Scripts &Tests


Environment Script:

“It's an air purifier, a water filter, a home for wildlife and our backyard; it’s a Montana Forest. It’s pretty tough to list all the things forests do for our environment.  Trees offer homes and protection to many animals and even other plants. Their root systems hold together the forest floor and help purify our drinking water.”   Most importantly, forests capture the sun's energy in the process of photosynthesis.  The trees take carbon dioxide from the air, store the carbon in the tree, and release oxygen, which all organisms need to live.  Reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can help reduce the "greenhouse effect" and consequent global warming.


“The forest provides habitat for thousands of different creatures from Bacteria to Bears. Each has its niche and does its part to continue the forest cycle. Living together in their environment, animals and plants  contribute to an incredibly strong and resilient variety of ecosystems. Forest scientists and managers are working to understand the complexity of ecosystems in order to balance the needs of these animals and plants with the needs of people.”


Forests grow and change constantly.   They look different because of age and the history of disturbance to the forest vegetation.  Just as humans go through several stages of development during their life-times, forest stands move through a pattern of young, middle-aged, and old.   Here is a forest near Hamilton, Montana in 1909. This is the same spot 80 years later the large tree is still there; can you find it now? Wow! What happened?  Where did all these new trees come from? There it is, hidden among all those new trees. These new trees are a result of natural forest succession—the continual change in plant communities with time.


In addition to the continual process of succession, natural disturbance events such as fires, wind, insects and diseases periodically change the forest vegetation. Partial disturbances reduce some species, allowing other species to invade or expand.  Major disturbances reset the disturbance clock to zero and a new plant community begins [play slides].  Over time, succession and different levels of disturbances create a landscape pattern of different ages and kinds of forests.  Animals meet their unique habitat needs by taking advantage of these different patterns on the landscape.


Just as other species, Humans modify the ecosystem as they seek the food, water, and shelter they need to live.  Included in these modifications are

their forest management actions that affect the other organisms dependent upon the forest conditions they disturbed.


Concerns about existing or potential damage to the environment have resulted in laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act.   The intent of these laws is to protect all resources while enabling us to utilize specific resources.   Sustainable forestry tries to maintain healthy ecosystems so that future generations have the same opportunities to use resources as we have today.


Text Box: Midslope South


Montana forests can be very different for other reasons too.   Each region of Montana has different kinds of forests. [see MF NF Map] They are also different because temperature and precipitation change dramatically as we go up the mountainside and also change from one side of the mountain to the other.  Montana forests can be found at elevations ranging from 1900 to 9600 feet and annual precipitation varying from 10 to over 60 inches per year.  This broad range in elevation, temperature, and rainfall provides many different growing conditions that support many different kinds of forests.  Animals often adjust to take advantage of these different forest conditions.




Students Assessment - Environment


q     Match the animal with its habitat.


___1.  White-tail Deer              a.  feed on leaves, twigs, fruits and acorns


___2.  Wild Turkey                  b.  amphibians which feed on insects


___3.  Black Bear                    c.  have long front claws good for digging


___4.  Green Tree Frog            d.  sleep in big trees, perched on a strong branch


___5.  Grizzly Bear                   e. make their dens in hollow trees or thick evergreens


q     Select the best answer for each question.


___6.  Montana Forest types vary according to

            a. elevation, b. which direction the slope faces, c. precipitation, d. temperature,

            e. all of the above, f. a & b, g. c & d


___7.  The root systems of trees hold together the forest floor and:


            a.  make room for insects     b.  purify drinking water     c.  destroy ecosystems


___8.  Forest management includes:


            a.  harvesting trees     b.  planting trees     c.  growing trees     d.  a, b, and c


___9.  Trees act as an air filter by:


            a.  taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide    

            b.  taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen


___10.  These animals depend on riparian areas and nest in the diverse vegetation.


              a.  black bears     b.  bobcats     c.  song birds      d.  b, and c


q     Describe why Montana has so many different types of forests. 





Balance Script:

 “Over ¼ of the State of Montana is covered with trees (fly-up forestland pie chart). These forests are constantly changing, and as competing demands for forest resources increase, it becomes more important than ever to carefully manage them.”


 “As you discovered in the environment section, forests are ever-changing, whether through insect activities, disease, windthrow and wildfire or human activities like logging and intentional prescribed burning.  For example, if you study a harvested area or a wildfire area, you can record when certain plants and animals appear and when they go away.  This natural pattern of change, which takes place over time, is called succession. When trees are removed — whether by natural processes like fire, wind, insects or diseases, or by human activities the forest regenerates in a predictable order. Each stage of succession provides unique habitat for a variety of plants and animals as well as many different products.  Figure 1 illustrates a common classification of "even-aged" successional stages for Montana forests that results following major stand-replacing disturbances.   Figure 1 also illustrates an alternative "uneven-aged" stand structure that results from periodic, minor disturbances.

            The upper part of this diagram illustrates a variety of forest structures that characterize stages of forest succession.  The bottom part of the diagram illustrates important differences among these stages in providing biological diversity and food and cover for wildlife species.  One goal of management is to provide an appropriate variety of these natural successional stages on the landscape.


Student Assessment – Balance 


q     Select the answer, which best completes the statement.

___1.  Which of the following are "tools" used to manage the forests?

            a.  grazing    b.  harvesting   c.  burning   d. leaving it alone   d.  a,b, c and d


___2.  In Montana, we have more than ___________of the state is forestland.

            a.  1/2     b.  1/4     c.  1/8    d.  3/4


___3.  Which of the following are management objectives

            a.  income     b.  restoration     c.  reduce fire risk     d.  a,b, and c


___4.  What causes forest change

            a.  fires     b.  wind     c.  harvests     d. insects and disease     e. a, b, c and d


___5.  What is the correct order of the stages of forest succesion

            a.  seedling sapling     b.  old growth     c.  mature     d.  poles  e. very old


___6. Which are constraints on forest managers

            a) natural conditions, b) laws and regulations, c) social, economic, and resource protection         considerations d) all of the above


q     Determine if the statement is True or False.  Write the correct answer in the blank.

_____7.  Forest managers sometimes use fire to help keep the forest healthy.


_____8.  Each stage of the even aged managed forest cycle provides different habitat needs to a variety of plants and animals.


_____9.  A new forest can only begin by allowing seed trees left on site after harvest to re-seed the area.


_____10.  A forest under uneven aged management is thinned for the second time after about 25 years of growth.


_____11. Uneven aged forest management can only be used in a forest that has a diversity of tree species and ages and sizes


_____12.  In an even aged forest the stage between seedling and 40 years of growth provides the most diverse plant life and attracts the greatest variety of animals.


_____13. unexpected consequences of forest management can not be minimized


q       Describe the following:


I. the different stages of an even aged forest and the different products and wildlife habitats each stage provides.


II. the different stages of an un-even aged forest and the different products and wildlife habitats each stage provides

Recreation Script:

Just about any outdoor activity you want to try can be done in a Montana Forest.  Do you like riding mountain bikes or hiking?  How about camping, hunting, or fishing?  Water sports like swimming, canoeing, rafting, sailing and power boating can be enjoyed in most of Montana's forests.  How about observing some of Montana's Watchable Wildlife, cultural and historical sites, or cross-country skiing?  Or, maybe you'd like to go snowmobiling or trail riding on your ATV.  With certain limitations, all these activities and more are available either year round or seasonally. 


Whether its hiking along the Continental Divide or visiting the historic Lewis and Clark Trail, your journey of discovery will take you through Montana's Forests.  Well managed forests beckon you to come along and enjoy their bounty. 


Before leaving on a journey to your favorite forest area, make sure you find out whether that site is open to the public.  Also, check on rules and regulations regarding the activity you are interested in pursuing.  Most organizations have a web site that contains updated regulations.  Remember to always ask for permission before entering private land.


Did you know that various agencies provide over twenty nine different forest areas to recreate in Montana?  For example, the National Park Service runs two National Parks and four other areas, the Forest Service manages nine National Forests, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service runs fourteen National Wildlife Refuges.  Other forested areas to recreate include some of the land owned by Forest Products Companies and the Bureau of Land Management.


Wildlife refuges are great places to observe wildlife in natural surroundings and you can learn how to view wildlife without disturbing it through a national program called Watchable Wildlife and a local program called the Center for Wildlife Information.  Did you know that the Forest Service also has special areas called Wilderness areas that have no formal recreation sites such as campgrounds and boat docks. These areas require special care so remember to follow the seven leave no trace principles when you go there. These 7 principles include: 1) Plan Ahead and Prepare, 2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, 3) Dispose of Waste Properly, 4) Leave What You Find, 5) Minimize Campfire Impacts, 6) Respect Wildlife, 7) Be Considerate of Others.


Can you name the major mountain ranges in Montana?  These are also great places to recreate.


Montanans involved in federal, state, and industry related recreation and tourism activities are committed to providing efficient and cooperative management of Montana's recreational opportunities whenever possible.  In order to help provide efficient and cooperative management, they created the Montana Tourism and Recreation Initiative (MTRI).  The members of this group are interested in topics such as distributing information, reducing environmental impact via education, viewing wildlife with the least amount of disturbance, off road vehicle traffic, and the Lewis and Clark bicentennial commemoration.  In addition, Travel Montana is interested in promoting all types of recreational opportunities in Montana including forest recreation.  Montana is divided into six travel regions based on their regional offerings.   Within these travel regions, there are chambers of commerce (COC) and Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVB), which provide information for visitors and recreationists alike. 


Student Assessment - Recreation 


What should you always do before pursuing a recreational activity on one of Montana's forests?_______________________________________________________________

a. Ask permission              b. learn the regulations for that activity             c. pack a picnic         d. learn first aid    e. walk your dog  f.  a and b


There are over ____different forest areas to recreate in Montana

a. 29    b 50    c   500    d 10


Name 4 of the 5 groups that provide forest recreation areas in Montana.






Name the 7 Leave No Trace Principles









Who promotes recreational opportunities in Montana?



Describe how a well-managed forest can provide recreation.

Answers – Montana Environment Section


           1. a,   2. d,   3. e,   4. b,   5. c,   6. e,   7 b,   8. d,   9. b,   10. d


I.                 Montana has so many different types of forests due to the many combinations of tree and other types of plants species; the variety of disturbances that take place such as wind, insects and disease, and fire; and the changes in elevation, precipitation, temperature, and direction the slope faces.



Answers – Montana Balance Section


            1.d,   2.b,   3.d,   4.e,   5.a,d,c,b,e,   6.d,   7.T,   8.T,   9.F,   10.T,   11.T,   12.?,   13.F

I.                    Even-aged management has five stages, each with different groups of plants, animals and products.  Stage one (Seedling/Sapling 0 to 30 yrs.) has very diverse plant life and attracts a great variety of foraging wildlife and birds preferring open conditions for nesting.  Products are huckleberries, mushrooms, decorative plants, and Christmas Trees.  Stage two (Pole 30-60 yrs.) when smaller and weaker trees begin to die and the tops of older trees begin to close in the canopy, creates products such as posts, poles, pulpwood, and firewood as thinning products.  Wildlife habitat includes thermal and hiding cover for many species but less foraging habitat for most wildlife species unless stands are thinned.  Stages three (Medium 60-90 yrs) forests produce more cones and seeds and attract animals that live in dense forests and birds that nest in the canopy.  Some trees are harvested for maintaining healthy vigorous forest conditions and to produce valuable products such as small logs, telephone poles, house logs, and pulpwood.  In stage four (Large 90-120yrs) forests individual trees die from insects and disease and create openings in which shade -tolerant species regenerate creating a multi-layered forest.  Partial cutting such as clear cuts and shelterwoods occur to encourage regeneration of desired species and produce valuable products including large logs, small loge, peelers, and logs without knots.  Woody debris is left on the ground to provide wildlife habitat.  Snags are now present for cavity nesting birds and mammals.  Stage five (Very Large 100+ yrs) provides very important habitat for may plant and animal speies.  These forests are eventually replaced by natural disturbances or harvests including the selection system which leaves trees of varying ages and species.  Products in this stage are similar to stage four and sometimes include those savaged from forest disturbances.

II.                 Uneven-aged management can be broken down into three stages with opportunities for numerous other stages.  Stage one is the existing condition before treatment, two is immediately after treatment, and stage 3 is 25 to 30 years later.  Subsequent stages occur at 25 to 30 year intervals.  These stages mimic the kind of stand development that occurred in warm dry environments where natural underburning historically took place every 15 to 30 years.  The low elevation ponderosa pine forests are especially well suited to this type of management.  Uneven aged management typically starts in a forest in stage four or five of succession that has enough healthy trees of different sizes to build a foundation for the "continuous" forest.  The forest immediately following treatment is more open, helthy, and productive and provides grass and shrub forage for wildlife. Thermal and hiding cover are reduced in this stage and bird populations shift to songbirds favoring open forests with multiple canopy layers.  In stage three the forest does not change greatly in appearance and it includes larger trees with fuller crowns and new seedlings and more competition.


Answers – Montana  Recreation Section


A. f 

B. a 

C. National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, National Parks, and         Forest Product Companies

D.        1) Plan Ahead and Prepare,

            2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces,

            3) Dispose of Waste Properly,

            4) Leave What You Find,

            5) Minimize Campfire Impacts,

            6) Respect Wildlife,

            7) Be Considerate of Others.

E. The Montana Tourism and Recreation Initiative (MTRI).

F. Well managed forests clean the air, conserve the land and prevent soil erosion.  With healthy forests we         will have more and better recreation o