Using GIS and the Ecosystem Management Decision Support Tool for Forest Management on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington State

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



As forests continue to experience uncharacteristically severe fires and insect outbreaks, forest restoration activities are critical to maintaining ecosystem services such as fish and wildlife habitats while restoring natural processes such as fire return interval. Large-scale forest restoration projects help land managers meet restoration goals for multiple resources and allow planning efforts to become more efficient by analyzing whole watersheds. Restoration activities are critical to enhance forest resiliency while anticipating the impacts of a warmer, drier climate. This article discusses a geospatial process for prioritizing restoration areas using an ArcMap extension called Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS). Five resource criteria were evaluated to prioritize restoration project areas in two adjoining subwatersheds on the Entiat Ranger District in Washington state: vegetation, fire risk, insect risk, wildlife habitats, and an assessment of aquatic/road interactions. Using models generated from EMDS, a road network evaluation, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, forest managers designed a landscape level restoration project where 19,700 hectares were analyzed, with 3,896 hectares identified as priority for restoration activities. Identifying priority restoration areas and interpreting model outputs with metrics lead to the development of stand treatments to meet restoration goals (e.g., forest tree thinning, prescribed fire, and road closures).


This article was originally published in Journal of Forestry. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Journal of Forestry


Copyright © 2018 Society of American Foresters



Spatial Coverage (for ex: Ellensburg, WA)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest