A recently completed assessment of Washington's forests is designed to help direct investments in timberland.

The Department of Natural Resources wrote the Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy to meet federal requirements for assistance programs offered to private forest landowners and communities.

"The assessment and strategy provides an important foundation for landowners and land managers in Washington as they make decisions that conserve and protect healthy, resilient forests," Peter Goldmark, commissioner of public lands, said in a news release.

The report includes maps and data that show trends in forest conditions and threats to forest values. The report highlights areas with disease outbreaks, those prone to catastrophic wildfire and where working forestlands can be conserved.

The strategies in the report seek to align and coordinate DNR actions with investments made by others, such as landowners, tribes and conservation groups.

High-priority areas have been designated "core landscapes" for special attention to fire prevention, health treatments and stewardship assistance.

Four such core landscapes surround Spokane. The survey specifies 84,529 acres for priority fuels treatment in the high-risk region. It recommends the various landowners involved -- the Spokane Tribe, private landowners, state agencies and U.S. Fish and Wildlife -- work across ownership boundaries to reduce fuel loads.

-- Steve Brown

Online

www.dnr.wa.gov (click on Forestry; Forest Health and Ecology/Redesign; documents are at bottom of page)

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