We will soon be publishing our proposed lowland conifer old growth (LCOG) designation and will be looking for your feedback! Sign up to receive an email notification when the proposal is available for public review and for future designation updates.
The DNR's existing 44,000 acre network of old growth forests does not currently include LCOG forests. The DNR defines old growth forests as forests that have developed over a long period of time, essentially free from catastrophic disturbances. They contain large, old trees of long-lived species that are beyond traditional rotation (harvest) age. High-quality old growth forests also have relatively complex stand structure (such as snags and woody debris), higher stand mortality, and few invasive species. They also include rare species or native plant communities.
Our original old growth designation effort, back in 2003, deferred designating lowland conifer forests as old growth due to their relative abundance, unique qualities, and lack of data to characterize quality old growth characteristics. At that time, we committed to address LCOG at some point in the future when data were available to clearly define quality old growth characteristics. Since then, we established evaluation criteria to characterize LCOG forests, identified candidate complexes that met these criteria, and went through a process to assess costs and benefits of designating complexes within the group of candidates. We will soon be publishing our proposed LCOG designation, which will include maps, key data for each proposed area, and background materials.