Habitat management for the endangered Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) was initiated in 1997 in British Columbia's Chilliwack Natural Resource District and the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District under the Spotted Owl Management Plan (SOMP). This plan was revised in 2009. The 1997 plan is now commonly referred to as SOMP1; the newer 2009 revision is referred to as SOMP2.
To initiate development of a monitoring framework to assess implementation and evaluate the conservation effectiveness of SOMP habitat management practices, we first reviewed and compared stand-level practices established under SOMP1 and SOMP2 relative to the structural and biological objectives for Spotted Owl habitat. SOMP2 represents an evolution from SOMP1 with the goal of improving Spotted Owl habitat management. Core differences between SOMP1 and SOMP2 practices that are anticipated to influence stand development and habitat quality outcomes are summarized in this report; monitoring to evaluate the structural and biological outcomes of these differences will be vital to evaluating the success of SOMP, and improvements, if any, in the transition from SOMP1 to SOMP2.
Overall, this comparative review indicated that the transition from SOMP1 to SOMP2 has produced changes and refinements to, and clarifications about, habitat management objectives, forest management approaches, and operational practices and targets. Greater overall knowledge of owl habitat requirements and forest dynamics and succession has, in part, driven these changes and refinements. Of interest is whether these differences in management and eventual outcomes will create significant differences in enhancement and recruitment of stand attributes associated with superior owl habitat, and whether SOMP2 will result in more and better-quality habitat.
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Updated September 02, 2015