The proposed Bear Grub Timber Sale is located in the foothills dividing the Rogue Valley from the Applegate Valley in Southwestern Oregon. This unique foothill region, in the rainshadow of the Siskiyou Crest, supports the driest forest habitats in Western Oregon. In fact, some places in the Little Applegate Valley receive less than 15″ of annual precipitation.
The area supports a rich flora representing species from the Pacific Northwest, the California foothills, and the Great Basin. The Siskiyou Mountains are botanically and geologically some of the most diverse mountains in the United States, with an incredible variety of conifer species and flowering plants, and this portion of the Siskiyou Mountains, in the area proposed for the Bear Grub Timber Sale, is no exception.
The region contains a jumbled mixture of oak woodland, arid grasslands and upland prairie, chaparral, dry mixed conifer forests and even isolated stands of western juniper woodland.
Grasslands, oak woodlands, thickets of chaparral and groves of ponderosa pine inhabit south- and west-facing slopes, as well as areas with shallow bedrock or poor soil conditions. North- and east-facing slopes support dry mixed conifer forests, often with a significant hardwood component, including black oak, white oak and madrone.
The dry forests targeted for logging in the Bear Grub Timber Sale grow in marginal conditions, yet in many places they have managed to support closed-canopy stands of mature or late successional mixed conifer forests. These forests can contain Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense-cedar, and at higher elevations, white fir.
The area also supports significant wildlife populations, including thriving populations of great gray owl that nest in unusually low elevation forests interspersed with foraging habitat in the oak woodlands and open grasslands.
Significant habitat for the threatened Northern spotted owl can also be found in the Bear Grub Timber Sale area. The Northern spotted owl specializes in old-growth or late successional forest habitats with large, old trees, multilayered canopy structure, closed canopies, large snags and large downed trees.
The Pacific fisher was recently protected under the Endangered Species Act and also has relatively large populations in the area. They utilize cavities in old trees and often closed canopy forests for resting and denning, but will range through vast areas hunting in a variety of habitat types.
More common species can also be found in abundance including cougar, black bear, bobcat, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, elk, and large herds of overwintering and resident black tailed deer.