McDonald-Dunn Research Forest Planning Process

Overview of development of new Management Plan for McDonald & Dunn Research Forests

The McDonald and Dunn Research Forests provide the College of Forestry (COF), Oregon State University (OSU), the community of Corvallis, and beyond a wealth of opportunities for learning, teaching, demonstrations, discovery, recreation, and immersion in nature.

These Research Forests are currently managed according to a management plan developed in 2005. Dean Tom DeLuca formed the College Research Forests Advisory Committee in the fall of 2020, and charged them with creating a draft Vision, Mission, and Goals statement, and developing a process for creating a new forest management plan for the McDonald and Dunn Research Forests.

After collecting input from COF, the Vision, Mission, and Goals statement was finalized.

We’ve now initiated a process to create a new management plan for the Research Forests. We are using an inclusive approach to develop the plan. We expect the final product to reflect the COF's diverse values, position our forests to be a model of sustainable multiple-value forest management, and be adaptive so that it guides the management of our forests for many years to come. The process is timed so that the new plan will be ready for implementation in 2024.

Several steps have already been undertaken to prepare a solid foundation for the forest management planning process.

  • We recently conducted a forest inventory that will serve as the basis for evaluating tradeoffs resulting from different potential management approaches.
  • We hired Oregon Consensus (a program of the National Policy Consensus Center at the Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University) to assist with designing and facilitating stakeholder input into the new Forest Management Plan.
  • Oregon Consensus has conducted interviews with community members to better understand interests in the forests. The insight gained from these interviews will guide future steps in the planning process.
  • We have formed 2 committees: an internal Faculty Planning Committee and an external Stakeholder Advisory Committee. These committees consist of individuals that collectively represent a broad spectrum of interests and expertise. Both committees will work in tandem Spring 2022 – Summer 2023 to assist in the development of the new plan.
  • The broader community will have opportunities to provide input through several Community Listening Sessions scheduled over the course of the next few months.

Our guiding principles throughout the planning process will be:

  • Maintain a focus on the three-pronged mission of the COF research forests;
  • Thoroughly consider input from COF, University, agency partners, Tribes, neighbors, and the general public;
  • Develop management alternatives, use a modeling exercise to quantify tradeoffs associated with each, and allow for public comment on these alternatives;
  • Exert transparency in decision-making;
  • Develop a plan that is adaptive in nature and can evolve as bioclimatic conditions and management issues/focus change.

An overview of the forest management planning process is shown below.

McDonald-Dunn Research Forest Planning Process - history

The Oregon State University College of Forestry started the process that will lead to new McDonald and Dunn Research Forest Management Plans in 2019. Per a memo from former Interim Dean Anthony S. Davis to the college community on Oct. 21, 2019, followed by a charge letter from Dean Tom DeLuca in October 2020, an advisory committee selected the next steps in the Oregon State University Research Forests planning process. 

The new McDonald-Dunn Research Forest Plan will be a complementary and essential component of the college’s mission, reflect the college’s diverse values, and position the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest to be a model of multiple value forest management. Developing the plan will reflect ecological, recreational, cultural, financial, operational, and other attributes that emerge through a robust process.

This process will be built on the principle that informed stakeholders lead to meaningful partnerships. Ultimately, the plan will address the changes anticipated from the impacts of climate change and identify potential climate change mitigation strategies, such as carbon storage, while emphasizing management for diverse forest characteristics. The plan will ensure that the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest serves as a base for the teaching, research, and extension activity of the College of Forestry.

While the new plan is under development, all operations on the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest will be conducted in accordance with the 2005 Forest Plan

Historical Documents – Forest Management Planning Process

Aug. 28 and Oct. 2, 2019 Community Information Sessions – Question and Answer Summary 

2005 McDonald-Dunn Forest Plan

From 2004-2005, a faculty led committee came together to develop the plan with the help from public input. The plan was followed until 2009 and was reinstated in Fall 2019. Operations on the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest will be conducted in accordance with the 2005 Forest Plan until a new forest management plan is finalized.

The 2005 Forest Plan centered around four important themes created by a faculty led committee:

Theme #1: Short Rotation Wood Production with High Return on Investment. Establishes and manages Douglas-fir plantations to become financially competitive with intensively managed plantations of pine and other species in the southeastern United States and elsewhere, maximizing yields of wood products valuable for domestic mills.

Theme #2: High-quality, Growth maximizing Timber Production. Emphasizes long rotations of even-aged Douglas-fir dominated plantations, established, managed, and harvested on rotation cycles that optimize yield of high-quality wood, generally one to several decades longer than for Theme 1.

Theme #3: Visually Sensitive, Even-aged Forest. Seeks to create even-aged forests of primarily Douglas-fir using a two-storied, shelter wood system to maintain continuous tree cover with options for long-term retention of some shelter trees for non-wood forest values.

Theme #4: Structurally Diverse Complex Forest. Multi-aged, mixed-species forests of primarily Douglas-fir are established and managed using group-selection harvests, while maintaining structural diversity and associated habitats within stands.

Forest plan documents (pdfs):