untrammeled has especially important symbolic and ethical value today Wilderness Act of 1964,Sec. 2(c) Definition of Wilderness “A wilderness…is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man” = freedom from intentional modern human control and manipulation = “untrammeled” = “wildness”

  8. Wilderness Act of 1964,Sec. 2(c) Definition of Wilderness • “An area of wilderness is further defined…retaining its primeval character and influence…which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions” • = species, patterns, and processes that evolved in the area • = “natural”

  9. Wilderness Ideal Restoration Action No Restoration Action Current Situation High Natural Low Low High Untrammeled CORE WILDERNESS VALUES

  10. Wilderness Stewardship Dilemma • Taking restoration action compromises the untrammeled value of wilderness • Not takingrestoration action may compromise the natural value of wilderness Don’t just stand there, do something! Don’t just do something, stand there!

  11. Examples of Manipulation to Restore Natural Conditions in Wilderness Eradicating weeds to restore native plants and plant communities Spraying herbicide Biocontrol agents

  12. Examples of Manipulation to Restore Natural Conditions in Wilderness Poisoning streams and lakes to kill non-native fish and restore or introduce native cutthroat trout

  13. Examples of Manipulation to Restore Natural Conditions in Wilderness Providing water to restore desert ungulate populations

  14. What is “Natural” in Wilderness? • Pristine — without human influence, the “Garden of Eden” • Autonomous — free from modern intentional human control or manipulation, untrammeled, self-willed, wild • Historical fidelity — the biophysical elements, species, compositions, and processes that historically occurred in the area From: Beyond naturalness—rethinking park and wilderness stewardship in an era of rapid change. 2010. Cole and Yung, editors. Island Press, Washington, DC

  15. What is “Natural” in Wilderness? • What does autonomous and historical fidelity mean when ecological systems in wilderness are changing? • Historic conditions may not be appropriate planning targets • Emergence of novel ecosystems • Uncertainties – ecological changes and restoration efficacy

  16. Wild Versus Natural Wild And Natural Right versus Right Dilemma A Classic “WICKED” Problem

  17. Manipulation is not justified for any reason (2 wrongs don’t make a right) Manipulation is justified to restore naturalness (it is our responsibility) Current problems are deemed acceptable (although not desired) Current problems are deemed unacceptable (we must do something) Potential results of action may be worse than the results of inaction (do no harm is the first rule) Potential results of inaction may be worse than the results of action (doing something is better than nothing) Should Restoration Actions be Taken? (Overstated) Opposing Ethical Views GOAL: Untrammeled / Let It Be GOAL: Natural / Restore

  18. Ecological Restoration in Wilderness: Complexity, Uncertainty, Conflict, Risk • Increasing need for technical assistance and decision support • National Wilderness Preservation System is diverse • Federal agencies are expanding climate adaptation actions • Restraint as a valid option

  19. Ecological Restoration in Wilderness: Complexity, Uncertainty, Conflict, Risk • Increasing need for technical assistance and decision support • National Wilderness Preservation System is diverse • Federal agencies are expanding climate adaptation actions • Restraint as a valid option • Complexity, uncertainty, conflict, risk • Law and Policy • Scientific and Technical Issues • Values and Ethics • Preliminary Evaluation Framework • Workshop held March 2014 – Agency, University participants

  20. Preliminary Evaluation Framework for Proposed Ecological Restoration in Wilderness Goal Systematic, broadly applicable, and locally flexible tool Outcomes • Facilitate informed decision-making by wilderness managers • Increase transparency and defensibility of decisions • Improve stakeholder communication and awareness • Preserve wilderness character

  21. Preliminary Evaluation Framework for Proposed Ecological Restoration in Wilderness Approach Basic Premises Structured Decision-Making, an organized approach to identifying and evaluating options and making choices for complex decisions • Be wary of “action bias”: first decide if action is necessary, then decide the minimum tool to accomplish the action • Be wary of oversimplification: decisions need to consider whether benefits outweigh impacts • Be wary of “one size fits all”: every situation is different (e.g., place, values at risk, threats, attitudes, knowledge)

  22. Preliminary Evaluation Framework for Proposed Ecological Restoration in Wilderness Evaluation Framework Step 1: Describe the Situation Step 2: Frame the Evaluation Step 3: Analyze the Proposal Range of Restoration Action Alternatives Step 4: Complete NEPA and Make a Decision Step 5: Implement, Monitor and Adapt

  23. Example: Whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis Status Candidate species under ESA Keystone species 84% of WBP occurs on Federal land 48% of WBP occurs in wilderness Threats Exotic White pine blister rust Mountain pine beetle Fire exclusion Climate change Restoration actions Prescribed fire Thinning Planting rust-resistant seedlings

  24. Step 1: Describe the Situation (Minimum Requirements Analysis, Step 1) 1.1 Is there a problem that may prompt ecological restoration action (i.e. trammeling)? 1.2 Is restoration needed here and now in this wilderness? (Why here, why now?)

  25. Step 1: Describe the Situation (Minimum Requirements Analysis, Step 1) 1.1 Is there a problem that may prompt ecological restoration action (i.e. trammeling)?

  26. Step 1: Describe the Situation (Minimum Requirements Analysis, Step 1) 1.2Is restoration needed here and now in this wilderness? (Why here, why now?)

  27. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.1 Is the proposal sufficient for an initial evaluation? 2.2 Is restoration action necessary? Criteria from Minimum Requirements Analysis, Step 1 2.3 How much analysis is needed – complex or simple? 2.4 Is the proposal sufficient for a complex evaluation?

  28. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.1 Is the proposal sufficient for an initial evaluation?

  29. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.2 Is restoration action necessary? Criteria from Minimum Requirements Analysis, Step 1

  30. 2.3 How much analysis is needed – complex or simple?

  31. Whitebark Pine Restoration

  32. Whitebark Pine Restoration

  33. Whitebark Pine Restoration

  34. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.4 Is the proposal sufficient for a complex evaluation? • Science

  35. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.4 Is the proposal sufficient for a complex evaluation? • Science • Implementation

  36. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.4 Is the proposal sufficient for a complex evaluation? • Science • Implementation • Monitoring

  37. Step 2: Frame the Evaluation 2.4 Is the proposal sufficient for a complex evaluation? • Science • Implementation • Monitoring • Values and Ethics

  38. Step 3: Analyze the Proposal 3.1 Define restoration action alternatives 3.2 Predict effects, uncertainties, risks

  39. Step 3: Analyze the Proposal 3.1 Define restoration action alternatives

  40. Step 3: Analyze the Proposal • 3.2 Predict effects, uncertainties, risks for all alternatives: • Essential Elements for NEPA Consideration • Effects of Implementation and Restoration Outcome(s) • Cumulative Effects • Uncertainties • Risk – probability and severity of adverse outcome • For each quality of wilderness character: • Untrammeled • Natural • Undeveloped • Solitude or Primitive and Unconfined Recreation • Other Features of Value

  41. Preliminary Evaluation Framework for Proposed Ecological Restoration in Wilderness Step 4: Complete NEPA and Make a Decision 4.1 Complete NEPA 4.2 Identify Proposed Action Step 5: Implement, Monitor and Adapt 5.1 Implement using Minimum Necessary Activity 5.2 Monitor 5.3 Evaluate restoration outcomes, adapt management

  42. Preliminary Evaluation Framework for Proposed Ecological Restoration in Wilderness • Comprehensive and Systematic – structured approach to evaluate criteria involving law and policy, ecological understandings, and ethical considerations • Broadly Applicable – relevant across all NWPS agencies and units • Locally Flexible – reflects local values regarding wilderness and restoration May be relevant to natural resource managers across all land designations and ownerships

  43. Preliminary Evaluation Framework for Proposed Ecological Restoration in Wilderness • Timeline – 2014 and 2015 • Pilot test across a variety of wildernessesand restoration issues (agencies, locations, sizes, complexities, certainties) • Review and revise • Develop presentations, webinars, papers • Develop online technical guide

  44. Questions? Comments? EARLY EXPERIMENTS IN TRANSPORTATION Beth Hahn beth_hahn@nps.gov Peter Landres plandres@fs.fed.us