Olympic Experimental State Forest
Located on the western Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF) is a working forest and a living laboratory. Across 270,000 acres (110,000 hectares) of state trust lands, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) produces revenue for trust beneficiaries such as counties and public schools, primarily through timber harvest. DNR also provides habitat for threatened and endangered species and healthy streams for salmon and other aquatic species per the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan and the Policy for Sustainable Forests. DNR meets these objectives through an experimental, integrated management approach.
As this experimental approach is implemented, DNR and its research partners conduct applied research and monitoring in the OESF. For example, through the Status and Trends Monitoring of Riparian and Aquatic Habitat project, DNR collects data on stream shade, water temperature, large woody debris, and other habitat indicators. This work helps us understand the natural processes that keep the forest ecosystem healthy, determine how forest management affects wildlife and their habitat, and continuously improve forest management. DNR shares what it learns through this website, a biannual newsletter called "The Learning Forest," the annual OESF Science Conference, publications, presentations, and field tours. Explore this website to learn more about this extraordinary place.
News and Events
2022 OESF Field Season
The 2022 field season is underway! Pictured here is the 2022 field crew along with OESF Research and Monitoring Manager Teodora Minkova and Coast District Planning Forester Kevin Alexander. This year's crew includes DNR field technicians and interns, interns from University of Washington Olympic Natural Resource Center (ONRC) and Program on the Environment, students from Oregon State University College of Forestry, scholars from the Doris Duke Conservation Program, and University of California San Diego. Field work this year includes acoustic monitoring, Riparian Status and Trends monitoring, fish monitoring, soil sampling and electrofishing for the Type 3 Watershed Experiment, and ongoing work on the Ethnoforestry field trial and the Long-term Ecosystem Productivity Study.
2022 OESF Science Conference
The 5th annual OESF Science Conference took place on May 4th. Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the event was organized as a Zoom webinar.
Unique from previous conferences, the entire event was dedicated to the Type 3 Watershed Experiment, with the goal of launching learning groups with stakeholders, tribes, researchers, practitioners, and land managers. Part of the study’s focus on learning –based collaboration, these groups will address topics such as invasive species, carbon, and economic projections of the experimental treatments. The conference included six sessions on topics of interest to stakeholders, and each included a presentation by an expert in the field and a guided discussion. Recordings of the conference are available on DNR’s YouTube channel. View the conference program.
In total, 129 people attended the virtual event, which is the highest conference attendance so far. Between 60 to 90 people attended and actively participated in each session.
Learning groups are still forming, so it is not too late to join. Everyone is invited! If interested, please send an email to email@example.com.
Type 3 Watershed Experiment
Participants at the Type 3 Watershed Experiment Stakeholder Engagement Tour.
DNR and the Olympic Natural Resources Center recently hosted two events for the Type 3 Watershed Experiment. On October 8, 2021, 14 of the study’s principal investigators met to discuss key elements of the study. The next day, 36 stakeholders joined project staff for a stakeholder engagement tour of the study sites. Attendees represented Tribes, environmental non-profits, the forest industry, business development, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Oregon State University, Gray’s Harbor College, DNR, and the local community. At each stop on the tour, researchers presented silvicultural tools that will be tested through the study. Discussions with participants yielded excellent ideas for project staff to consider and possibly incorporate into the study plans. For more information on the study and how to get involved, plus the new riparian study plan, silvicultural prescriptions, and more, visit the project website.
Status and Trends Monitoring of Riparian and Aquatic habitat in the Olympic Experimental State Forest 2013-2020 Results
Biological Response to Stream Nutrients, a Scientific Synthesis for the OESF (Chapter 12, pages 283 to 371 of General Technical Report PNW-GTR-981)