FWPP and the NAU School of Forestry are working together to develop Observatory Mesa into an outdoor learning laboratory for future forest managers and scientists! Beginning in Fall of 2017, the ‘Forest Ecosystem Assessment class’ will be establishing permanent forestry plots across Observatory Mesa (Monitoring plots across Obervatory Mesa).
The plots will be used to gather a range of biophysical monitoring data that will be compiled and tracked for multiple years to come. The monitoring data will include variables such as ground fuel, coarse woody debris, understory vegetation and shrubs, tree density and volume, and standing dead trees (snags). Photo points will also be established to visually track forest changes over time.
The goal of the project will meet two major objectives; 1) to provide undergraduate NAU forestry students with technical knowledge, skills, and experience in gathering biophysical data, analyzing, and interpreting ecological data and 2) to provide a long term monitoring project for FWPP to track the effects of forest thinning activities on Observatory Mesa over time. Thank you NAU School of Forestry professors and students who have made this possible! We look forward to seeing the initial data that you collect this Fall.
NAU School of Forestry students collecting monitoring data on Observatory Mesa
Ground-based thinning activities using mechanized equipment require the use of existing forest roads and the construction of new temporary roads to facilitate access to timber stands. In addition, whole-tree skidding of harvested trees requires a network of skid trails ending at landings where trees are delimbed and loaded onto trucks for transport to processing sites (mills, bioenergy facilities, etc.). These activities cause various types of disturbance to soils and ground cover that are mitigated through use of best management practices, known as “BMPs.” Fore more see: Best Management Practices_Final
This report is provided by: USDA Forest Service – Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff Ranger District
The FWPP project proposes landscape scale restoration that has the potential to affect more than 15 known Mexican Spotted Owl (MSO) protected activity centers (PACs). PACs are intended to sustain and enhance areas that are presently, recently or historically occupied by breeding MSOs, and must be at least 600 acres (USFWS 2012). A PAC is not intended to encompass the entire home range of an owl (USFWS 2012). For more information about the MSO, please refer to the 2012 Recovery plan for the Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), First Revision,
Included in this report are the results of the Flagstaff Ranger District 2015 MSO monitoring and inventory for the FWPP project area. For full report click here: 2015 FWPP MSO Monitoring Report_Final