Adaptive Management / Adaptive Management Process – The process of gathering and using scientific research to evaluate forest management decisions and practices. Research and monitoring provide feedback to quickly validate or improve practices on the ground.

Anadromous Fish – Fish that reproduce and live the first part of their lives in fresh water, then migrate to the ocean to spend their adult lives. The time in the ocean may be as short as six months or as long as seven years before the fish return to freshwater to spawn. Salmon and steelhead are anadromous fish.

Aquatic-Dependent Species – Species or organisms dependent on aquatic resources for survival.


Basal Area Stand Requirements – One of the performance measures used for managing riparian forests of various ages under the Forests & Fish Law. The Basal Area is the area in square feet of the cross section of tree stems including the bark, measured at 4½ feet above the ground. The stand requirements are stated as the total basal area for all of the trees on one acre of ground.

Best Management Practices – Methods established by regulation that have been scientifically determined to be the most effective, practical means of managing timber land while protecting the environment. The term originated from the rules and regulations developed pursuant to Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act (40 CFR 130).

Biological diversity or biodiversity the variety of life in all its forms and all its levels of organization. Biodiversity refers to diversity of genetics, species, ecosystems, and landscapes.

Board foot  a unit for measuring wood volume in a tree, log, or board. A board foot is commonly 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 inch, but any shape containing 144 cubic inches of wood equals one board foot.

Bole  the trunk of a tree.

Broadcast burn – A prescribed fire method where fire is applied generally to most or all of an area within well-defined boundaries to meet specified objectives for improved ecological health and resiliency.

Buffers / Buffer Zone – The trees or forest adjacent to an area requiring attention or protection. For example, areas along streams that are managed to protect and support fish habitat.


Canopy – Forest layer made up of treetops and large, overlapping tree branches.

Channel Migration Zone – The area in certain broad, relatively flat valley bottoms where streams are likely to move from their current channel and form a new channel some distance away.

Clean Water Act (CWA) – The principal federal legislation directed at protecting water quality for fish, shellfish and wildlife.

Clearcutting – A regeneration harvest which removes all of the trees from an area of land at one time. Clearcutting is used to aid species whose seedlings require full sunlight to grow well.

Clinometer – an instrument used to determine the height of a tree.

Commercial forestland (aka timberland) – any area capable of producing 20 cubic feet of timber per acre per year that has not been protected from such use by law or statute.

Commissioner of Public Land – The publicly elected official who manages the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and chairs the Board of Natural Resources, which sets policy for DNR managed lands. The Commissioner also chairs the state Forest Practices Board, which sets regulations concerning private timber harvests, forest road building, and other forest management practices.

Conifer – A cone-bearing tree with needles, such as pines, spruces, firs, and larches.

Cooperative Monitoring Evaluation and Research (CMER) – A broad based committee appointed by the Forest Practices Board and charged with advancing science needed to support Adaptive Management, through effectiveness monitoring and research.

Cord – a unit of wood cut for fuel that is equal to a stack 4 x 4 by 8 feet or 128 cubic feet.

Cost Benefit Analysis – An economic analysis on the impacts of a proposed rule change required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Benefits of new regulation must be shown to outweigh the costs, and the state agency is required to select the least burdensome regulatory alternative that meets the rule making objectives.

Crown – The uppermost branches and foliage of a tree.

Cruise – a forest survey used to obtain inventory information and develop a management plan.

Cull – a sawtimber sized tree that has no timber value as a result of poor shape or damage from injury, insects or disease.

Culvert – A large pipe that allows water to cross under a road.


Deciduous Tree – A tree that loses its leaves or needles during the fall and winter.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) – The manager of Washington state forestlands. DNR oversees 2.2 million acres of forested trust lands. DNR is also the agency that is responsible for the enforcement of forest practices rules and regulations governing non-federal landowners in Washington state.

Diameter at breast height (dbh) – standard measurement of a tree’s diameter, usually taken at 4 1/2 feet above the ground.

Drip torch – Firefighters use these torches, that drip a flaming liquid mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline, to ignite fires in burnout operations.


Ecologythe study of interactions between organisms and their environment.

Ecosystem – Abbreviation for ecological system, defined as a total collection of living organisms, together with their nonliving environment, in a particular area.

Endangered Species – A species that is designated by the government to be in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) – The primary federal law directed at preventing the extinction of species. It directs the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries) with primary responsibility for implementation and enforcement of this Act.

Environment – Prevailing conditions that reflect the combined influence of climate, soil, topography, and biology (other plants and animals) in an area. Environmental factors determine, in part, how well a particular tree will grow.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – An environmental analysis required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) when actions such as changes to the forest practices rules are proposed by state agencies. An EIS analyzes the impacts of proposed rule changes on all elements of the physical environment.

Estuarine – Water that has a connection with both salt and fresh water sources.

Evergreen Tree – A tree that retains some or most of its leaves or needles throughout the year.


Federal Listings – A process whereby the US Fish & Wildlife Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries) determines whether to add a species to the Federal lists of endangered and threatened species. Once listed, a species is afforded the full range of protections available under the ESA, including prohibitions on killing, harming or otherwise “taking” a species.

Felling  the cutting of standing trees.

Fire prevention – Activities directed at reducing the incidence of fires, including public education, law enforcement, personal contact, and reduction of fuel hazards (fuels management).

Fish and Stream Classification – Also referred to as stream typing. A prescribed classification system whereby streams are categorized based on water type and fish habitat characteristics.

Fish Habitat Streams – Streams providing habitat that is used by fish at any life stage at any time of the year, including potential habitat likely to be used by fish which could be recovered by restoration or management.

Forest – A plant community dominated by trees and other woody plants.

Forest Harvest – Removing trees on an area to obtain an income and a usable product, or to protect forest health.

Forest health – The condition of a forest ecosystem reflecting its ability to sustain characteristic structure, function, and processes; resilience to fire, insects and other disturbance mechanisms; adaptability to changing climate and increased drought stress; and capacity to provide ecosystem services to meet landowner objectives and human needs.

Forest Practice Application – An application required by state law to be filed with the Department of Natural Resources before conducting logging, road building, and most other forest management practices.

Forest Practices Act – State legislation passed in 1974, to protect timber supply, soil, water, fish, wildlife, and amenity resources by regulating timber removals, road construction and maintenance, reforestation and the use of forest chemicals (RCW chapter 76.09).

Forest Practices Board – An independent agency, established in 1975 as a part of the Forest Practices Act, chaired by the Commissioner of Public Lands and staffed by the Dept. of Natural Resources. The Board is empowered to adopt rules to implement the Forest Practices Act, and to monitor the rules to ensure that they are effective in meeting the intent of the Act.

Forests & Fish Law – A landmark law designed to greatly improve fish habitat in the streams of Washington’s forestland. With bipartisan support of the Washington State legislature, the law was signed by Governor Gary Locke in 1999.

Forests & Fish Report – The Forests & Fish Report is a consensus recommendation from federal, state, county, and many tribal governments, and private forest landowners for changes in forest practices, statutes, regulations, and management systems to achieve these goals for salmon recovery:

  1. Provide compliance with the Endangered Species Act for aquatic and riparian-dependent species on non-federal forestland;
  2. Restore and maintain riparian habitat on non-federal forestland to support a harvestable supply of fish;
  3. Meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act for water quality on non-federal forestland; and
  4. Keep the timber industry economically viable in the state of Washington.

Fuels treatment – Manipulation or removal of fuels to reduce the likelihood of ignition, lessen potential damage and resistance to control, reduce risk to values, and/or increase forest resiliency to fire (e.g., lopping, chipping, crushing, piling and burning).


Growth Rings – The layers of wood a tree adds each season; also called annual rings. These rings frequently are visible when a tree is cut and can be used to estimate its age and growth rate.


Habitat – The local environment of a plant or animal that provides the basic requirements of food, water and shelter needed to live and reproduce.

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) – A provision of the Endangered Species Act for agreements between the federal government and either a private landowner or public agency. In the agreements, the landowner or agency commits to a single or multi-species plan to protect listed species for a set period of time in exchange for assurance that as long as they follow the plan, they will not be liable for harm that may occur to the covered species.

Harvest – the cutting, felling, and gathering of forest timber.


Incidental Take – The “take” of a threatened or endangered species that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity.

Increment borer an augerlike tool with a hollow bit designed to extract cores from tree stems for the determination of age and growth rate.


Landing a cleared area within a timber harvest where harvested logs are processed, piled, and loaded for transport to a sawmill or other facility.

Large Woody Debris – Pieces of wood larger than 10 feet long and 6 inches in diameter, which have fallen into, or been placed in streams to create resting pools for salmon.

Leave Trees – Trees left standing by design after a harvest or thinning.


Mass Wasting – The technical name for landslides large and small. Mass wasting is a natural process where by mountains are worn down and valleys formed over time. Improper forest practices can accelerate mass wasting that may cause damage to fish streams.


National Marine Fisheries Service (now NOAA Fisheries) 4(d) rule – Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act allows development of regulations necessary to conserve threatened or endangered salmon. This section of the ESA encourages State and local problem solving that complement salmon recovery. Programs such as the Forest & Fish Law can receive authorization under Section 4(d).

Nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF) – forestland owned by a private individual, group, or corporation not involved in wood processing.

No Touch Zones – Forested areas where no harvesting of timber is allowed, typically for the purpose of protecting a stream or other geographic area.

Non-Fish Habitat Streams – Streams not expected to be occupied by fish, but important because they deliver water, organic matter, and sediments downstream to fish habitat.

Non-Point Source Pollution – Water pollution created from a source that has no particular or permanent point of input.


Old-growth forest – a wooded area, usually greater than 200 years of age, that has never been altered or harvested by humans. An old-growth forest often has large individual trees, a multi-layered crown canopy, and a significant accumulation of coarse woody debris including snags and fallen logs.

Overstocked – the situation in which trees are so closely spaced that they compete for resources and do not reach full growth potential.

Overstory – the level of forest canopy that includes the crowns of dominant, codominant, and intermediate trees.


Partial Cut – A harvesting plan that removes less than the total tree stand at any one time.

Pesticide Application – Usage of pesticides managed under forest practice regulations to meet water quality standards and to avoid significant harm to riparian vegetation.

Pile burn – A prescribed fire method where fire is applied directly to piles of vegetation resulting from logging or fuels management activities; fire is not intended to spread outside of pile perimeter.

Prescribed fire – Also sometimes called prescribed burn fire or controlled fire, this is when fire is intentionally applied by trained practitioners to vegetation to improve forest ecosystem health and resiliency. This includes two primary types of prescribed fire:  broadcast burning and pile burning.

Private Forestland – Forestlands owned and managed by large and small companies, families, and other private organizations and individuals.

Pulpwood  wood suitable for use in paper manufacturing.


Redd – A nest excavated in a gravel stream bed by a female salmon where fertilized eggs are deposited and develop.

Regeneration – the process by which a forest is reseeded and renewed. Advanced regeneration refers to regeneration that is established before the existing forest stand is removed.

Resident Fish – Resident fish are freshwater fish that live and migrate within the rivers, streams and lakes of a geographic area (in this case, Washington state), but do not travel to the ocean. Examples include cutthroat and bull trout.

Riparian – The area of land adjacent to and pertaining to the banks of streams, rivers or other water bodies.

Riparian Habitat – The area adjacent to and pertaining to the banks of streams, rivers or other water bodies that provide an organism with adequate food, water, shelter, and living space, and/or the conditions of that environment including the soil, vegetation, water, and food.

Riparian Management Zones (RMZ) – Also known as Streamside Management Zone. Vegetative areas adjacent to streams, rivers, lakes and ponds that are managed for the protection of water quality stream habitat. RMZs provide a buffer for shade, soil stability and contribute woody debris to streams.

Riparian-Dependent Species – Species or organisms dependent on riparian areas for survival.

Rot – a tree defect characterized by woody decay in a standing tree or log.

Rotation – the number of years required to grow a stand to a desired size or maturity.


Salvage cut – the removal of dead, damaged, or diseased trees to recover maximum value prior to deterioration.

Sawtimber – trees from which sawlogs can be made.

Second-Growth Forests – Forests that originated naturally or were planted on the site of a previous stand, which was removed by cutting.

Seed tree  a mature tree left uncut to provide seed for regeneration of a harvested stand.

Shade-Intolerant – Trees or plants that grow better in direct sunlight than in the shade of other trees. For example, Douglas fir or lodgepole pine.

Shade-Tolerant – Trees or plants able to develop and grow in the shade of, and in competition with, other trees. For example, grand fir and western hemlock.

Shelterwood harvest – the harvest of all mature trees in an area in a series of two or more cuts, leaving enough trees of other sizes to provide shade and protection for forest seedlings.

Silviculture – the art and science of growing forest trees.

Site – the combination of biotic, climatic, topographic, and soil conditions of an area.

Site index – a measure of the quality of a site based on the height of dominate trees at a specified age (usually 25 or 50 years), depending on the species.

Site preparation – treatment of an area prior to reestablishment of a forest stand. Site preparation can include mechanical clearing, burning, or chemical (herbicide) vegetation control.

Skidder – a rubber-tired machine with a cable winch or grapple used to drag logs out of the forest.

Skidding  the act of moving trees from the site of felling to a leading area or landing. Tractors, horses, or specialized logging equipment can be used for skidding. Skidding methods vary in their impact on soils and the remaining stands.

Slash – branches and other woody material left on a site after logging.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement (SBEIS) – An analysis of proposed agency rules required by the Regulatory Fairness Act to determine if there is a disparity in the impact on small businesses versus large businesses.

Snag – a dead tree that is still standing. Snags provide important food and cover for a wide variety of wildlife species.

Softwood Lumber – Wood from coniferous trees like pine, Douglas-fir or cedar. Conifer trees have needles or scale-like leave, bear cones and are usually evergreen.

Stand – a group of forest trees of sufficiently uniform species composition, age, and condition to be considered a homogeneous unit for management purposes.

Stand density the quantity of trees per unit area, usually evaluated in terms of basal area, crown cover and stocking.

Stocking – the number and density of trees in a forest stand. Stands are often classified as understocked, well-stocked or overstocked.

Sustained Yield – Harvest practices which, over time, ensure the rate of forest harvest does not exceed the rate of forest growth.


Take – The Endangered Species Act prohibits “take” of any threatened or endangered species, which means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect an animal, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.

Thinning – Tree removal in a forest stand that reduces tree density and tree-to-tree competition, encouraging increased growth of fewer, higher quality trees.

Threatened Species – A species that is designated by the government as likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) – A TMDL or Total Maximum Daily Load is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. A TMDL analysis usually results in an allocation of an amount of pollution that is allowed from each source so that the total does not exceed the water quality standard.

Tree farm  a privately owned forest managed on a multiple use basis with timber production as an important management goal.

Turbidity – Having sediment or foreign particles stirred up or suspended in water.


Understocked – a stand of trees so widely spaced, that even with full growth potential realized, crown closure will not occur.

Understory  the level of forest vegetation beneath the canopy.

Uneven-Aged – Refers to a forest that contains trees of a variety of ages and heights.

Unstable Slopes – An area where there is a high potential for landslides. In the context of this website, it refers to a forested area that that is carefully managed to protect against “mass wasting,” depositing coarse sediment and woody debris into streams.

US Forest Service – Established in 1905, the Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages the public lands in national forests.


Veneer log – a high-quality log of a desirable species suitable for conversion to veneer. Veneer logs must be large, straight, of minimum taper, and free from defects.

Virgin forest – an area of old-growth trees that never has been harvested by humans.


Water Quality Standards – Water quality standards are the foundation of the water quality-based control program mandated by the Clean Water Act. In Washington state, water quality standards are set by the Department of Ecology through a public process. A water quality standard consists of four basic elements:

  1. Designated uses of the water body (e.g., recreation, water supply, aquatic life, agriculture),
  2. water quality criteria to protect designated uses (numeric pollutant concentrations and narrative requirements),
  3. an antidegradation policy to maintain and protect existing uses and high quality waters, and
  4. general policies addressing implementation issues (e.g., low flows, variances, mixing zones).

Watershed – The land and water within the confines of a drainage basin. A sloping area of land that collects, directs, controls, and discharges the flow of rainwater into a single stream or other outlet through a series of smaller tributaries.

Watershed Analysis – A systematic procedure for characterizing watershed and ecological processes to meet specific management and social objectives. Watershed analysis is a component of ecosystem management planning applied to all of the land within a single watershed.

Watershed Analysis Unit (WAU) – A watershed of approximately 30,000 acres in size designated as a specific unit under forest practices rules. Watershed analysis under state rules is usually conducted on one WAU at a time.

Wetland Protection – In the context of this website, the process of managing riparian associated forested wetlands to protect riparian functions.

Wetlands – Geographic areas that are frequently inundated with water and are characterized by vegetation that requires saturated or seasonally saturated soils. Examples include bogs and marshes.

Wildlife habitat – the native environment of an animal. Habitats ideally provide all the elements needed for life and growth: food, water, cover and space.

Windthrow (aka blowdow) – a tree felled by wind. Windthrows, also known as blowdowns, are common among shallow-rooted species and in areas where cutting has reduced stand density.


Zones – Core, Inner and Outer – Core Zone – The no-harvest area closest to a protected stream.

  1. Inner Zone – The area between the Core and Outer Zones, managed to retain or improve riparian forest conditions as needed to provide for fish habitat and water quality.
  2. Outer Zone – The area beyond the inner zone, managed to protect special riparian sites or to support riparian protection.