Glossary

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O

Objective (Plan Objectives, Management Objective, End Result, Target)
(1) A clear and specific statement of results to be achieved within a stated time period. An objective is measurable and implies precise time-phased steps to be taken and resources to be used, which, together, represent the basis for defining and controlling the work to be done. An objective, as described by some students, must include essential elements: (1) The desired outcome, i.e., what is to be accomplished; (2) the time period within which the expected outcome is to be achieved (although this may be best determined by an optimization process); (3) measurement factors, such as quality or cost (although this may be best determined by the optimization process); (4) measurable quantities of the stated outcomes so that achieving the objective can be verified; and (5) who is responsible for achieving the indicated results (one of the constraints or limits stated as Type 4. When achieved, objectives are said in some circles to represent significant and measurable progress toward the attainment of a broader, longer range "goal". (In some fields, the reverse terminology, "goals" then the broader "objectives", is used.) They are narrower and shorter range in nature, and have a reasonable probability of attainment within specified time periods and resources. Expected results are defined in terms of milestones accomplished, services produced, or some other objective measure, even though the specific contribution toward achieving the building block objective may not be measurable.

There are seven types of objectives. They form the basis for planning. Some plans define the precise steps to be taken and the resources to be used. Among the seven types, these steps are called Actions.

In 2005, the US Forest Service said: Objectives are concise projections of measurable, time-specific intended outcomes. The objectives for a plan are the means of measuring progress toward achieving or maintaining desired conditions. Like desired conditions, objectives are aspirations and are not commitments or final decisions approving projects and activities (36 CFR 219.7).

(2) One use of "objectives" is for criteria by which satisfactory populations or habitats are expressed, typically: sight distance, bull age diversity, nursery areas, calving areas, bedding area, and winter range.

Objective Function
The equation (or set of equations) expressing the quantity to be maximized, stabilized, or minimized in a system along with the constraints.
Obligations
Amounts of orders placed, contracts awarded, services rendered, or other commitments made by landowners or agencies during a given period which will require outlays during the same or some future period.
Obliteration
Returning the land occupied by a road or trail to production.
Observer Inferior
That visual relationship between viewer and viewed which exists when the location from which something is seen is below the level of that object or the dominant visual elements in the surrounding landscape. From the "observer inferior" position, features in the foreground (i.e., up to about l/2 mile distant) are most likely to be of maximum visual importance and the middle-ground (i.e., 1/2 to 3-5 miles) landscape is likely to contain the most distant visible elements.
Observer Normal
That visual relationship between viewer and viewed which exists when the location from which something is seen is at (or approximately at) the level of that object or the dominant visual elements in the surrounding landscape.
Observer Superior
That visual relationship between viewer and viewed which exists when the location from which something is seen is above the level of that object or the dominant visual elements in the surrounding landscape. From the "observer superior" position, the maximum extent and expanse of view is expected to be visible with atmospheric conditions and earth curvature being ultimate distance limitations.
Occupancy Trespass
The illegal occupancy or possession of a tract of land.
Ocean
The great body of salt water which occupies two-thirds of the surface of Earth, or one of its major subdivisions.
Odor
Odor in water can be caused by a variety of materials, both natural and foreign, in the water body. Odor tests are made by using the human sense of smell, whereby a panel of "testers," each person in turn, sniffs dilutions of a water sample until that dilution with the least but definitely perceptible, odor to all on the panel is determined.
Off-Road Vehicle (ORV)
Any motorized vehicle not greater than 40 inches in width, designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain; (e.g., motorbikes, 3- and 4-wheelers, four-wheel drives, air-cushion vehicle, and snowmobiles). Not included are: (a) any registered motor boat, (b) any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement vehicle when used for emergency purposes, and any combat or combat support vehicle when used for national defense purposes, and (c) any vehicle whose use is expressly authorized by the respective agency head under a permit, lease, license, or contract.
Old Growth
Terrestrial ecosystems characterized by vegetation and associated animals requiring the oldest and most mature successional stages. Old growth forests contain trees normally beyond the age of optimum maturity for economic timber harvest; often showing decadence; trees with their associates that are older than the rotation age, e.g., 120 years in Eastern US forests; the last stage in forest succession. There are 10 criteria suggested within Guidance for deciding when land with trees may be called "old-growth."
Old Growth Component
That condition of a timber stand where the most dominant trees are 100 years old or older. A condition in which dead and decaying material is present in both standing trees and debris on the forest floor. It will occur in even-aged stands 100+ years old and in uneven-aged stands when most of the largest trees have reached that age, provided workers have not removed most dead and decaying material.
Old Growth Forest
A forest dominated by long lived species that has escaped catastrophic disturbance for at least 120 years: rt usually has large old dying trees, large snags and down logs.
Oligotrophic
A lake condition characterized by a low supply of nutrients and consequent support of very little organic production. Dissolved oxygen is present at or near saturation throughout such lakes during all seasons of the year. Characteristic of waters that are poor in dissolved inorganic or mineral nutrient materials.
OMB Requirements
Regulations and directives established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which all Federal agencies are required to obey and include in their planning and management activities.
Omnivore
An organism that feeds on both animal and plant substances. (Whether the foods must be living is debated, e.g. for "scavengers" or "detritivores.")
Open Range
All suitable range within an area upon which grazing is permitted. Also, ranges which have not been fenced into management units.
Open Road Equivalents
A measure of access that addresses all types of roads and trails used by motorized vehicles. Miles of secondary and primitive road are converted to equivalent primary road miles.
Open Space
Land and water areas on which few or no buildings and development has been made, relatively permanent, serving the following purposes: (1) conserving and protecting land and its resource features, (2) providing ecological protection, (3) providing park and recreation uses, (4) providing historic and/or scenic purposes, (5) shaping and guiding urban form, (6) enhancing community values and safety, and (7) maintaining options for the future.
Open to Public Travel
Except during scheduled periods, extreme weather conditions, or emergencies, open to the general public for use with a standard passenger automobile, without restrictive gates or prohibitive signs or regulations, other than for general traffic control or restrictions based on size, weights, or class of registration.
Open Vegetation
In habitat evaluation, all clearcuts, meadows, and other openings.
Operations Research (Management Science)
The use of analytic methods, usually with a computer, adopted from mathematics for solving operational problems. Among the common scientific techniques used in operations research are: statistical theory, information theory, linear and non-linear programming, optimum-seeking methods, game theory, simulation, Monte Carlo methods, expert systems, and queuing theory.
Opinion
A time-bound judgment or speculation that may fluctuate. In contrast to beliefs (i.e., tenaciously held convictions) "opinions" express what people believe at a given moment. "Opinions" generally are short-run but informed impressions or "guesses" about specific objects, ideas, issues, or events that are usually involved with aspects of public affairs.
Opportunity
A proposal that is considered in developing alternative activities, projects, or programs wherein an option exists to invest profitably to improve or maintain a present condition.
Opportunity Cost
The minimum value of the benefits foregone or given up due to the effect of choosing another management alternative that either impacts existing outputs or shifts resources away from other activities so that they are no longer produced and their benefits are lost.

The value of benefits that could have been produced by the best alternative use of resources forgone or given up due to the effect of choosing another management alternative.

Optimal Elk Cover
A forest stand with four layers including an overstory that will intercept snow, and small openings that provide forage.
Optimization
Usually selecting the most cost-effective combination of management practices. The process of deciding on the inputs that achieve (solve) the objective function. It is the process of achieving a maximum, minimum, or zero condition subject to one or more constraints.
Optimum Land Use
That feasible use which in the opinion of the decision-maker provides the minimum difference between actual and desired conditions of the landowner or public for at least 50 years. Such use satisfies an objective (maximizes, stabilizes, or minimizes) subject to a set of constraints.
Option Value
The amount an individual would be willing to pay to preserve (or would have to be paid to get him or her to sell) an option to participate in some activity or to use some resource at some future time, whether or not he or she ever actually participates or uses the resource.
Ordinal Value
Numerical values assigned to a variable which represent a ranking or sequence. The numerical values have meaning only when compared to one another. Because of this, mathematical operations performed on the values (means, modes, differences, etc.) will not necessarily be valid, and the results of such operations must be carefully interpreted.
Ordinance
A local law, regulation, or decree enacted by a city council or other similar body under powers delegated to it by the state.
Ordinary Planning (Operational Planning)
Any type of planning which, accepting existing social institutions as given, seeks to document or communicate in some way optimal alternative strategies for attaining a stated desired future.
Organic Groups
Organic chemical molecule groups such as phenols. Analytic techniques include mass spectrometry, NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) and IR (Infrared Spectroscopy).
Organic Soil
A soil that contains a high percentage (greater than 25 percent) of organic matter in the upper layers (where living roots are primarily found).
Ornithology
The study of birds.
Orphan Banks
Earthen and rock piles near abandoned surface mines operated prior to the enactment of comprehensive reclamation laws. These typically require reclamation.
Orphan Lands (Orphan Banks)
Disturbed land surfaces resulting from surface mining that were inadequately reclaimed by the operator and for which that person is no longer legally responsible.
Outcome
The long-term results of a program activity compared to its intended purpose (Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (5 U.S.C. 306)). Outcome is a state of being similar to long-term ecological, social, or economic condition or goal (such as the maintenance of an ecosystem's biodiversity, jobs and income, or the quality of a regions' surface water as measured by indicators). Outcome Measure. See performance measure.
Outdoor Recreation and Wilderness System
A system that provides outdoor recreation opportunities and wilderness experiences. The system may include all activities necessary to (1) develop, protect, and administer the forest recreational, scenic, and wilderness resources; (2) develop new knowledge to improve the effectiveness of providing and managing outdoor recreation opportunities; and (3) provide assistance to other landowners in developing forest-based recreational opportunities.
Output
A broad term for describing any result, product, service or concern that a system produces by its activities. They are measurable and capable of being used to determine the effectiveness of programs and activities in meeting objectives. The unit of measure should indicate or serve as a proxy for what the recipients get rather than what the agency does in the process of producing the given output. Example: timber sold, recreation use, livestock grazing use, etc. Any good, service, or on-site use that is produced from rural resources.

In computer and related system use, the term means reports, graphs, or data written out or shown on a screen. The media may be paper, tape, disk, computer monitor, or may be an electronic signal (e.g., to stop a system when a critical condition is reached.)

It may mean the actual or potential benefits from a system.

Market output, is a good, service, or on-site use that can be purchased at a price. Non-market output is a good, service, or on-site use not normally exchanged in a market.

Output Coefficient
Values which relate an unit of land (e.g., an acre) to a particular quantity of output in a specific period of time.
Output, Induced
The indirect result of system activities. Generally, the primary outputs of another resource system. An example is a specific form of wildlife habitat improvement (primary) that produces cut trees for sale (induced).
Output, Primary
The main goods, services, or environmental conditions of a resource system, e.g., the production of animal-unit-months of forage for livestock or board feet of timber harvested.
Outstanding Mineral Rights
Specified mineral rights that are privately owned (outstanding third party) as a result of having been separated from the surface by the prior title history of the land.
Overbrowsing
Excessive use of browse usually found where there is an over-population of game. Similar to overgrazing. except that overgrazing refers to grasses and forbs, while overbrowsing refers to shrubs and trees.
Overburden
Material of any nature, consolidated or unconsolidated, that overlies a deposit of useful materials, ores, or coal.
Overgrazing, Local
Grazing in excess of a standard (economic, agronomic, etc.) in localized areas on a range, as, for example, near watering places.
Overland Flow (Sheet Flow)
The rain storm or snow melt runoff water which flows over the ground surface as a thin layer (as opposed to channelized runoff which occurs in rills and gullies). "Overland flow" typically causes sheet erosion.
Overmature Forest
A forest in which, as the result of age, growth has almost entirely ceased, and decay and deterioration has accelerated.
Overstocked
The situation in which trees are so closely spaced that they are competing for resources, resulting in less than full-growth potential for individual trees.
Overstocking
Placing a number of animals on a given area that will result in overuse by the end of the planned grazing period. Not to be confused with overgrazing because an area may be overstocked for a short period, but the animals may be removed before the area is over-utilized. However, continued overstocking will lead to overgrazing.

Overstory
The roughly horizontal uppermost layer of mature trees which overtop other layers of foliage. The canopy in a stand of trees. In contrast to the understory which is low growing woody or herbaceous vegetation fonning a layer beneath the overstory.

Overtopped Crown Class
Trees with crownsenn'rely below the general level of the crown cover receiving no direct light either from above or from the sides. Syn. Suppressed.
Overturn, Fall
A physical phenomenon that may take place in a body of water during early autumn. The sequence of events leading to fall overturn include: 1) cooling of surface waters; 2) density change in surface waters producing convection currents from top to bottom; 3) circulation of the total water volume by wind action; and 4) vertical temperature equality. The overturn results in a uniformity of the physical and chemical properties of the entire water mass. Fish deaths often accompany the low oxygen in the changed water layers.
Overturn, Spring
A physical phenomenon that may take place in a body of water during the early spring. The sequence of events leading to spring overturn include: 1) melting of ice cover; 2) warming of surface waters; 3) density changes in surface waters producing convection currents from top to bottom; 4) circulation of the total water volume by wind action; and 5) vertical temperature equality. The overturn results in a uniformity of the physical and chemical properties of the entire water mass.
OWDC
Office of Water Data Coordination, U.S. Geological Survey - An office charged with implementing guidelines for coordinating water-data acquisition activities among all Federal agencies.
Ownership
The exclusive right to occupy, sell, bequeath, or mortgage property.
Ownership, Fee Simple (Fee Simple Absolute, Fee Simple Title)
Ownership that may last forever and may be inherited by all heirs of an individual owner. A term usually used in the sense of "fee simple absolute" which refers to ownership that has no limitation, qualification, or condition affecting it and is the maximum possible ownership in real estate under the system of property rights founded on English common law.
Oxygen Demand, Biochemical (Biological Oxygen Demand; BOD)
(1) A measure of the demand on a water body's dissolved oxygen supply which will be generated (over some specified period of time) by the biological decomposition of various additions of organic wastes. A high BOD may temporarily, or permanently, so deplete oxygen in water as to kill aquatic life. Knowing BOD is perhaps most useful in evaluating impact of wastewater on the receiving water bodies. (2) A test for detecting and measuring pollution in which the quantity of oxygen that has been used by oxidizable materials under standardized conditions is determined.
Oxygen Demand, Chemical
A measure of the amount of a water body's dissolved oxygen supply that would be used up in completely oxidizing added inorganic oxidizable compounds -- such as in the oxidation of ammonia to nitrate. Biological oxygen demand (BOD) tests can only measure the biodegradable fraction of the total potential dissolved oxygen consumption by added wastes; however, COD tests may be used to measure the oxygen demand created by toxic organic or inorganic compounds as well as by biodegradable substances. A standard COD test, therefore, can be used to evaluate many industrial type wastes not readily analyzed for water quality factors by the sewage-oriented BOD test.


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Last revision January 17, 2000.