McDonald-Dunn Research Forest Planning Process

The OSU College of Forestry is developing a new management plan for the McDonald and Dunn Research Forests, which is anticipated to be ready for implementation in 2025. This new plan will determine how the forests provide opportunities for teaching, research and outreach efforts of the College of Forestry. The new research forest plan will reflect the college’s diverse values, and will position the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest to be a model example of multiple value forest management. Management decisions and activities on the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest will be driven by College of Forestry research agendas, education and demonstration opportunities, and considerations of an inclusive balance of forest uses and values.

The process of developing the new management plan will involve opportunities for public input, and two committees working in tandem from spring 2022 through winter 2024.

  • Public input opportunities include two Community Listening Sessions, two Community Input Sessions, a webform through which written comments can be provided, and an email to which written questions can be sent. We usually respond within 21 days.
  • Two committees will assist in the development of the new plan: an external Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) and College of Forestry Faculty Planning Committee (FPC). Comments submitted through the webform will be forwarded to these committees.

Happening Now:

On Sept. 28, 2023, OSU and Starker Forests agreed to a land trade impacting the McDonald and Dunn Research Forests. Before this trade was complete, Starker Forests owned a Tetris block shaped tract in the middle of the McDonald Forest. After conversations spanning many years, OSU came to an agreement with Starker to incorporate this land into the McDonald Forest. In return for the Starker tract, OSU transferred the Spaulding Research Forest, as well as approximately 170 acres of the Dunn Forest to Starker ownership.

OSU is currently working through modeling for how best to incorporate and manage the now contiguous forest acreage. Part of this modeling includes determining which stands within the McDonald and Dunn Forests will be converted to managed reserves as part of the new Forest Management Plan.

Once the modeling is complete, OSU will be hosting a series of Community Input Sessions to provide public updates. More details and timing for these sessions will be communicated here as they become available.

Upcoming Meetings & Events:

Past Meetings & Events:

Planning Process Overview

Members of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Faculty Planning Committee

Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC): The committee engages a broad and diverse array of voices and perspectives in the planning process. The primary role of the SAC is to provide recommendations regarding the balance of forest uses, values and management practices and helps to ensure that broader stakeholder and public input is understood and reflected. SAC members are requested to share concerns and aspirations regarding the management of the forests to contribute to community expectations being understood by College of Forestry leaders and will be reflected in the alternative scenarios to be developed and evaluated during the management planning process. The SAC is not a decision-making body, but will work in tandem with the FPC to inform the development of a new management plan that will ultimately be reviewed and approved by the College of Forestry Executive Committee and Dean.

Faculty Planning Committee (FPC): This committee assists with technical product development related to the forest management plan. Members will provide input to help develop the new draft plan, independently assess modeled management scenarios, review various portions of the draft plan, help contribute to public input being evaluated and considered in the forest management planning process, and provide input on the implementation approach and communication strategies for long-term engagement and accountability. There may be coordination between subsets of the SAC and FPC around specific tasks and during key points in the planning process.

Research forest staff are not members of the SAC or FPC, but will be involved in discussions as needed, as technical resources. They will remain ex-officio in terms of committee decision-making.

The dean of the College of Forestry will make all final decisions regarding the new research forest management plan.

Once a plan has been adopted, a Research Forest Advisory and Implementation Committee will be formed and will be composed of technical specialists and faculty. This committee will consider implementation recommendations from the SAC and FPC. And the committee will provide an avenue for research forest staff to seek guidance on various forest management issues that arise during the implementation of the new forest plan.

Guiding principles throughout the plan development process

  • Maintain a focus on the three-pronged mission of college of Forestry research forests.
    ○ To create opportunities for education, research, and outreach to address the economic, social, and environmental values of current and future generations of Oregonians and beyond.
    ○ To demonstrate how an actively and sustainably managed forest fosters economic prosperity, biodiversity conservation, and resilience amidst disturbances and global change.
    ○ To support social and cultural values of forests, enhancing the wellbeing of local communities, Tribal communities, and our broader citizenship.
  • Thoroughly consider input from College of Forestry, other Oregon State University and agency partners, Tribal nations, neighbors of the research forests, and the general public.
  • Develop management alternatives, use modeling exercises to quantify tradeoffs associated with each alternative, and allow for public comment on these alternatives.
  • Provide transparency in decision-making.
  • Develop a plan that is adaptive in nature and can evolve as bioclimatic conditions and management issues and research focus change.

Public Engagement Overview

This process is built on the principle that informed stakeholders contribute to and advance meaningful partnerships. The broader community will have opportunities to provide input through several community listening sessions, provide written comments and questions through a webform and by email, and offer input regarding draft plan products.

The College of Forestry is committed to a public engagement process that is:

  • Meaningful: Input received will be considered in developing new plan content, implementation actions and outreach related to the Forest Management Plan.
  • Accountable: We will take serious and consider shared ideas, critique, comments and praise.
  • Inclusive: We will strive to communicate openly and clearly about the forest management plan and process with all stakeholders, including under-represented groups, in ways that people understand and can relate to.
  • Transparent: We will share information about the planning process in a variety of ways. We will publicly share and explain the plan and share background information that contributed to plan decisions.
  • Realistic: We will inform publicly the project’s constraints, scope and timeline, including requirements of the research forest and existing sideboards as described in the Vision, Mission, Goals of the research forests.
  • Outcome-oriented: We will create a community-involved and College adopted plan.