Developing riparian guidelines on forest service land in the southern Appalachians
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During the past few years six forests in the Southern Region have gone through the process of forest plan revision. As part of this revision process, forests were expected to define and provide management guidelines for riparian areas. However, riparian management became a contentious issue and one of the most difficult challenges in the planning process. Controversy arose around slope dependent fixed riparian buffer width design and management within these areas. A riparian prescription was developed to protect and/or restore all functions and values in the Riparian Area with flexibility to adjust buffer widths on the basis of site specific reviews. This paper will hopefully shed some light on the difficult issues surrounding riparian management in the Southern Region and offer some explanation and rationale for the approach used in the planning process.