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David Kimmett, King County Parks, david.kimmett@kingcounty.gov (Presenter)

 

Forested areas of urbanized landscapes provide a wide range of ecosystem services - environmental, social, and economic. King County, like many local jurisdictions, has strategically acquired numerous forested parcels through long term open space preservation initiatives. The first need for a long-term forest stewardship effort that conserves and enhances forest health is to establish baseline forest conditions. King County Parks is collaborating with Forterra, a Seattle-based land conservation organization, and forest consultants International Forestry (INFO), on a forest assessment of over 23,000 acres of public open space lands distributed across 150 park sites in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. The partners have developed a rapid "Forest Landscape Assessment Tool"(FLAT) that allows field staff to gather descriptive data about forest conditions quickly. Habitat management units (HMU) are delineated and mapped for each site based on forest type and other site characteristics and uses. Once the data is collected and geo-referenced, a matrix analysis can be conducted across the multiple forest attributes for each park site. King County's collaboration with Forterra and INFO on the forest assessment will produce the following outcomes: establish base line forest data that identifies conditions that may need corrective and restorative actions; develop long term forest stewardship recommendations for King County managers; develop rapid forest assessment protocols that can be replicated on other public lands; and, identify opportunities to collaborate with public and private agencies on forest stewardship.