The CBC sees great potential in the synergy between forest restoration and the forest industry to benefit the health of the basin’s forests, rivers, and its communities. Yet, due to a lack of comprehensive information on current ecological conditions across the entire Basin, it has not been possible to clearly define forest restoration needs or identify the long‐term ecological, economic, and social outcomes of different forest management strategies. Without this information, it has been difficult for the CBC to reach shared understandings, articulate a clear vision, and speak with a unified voice on issues of forest management. Working from available data sources, we have documented current vegetation conditions and identified restoration needs in forests throughout the Clearwater Basin. Our assessment considers all forest ownerships, including federal, state, private, and tribal. Ultimately, this information is intended to facilitate the CBC in developing and articulating a “shared vision” for where, how much, and what types of forest management activities the CBC advocates. More immediately, this assessment will help define current forest restoration/management needs and provide ecological context for CBC conversations on forest management.
Completed March 2013, the Phase 1 Landscape Assessment described the condition of forest ecosystems (ecological departure) across the Clearwater Basin and defined ecological restoration needs to move today’s forests back toward reference conditions. However, the Phase 1 assessment had several clear limitations because of the need to use data that was consistent and complete across the entire Clearwater Basin.