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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 stand-replacing disturbances like wildfire or timber harvest. They typically contain relatively large, old trees of long-lived species that are beyond traditional rotation (harvest) age and high structural diversity (canopy gaps, decayed logs, and snags).
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 high 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 high quality old growth characteristics. Since then, we established some criteria to characterize LCOG forests and identified candidate sites that met these criteria. We are working to further evaluate the candidate LCOG sites and develop an LCOG designation proposal, which will include locations and their associated management policies. We will solicit public comments on the LCOG designation proposal.