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  • Ohios Statewide Forest Resource Assessment - 2010

    June 2010

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    Ohios Statewide Forest Resource Assessment 2010 David Lytle, PhD., Chief and State Forester

    Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry 2045 Morse Road, Building H-1

    Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693

    Table of Contents Page Nondiscrimination Notice 2 Section 1 Introduction 3 Section 2 Conditions and Trends 5 Criterion 1 Conservation of Biological Diversity 6 Criterion 2 Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems 43 Criterion 3 Maintenance of Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality 47 Criterion 4 Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources 68 Criterion 5 Maintenance of Forest Contribution to Global Carbon Cycle 78 Criterion 6 Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-term Multiple

    Socioeconomic Benefits to Meet the Needs of Society 81 Criterion 7 Legal, Institutional, and Economic Framework for Forest

    Conservation and Sustainable Management 106 Section 3 Existing and Emerging Benefits and Services 112 Section 4 Issues, Threats, and Opportunities 114 Section 5 Priority Forest Areas 116 Summary 127 Literature Cited 133 Appendix 138

    A. Summary of stakeholder input A-1 Regional Stakeholder Meetings A-1 Stakeholder Surveys A-3 Meetings with Key Partners & Statewide Committees A-15

    B. Geospatial analysis: rural lands methodology A-16 C. Potential multi-state priority areas and projects: A-22

    Appalachian Region A-22 Great Lakes A-33 Ohio River Basin A-36 Upper Ohio River Appalachian Forests A-44

    MORWOOD A-46 D. Issues and Actions from the 1983 Ohio Forest Resource Plan A-47 E. Chronology of the Ohio Forest Tax Law Program A-48

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    Nondiscrimination Notice The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry receives funding assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture in the delivery of certain programs. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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    Section 1 - Introduction In 1983, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry completed a statewide evaluation of Ohios forest resources and developed the Ohio Forest Resource Plan (see Appendix for summary of report). While periodic reports by the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit have provided valuable trend data for Ohios forest resources (e.g., Griffith et al. 1993, Widmann et al. 2009), this document represents the first statewide, comprehensive forest resource assessment in Ohio since 1983. The findings of this Forest Resource Assessment will be integrated into the accompanying Forest Resource Strategy document. The Forest Resource Strategy also considers and complements other existing strategic plans including the Ohio Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (released in 2005), the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP 2008), and local Community Wildfire Protection Plans. The combined documents, called the Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy (FRAS), can be considered as a pilot for this integrated approach to evaluating and managing Ohios forest resources. These documents will be living documents that will be amended and updated as new data become available, and they have an expected life expectancy of 5 years before the first major review/update.

    Purpose The purpose of the FRAS document is to provide a basis upon which future strategic directions and actions can be evaluated and selected. It is to be used by the Division of Forestry as well as existing and potential partners to marshal limited resources towards addressing identified forest issues and threats. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Federal Farm Bill) requires each state to complete a Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Statewide Forest Resource Strategy to continue to receive funds under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act. The Assessment will help ensure that resources are being focused on important landscape areas with the greatest opportunity to address shared management priorities and achieve meaningful outcomes.

    Scope The Assessment will cover:

    An analysis of present and future forest conditions and trends on all ownerships in the state, including analysis of market and non-market forces.

    Identify threats to forest lands and resources in the state consistent with national priorities (listed below).

    Identify forest related benefits and services. Delineate priority forest landscape areas in the state across themes and programs, ownerships,

    and the urban to rural continuum, to be addressed by the Statewide Forest Resource Strategy. Delineate any multi-State areas that are a regional priority.

    The USDA Forest Service has identified three national priorities that are to be addressed through an assessment process. These priorities are: 1) Conserve and Manage Working Forest Landscapes for Multiple Values and Uses, 2) Protect Forests from Threats, and 3) Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests.

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    Methods Through a comprehensive analysis of forest resource conditions and trends across Ohio, key issues and threats to Ohios forest resources are identified, as well as the benefits and services that they provide. A framework of criteria and indicators (C & I) was used for this critical component of the assessment. This framework uses seven criteria and 18 indicators to assess Ohios forest resources. It was adopted by the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters (NAASF) as a method to assess the sustainable management of forests at both the state and regional levels. The adopted framework is a direct offshoot of an international effort referred to as the Montreal Process that uses seven criteria and 64 indicators. The C & I framework adopted by NAASF uses a subset of indicators that are appropriate at the state and regional scale as opposed to the global scale. To supplement the results of the assessment of forest conditions and trends, a broad-based group of stakeholders were consulted to develop a draft list of key issues, threats, and opportunities. A public comment period for draft assessment and strategy documents also provided critical input. Key partner organizations and agencies, including all required stakeholder groups identified in the 2008 Federal Farm Bill, were consulted at various stages of the process, including the formal periods of stakeholder input and individual meetings. More details about stakeholder input are provided in Section 4 and in Appendix A of this assessment. Another critical component of the assessment process was the comprehensive geospatial analyses that were conducted to identify potential priority forests and priority landscapes across the state, using overlay analysis techniques with GIS software (ArcGIS versions 9.3). Results from these various assessment components are reported in this report. They form the foundation for developing a comprehensive Statewide Forest Resource Strategy.

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    Section 2 - Forest Conditions and Trends Forest conditions and trends for the State of Ohio were assessed using a framework of criteria and indicators that was developed to assess the sustainability of forests in the northeastern United States. The criteria and indicators used in this assessment were developed from the Montreal Process, which is a larger system of criteria and indicators that assesses forest sustainability of temperate and boreal forests at the global scale (The Montreal Process 2009). The following criteria and indicators are used in this assessment. Criterion 1. Conservation of Biological Diversity Indicator: 1. Area of total land, forest land, and reserved forest land

    2. Forest type, size class, age class, and successional stage 3. Extent of forest land conversion, fragmentation, and parcelization 4. Status of forest/woodland communities and associated species of concern

    Criterion 2. Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems Indicator: 5. Area of timberland

    6. Annual removal of merchantable wood volume compared with net growth Criterion 3. Maintenance of Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality Indicator: 7. Area of forest land affected by potentially damaging agents Criterion 4. Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources Indicator: 8. Soil quality on forest land

    9. Area of forest land adjacent to surface water, and forest land by watershed 10. Water quality in forested areas

    Criterion 5. Maintenance of Forest Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles Indicator: 11. Forest ecosystem biomass and forest carbon pools Criterion 6. Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-Term

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