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West Cascades Human Impact

The low elevation ecosystems of the West Cascades have borne the greatest changes from human activities. Threats to biodiversity include:

  • Past forest management practices. Extensive timber harvesting and its accompanying road building have altered the complex ecological functions of lowland forests. Multi-aged forests have been replaced with even-aged stands.
  • Habitat fragmentation and loss. Patchworks of ownership and management at lower elevations complicate biodiversity conservation efforts. Conversion to residential and commercial uses puts landscape continuity in jeopardy.
  • Invasive species. Non-native and invasive plant and animal species pose a serious threat to ecoregional biodiversity.

This forested and mountainous ecoregion is near several urban centers, creating challenges to its future ecological integrity. Forward-thinking partnerships are looking for ways to conserve both the vitality of farms and working forests and the biodiversity of this ecoregion.


For details of this ecoregion within Washington, click a subheading in the left column.

View the more general description of this ecoregion in North America

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