Montana Forest Restoration Committee
Restoring Montana's Forests - A New Approach

Definitions (Appendix A)

Adaptive management: The process of learning as you go, where the research results and monitoring are continually brought forward and management practices are continually reassessed as new information becomes available.

Active management: Strategies designed to attain desired ecosystem objectives and future conditions by applying cultural operations and forest management strategies (including natural process based management). These may include timber harvest, tree planting, thinning, prescribed burning, fertilization, grazing, weed control, improving wildlife habitat, stream channel reconstruction, erosion control, decommissioning of roads, trail and road maintenance and construction, and recreation resource maintenance and improvement.

Ecological integrity: The quality of a natural unmanaged or managed ecosystem in which the ecological processes are sustained, with genetic, species and ecosystem diversity assured for the future. An ecosystem has integrity when it is deemed characteristic for its natural region, including the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, rates of change and supporting processes.

Ecological processes: Processes fundamental to the functioning of a healthy and sustainable ecosystem, usually involving the transfer of energy and substances from one medium or trophic level to another.

Economic feasibility: The ability to obtain the financial resources necessary to conduct restoration projects on the ground. It is anticipated that these resources may come from congressionally appropriated funds, the commercial value of byproducts removed during restoration, and/or private philanthropy. An assessment of economic feasibility will include both a project budget and anticipated sources of funding to carry out the work proposed.

Ecosystem goods and services: The quantifiable goods and services that an ecosystem provides to humans, including consumables and non-consumables. Resource economists assign monetary values to these goods and services to estimate the economic value of a healthy ecosystem. Examples of ecosystem goods and services include but are not limited to timber, tourism, recreation opportunities, hunting and fishing, clean, abundant water, healthy fish and wildlife populations, productive soils, pollination of crops and native vegetation, and fulfillment of people's cultural, spiritual, intellectual needs.

Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs): Areas identified in a set of inventoried roadless area maps, contianed in the U.S. forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Vol. 2, dated November 2000, which area held at the National headquarters office of the Forest Service, or any subsequent update or revision of those maps.   

Landscape: A landscape is a relatively large area exhibiting a wide variety of natural biophysical settings and their associated patterns. Typically, a landscape contains a collection of stands. Treatments conducted at the "landscape level" are intended to collectively influence stand attributes within that landscape, including their location, quantity and/or distribution. Treatments designed to influence or mimic natural landscape-level patchiness, such as disturbances (e.g. fire, wind, flooding, insects, pathogens, and other change agents), may be prescribed at the stand level, or across multiple stands. Through design, stand-level treatments collectively influence the ecological integrity across the landscape.

Mechanical Treatment: Amy activity (excluding prescribed fire) used to modify vegetative structure or landscape condition that utilizes human controlled ground based equipment such as large machinery. Mechanical treatment can be used to reposition or remove vegetation to facilitate non-mechanical forest restoration activities such as prescribed fire. The appropriate type of mechanical treatment is selected to achieve restoration objectives in a cost effective manner with the least impact to the environment. Mechanical treatments may, or may not, result in the removal of commercial products from the forest.

Natural Process: A process existing in or produced by nature rather than by the intent of human beings.
Natural process based management: Integration of a given species’ attributes, and the intensity of disturbances to which the species (or forest type) is adapted, into a management frame work that addresses both human needs and benefits and forest sustainability.

Natural Process-Based Management: Integration of a given species' attributes, and the intensity of disturbances to which the species (or forest type) is adapted into a management framework that addresses both human needs and benefits, and forest sustinability.

Old Growth: Old growth forests are considered ecosystems that are distinguished by old trees and related structural attributes. They encompass the later stages of stand development that typically differ from earlier stages in characteristics such as tree age, tree size, number of large trees per acre, and basal area. In addition, attributes such as decadence, dead trees, the number of canopy layers and canopy gaps are important but more difficult to describe because of high variability. See Green, et. al.  

Passive management: Strategies designed to attain desired ecosystem objectives and future conditions in which human intervention in an ecosystem is minimal and natural processes such as fire and insect and disease infestations are allowed to play out.

Prescribed fire: A fire management technique that purposely ignites fires in vegetated ecosystems to restore forest health and reduce fire hazard.

Resilience: Resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks.

Restoration: The intentional process which initiates the recovery of an altered ecosystem to a state of ecological integrity.

Restoration workforce: The collective workers, equipment, manufacturing infrastructure and expertise needed to economically implement ecological restoration projects.

Risk assessment: The process of identifying th probability that an adverse event will occur, identifying the elements that affect risk determinations, as well as the consequences of that event.

Risk management: The process of determining and acting upon policies and procedures established upon analyzing exposure to risk that fit within the management framework of the agency or decision-maker.

Road decommissioning: Activities that result in the stabilization and restoration of unneeded roads to a more natural state. Activities used to decommission a road include one or more of the following: 

(1) reestablishing former drainage patterns, stabilizing slopes, and restoring vegetation; 
(2) blocking the entrance to the road, installing water bars, removing culverts, reestablishing drainage-ways, and removing unstable fills; 
(3) pulling back road shoulders; 
(4) converting roads to trails; 
(5) scattering slash on the roadbed; 
(6) complete elimination of the roadbed by restoring natural contours and slopes; and 
(7) other methods designed to meet the specific conditions associated with the land around the unneeded road.

Silvicultural treatments: A variety of treatments applied to achieve broad management and restoration objectives. Treatments are specifically applied for such purposes as reducing tree density, increasing vigor, changing species composition, modifying structure, inducing regeneration, removing infected/infested trees, enhancing forage, and recovering forest products needed by society.

Stand: A group of trees that are more or less homogeneous with regard to species composition, habitat type, density, size, ecological function, and other characteristics. Treatments conducted at the "stand-level" are typically intended to modify specific characteristics of the stand including species composition, density, structure, condition and/or age.

Sustainability: The ability of any enduring social or natural system to continue functioning into the indefinite future without being forced into decline through exhaustion of key resources. In a sustainable system, the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment for future generations. Essentially, it is recognized that economic security, community vitality, equity, quality of life, and commitment to the welfare of future generations depends upon maintaining and restoring ecological integrity.

Vulnerability assessment: The evaluation of the degree to which social, ecological, or economic values are susceptible to adverse effects from climate change. Vulnerability assessments are intended to inform the development of policy options and management actions that reduce risks associated with climate change.

Wildland fire use: The management of a natural ignition occurring under pre-determined parameters to meet resource objectives.