Lassen National Forest
Plumas National Forest
Sierraville District, Tahoe National Forest

February 12, 1998

Prepared by:

Debbie Bliss
Ken Roby
Jo Ann Fites


A draft plan to monitor implementation and effectiveness of Forest Health Pilot (FHP) projects was completed in summer of 1997. Monitoring activities were initiated soon thereafter. This report summarizes the plan, describes monitoring activities undertaken in 1997 and the first half of 1998, outlines results and presents the program of work for 1998.

A. Objectives

The FHP monitoring plan has three primary objectives: 1) to determine if projects were implemented as planned, 2) to assess project effects on resources and 3) to assess project effectiveness.

B. Overall Approach

1) Conceptual Framework
An adaptive management circle provides the overall conceptual framework for the monitoring plan. The circle shows the continuum between planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluating. Projects are reviewed to determine which plans were implemented and effective. Results are then used to adjust plans and projects. A more detailed conceptual model, based upon ecosystem components and processes is being developed by the Sierran Province Monitoring Team at this time. This plan will tier to the more detailed conceptual framework from that effort.

The Adaptive Management Cycle

2) Questions
FHP projects (to date) have been designed to improve stand health and reduce risk of stand replacing fires and (for watershed restoration projects) improve riparian and aquatic condition. The monitoring plan was developed to answer a series of questions related to the effectiveness and environmental effects of the treatments. Some of the questions are:

1) Are Soil Quality Standards being met?
2) What is the impact of treatment in streamside zones?
3) Are BMP's implemented and effective?
4) What is the effect of treatments in modifying fire behavior?
5) What are the short term differences between treated and untreated stands in terms of wildlife habitat, fire resiliency, forest composition diversity and stand health? What are the long term changes in characteristics listed above?
6) Are watershed restoration projects effective in meeting objectives?
7) Are there differences in hypogeous fungi diversity and productivity as a result of treatments?
8) What is the trend in aquatic habitat condition of selected watersheds?

3) Components
The monitoring plan has two distinct components: implementation and effectiveness or trend monitoring. Each addresses a different series of the above mentioned questions.

a. Implementation Monitoring. Implementation monitoring includes on-site, subjective reviews by key project team members. These reviews address if projects were implemented as designed, and if they appeared to meet resource objectives.

b. Effectiveness Monitoring - Site Scale On-site evaluation of randomly selected projects are designed to assess effectiveness of treatments in:

meeting silvicultural treatment objectives, meeting fuels objectives,
meeting soil quality objectives,
implementing BMPs and
meeting on-site water quality protection objectives, trend in condition of selected stream reaches.

These measures also provide a baseline for tracking effectiveness of treatments over time, and provide information for larger scale analysis including modeling of wildlife habitat and fire risk.

c. Effectiveness Monitoring - Landscape scale.
Direct landscape measures (i.e. vegetation characteristics from remote imagery) and extrapolation of site-scale measurements to the landscape scale are being applied to monitor:

trend in acres burned by wildfire
trend in wildfire hazard
trend in acres of wildlife habitat

4) Sampling Design
A statistical sample design was developed to test for changes in monitoring indicators with treatment and over time. A stratified random approach was used. First, the FHP landscape was stratified into major ecological groups for sampling (Table 2). Ecological groups represent different major vegetation types and microclimate (aspect). The purpose was to develop strata where vegetative responses to treatments (i.e. thinning or burning) would be similar. For example, red fir forests would likely respond differently than eastside pine. The ecological groups were mapped using: elevation, aspect, ecological zone (i.e. transition, eastside, westside), slope (for eastside pine only), dominant forest type (from Remote Sensing Lab timber inventory eastside maps).

Each treatment unit was assigned to an ecological group and treatment type (Table 3). We expect that there will be different responses (i.e. vegetation regrowth) to different treatments, as well as ecological groups. Unique combinations of ecological groups and treatment types represent a sampling strata.

Table 2. Major ecological groups used for sampling in the FHP area.

Strata 1 - westside mixed conifer moist
Strata 2 - westside mixed conifer dry
Strata 3 - westside white fir moist
Strata 4 - westside white fir dry
Strata 5 - transition mixed conifer moist
Strata 6 - transition mixed conifer dry
Strata 7 - transition/eastside white fir
Strata 8 - transition/eastside yellow pine
Strata 9 - eastside yellow pine moist
Strata 10 - eastside yellow pine dry
Strata 11 - red fir
Strata 12 - lodgepole pine

Table 3. Treatment types used for FHP projects.

Thin and burn

Ten units in each of the combined ecological group-treatment type classes were targeted for sampling to attain a balanced statistical design. However, there were not always ten of each treatment type within each ecological group. In addition to the randomly selected treatment units, ten additional locations were randomly selected from the Forest Health Pilot area. While these are not controls per se (some may have previous management activity), they provide a basis for comparison with the treated sites and additional detailed data on fuels and wildlife habitat to address landscape-scale questions- they are referred to as reference sites.

The approach was designed to allow consideration of landscape questions and statistical analysis of the on-site treatments. The sampling approach allows extrapolation of data from the units sampled to the rest of the landscape in that category (ecological group x treatment type). This permits analysis of fire hazard, fire behavior, and wildlife habitat across the landscape. An analysis of variance will be the primarily statistical method for determining which treatments and ecological groups differ amongst themselves and with the untreated areas.


The following accomplishments are as of December 31, 1997:

A) The Draft FHP Monitoring Plan was written.

B) A strata map was developed for the sampling. This map covers the entire FHP area and stratifies the landscape into the 12 different ecological groups.

C) A database was created with over I 000 FHP project units characterized by treatment type and ecological group. Within the database, 161 units were randomly selected for sampling. These 161 units are spread over the tri-Forest area, and are the basis for establishment of monitoring plots on the ground.

D) FHP Contract has been prepared and awarded. Steve Holmes successfully bid on the Plumas and Sierraville portion of the contract. Shasta Land Management Company successfully bid on the Lassen portion. Steve Holmes was able to begin work on the Sierraville District and completed 63 plots. He also began work on the Mt. Hough district and completed 21 plots. Shasta Land Management Company was not able to begin work on the Lassen plots due to winter weather.

E) Reference stands were randomly selected in GIS and delineated using digital orthophoto quads. Mylar overlays were printed up for use in the field work of setting up the monitoring plots.

F) A map of the stream reaches for SCI (watershed reference sites) is completed.

G) Force account field work has been accomplished in every aspect of the monitoring plan:

106 soil quality plots completed
22 stream reaches completed
30 BMP plots completed
60 reference vegetation plots completed
33 fuels plots completed


A)  Implementation Monitoring
This monitoring will occur on all FHP vegetation/fuels projects and all watershed restoration projects. Standardized forms based upon BMP monitoring will be completed in the field.

B)  Effectiveness Monitoring- Site Scale
Force account field work of selected units will continue in spring of 1998. Contractors will also start up again in the spring. Steve Holmes has ten more units to do on Sierraville and most of the Plumas left to do. Shasta Land Management Company has all of their plots to do. All contract work will be finished by June 1, 1998.

1) Vegetation/Forest Health/Fuels/Wildlife Habitat
Reference plots will continue to be accomplished with Forest Service personnel. Shrub and fuels transacts within the contracted plots will also be accomplished with Forest Service personnel. Table 4 shows the number of plots that need to be monitored in 1998.

Table 4. Number of plots to be completed in 1998, by District.

District Vegetation Plots Shrub Transects Fuels Transects
Hat Creek 54 plots 78 plots 78 plots
Almanor 36 plots 204 plots 186 plots
Eagle Lake 54 plots 66 plots 66 plots
Beckwourth 42 plots 147 plots 147 plots
Mt. Hough 54 plots 126 plots 126 plots
Feather River 33 plots 87 plots 87 plots
Sierraville 39 plots 147 plots 147 plots
Total 312 plots 855 plots 690 plots

2) Stream Reach Inventories
The Region 5 Stream Condition Inventory Protocol will be conducted on 14 streams, including 10 for the first time and 4 for the second time

3) BMP Evaluations
BMP evaluation forms will be completed for approximately 70 units.

4) Soil Quality Standards
A Sub-sample treatment areas for soil quality standards. Approximately 20% of sites sampled last year will be revisited. New sites will be added as projects are implemented, with a sample of 20% of new sites sampled each year.

5) Hypogeous Fungi
A contract with a University will be developed and implemented to sample biomass and/or diversity of fungi on a subset of the sample units.

6) California Spotted Owls
A spotted owl monitoring plan will be developed to monitor the effects of FHP projects on presence and reproduction of spotted owl . Dr. Jared Verner is being consulted on this task.

7) Analysis of Data
Analysis, including statistical analysis, of all the monitoring information (include BMP'S, soil quality, stream surveys, and vegetation and fuels plots) will occur. The analysis is designed to help answer the questions from the Monitoring Plan.

B) Effectiveness Monitoring-Landscape Scale
All treated and reference stands will be digitized into the GIS system. This will be used to update existing vegetation layers. Site-scale data on fuels and wildlife habitat elements not measurable remotely (i.e. large snags) will be analyzed and used to extrapolate to landscape scale patterns. Analysis of landscape measures of wildlife habitat will be conducted using the updated vegetation layer. Fire behavior will be modeled probabilistically in a Monte Carlo fashion to assess likely changes in fire behavior. The FARSITE fire behavior model will be utilized for this effort.

C) Scientific Review
Additional scientific review of the monitoring plan will be occur and feedback will be incorporated into the plan. Different components of the plan have already been reviewed by various scientists including Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station (Phil Weatherspoon, Bill Laudenslayer, Malcolm North, Bruce Bingham) and University (Jerry Franklin) scientists.

D) Adaptive Management Review
An adaptive management review will occur. Both internal agency and external public meetings will be held to share results of monitoring and gather feedback on implications. The external public review will include both scientists and members of the general public.


Implementation Monitoring
This should occur within I year of project completion for all projects that fall under an Adaptive Management approach.

Effectiveness Monitoring- Site Scale
The timing of this monitoring will vary depending on the specific item to be monitored, as follows:

A) Soil Quality Standards
1O% of base sites will be resampled every 5 years for 20 years.

B) Streamside areas
Future sampling of selected streamside areas will have site specific timing requirements.

All evaluations will be done when at least one winter has passed between treatment and sampling.

D) Vegetation/Fuels/Wildlife Habitat plots
The return sampling interval will be 5 years. Remeasurements will be staggered so that the same number will be sampled each year. Some treated sites will be resampled within one year of treatment- those sites where treatments have not already occurred at this time.

E) Quantitative watershed restoration project monitoring
Sampling timing will vary depending on attributes of interests, typically, low flow (summer). Measurements will be conducted before and after restoration at the restoration sites.

F) Hypogeous Fungi
Sampling to done during the field season at first on an annual basis and later at 5 year intervals.

Effectiveness Monitoring-Landscape Scale

A) Stream Condition Inventories (SCI)
Following SCI protocols, sample during low flows (June-October).

B) Vegetation/Fuels/Wildlife Habitat
Variable and on-going. As data becomes available, through plot data and other sources, link data to GIS to display changes over time in key resource attributes. Aggregate landscape measures (i.e. wildlife habitat amount and quality) will be updated annually.

C) Long -term fire frequency and severity
Variable and on-going. Annual input of fire report data. Fire behavior in fires greater than 5 acres: Sampling will be done as soon after each fire as possible, but prior to November I of each fire season.

Item $$ Spent in 1997 $$ Spent in 1998
Vegetation/wildlife   FHP contract: $80,000  
Habitat/fuels   Force Account: $21,582 $ 93,000
Hypogeous fungi     $ 20,000
Streams $38,000   $ 11,400
BMP's $ 8,421 $ 2,162 $ 7,000
Soil Quality $20,000 $ 3,000 $ 10,000
Plan./Coord./Analysis $26,573 $10,684 $ 34,000
Implementation Monitoring     $8,000
TOTAL $92,934 $117,428 $183,400


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