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.

Annual Ring

Bands that show tree growth for one year, as viewed on the cross section of a trunk core sample or stump. Can be counted to determine a tree’s age.

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).

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.



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.


A regeneration harvest which removes all of the trees from an area of land at one time.

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.


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.

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.


The branches and foliage of a tree.


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.



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.


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.


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.

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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).

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.


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.Private Forestland

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



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

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.


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.


Second-Growth Forests

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


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


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.

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.

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.

Sustained Yield

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



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.


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.Turbidity

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



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.


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).


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.


Zones – Core, Inner and Outer

  1. Core Zone – The no-harvest area closest to a protected stream.
  2. 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.
  3. Outer Zone – The area beyond the inner zone, managed to protect special riparian sites or to support riparian protection.