The Southern Oregon Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion is recognized by scientists around the world as an area that is uniquely rich in plant and animal species. In 1993 the World Conservation Union proclaimed it one of the seven areas of global botanical significance on the North American continent (Portland Oregonian, 1/5/01). It is particularly diverse in plant species due in part to the region's complex geology including the high mineral content serpentine soils in the Coast Range. The wide variation in rainfall and temperature also contributes to this region's abundant life forms. According to the World Wildlife Fund (The Klamath-Siskiyou Forests, June 2000) the region ranks among the most biologically diverse temperate coniferous forest ecoregions in the world and is home to more than 3,500 plant species, 281 of which are unique. The area is often the edge of a plant or animal's range-it is the southernmost reach of many northern and Cascade species and the northernmost reach of northern California species.
Over the past 30 years the Southern Oregon University Library has actively collected hundreds of federal and state government publications relating to the Southern Oregon Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion. Along with those publications we receive through the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Oregon State Library, we have made special efforts to collect fugitive and gray documents, those materials not normally distributed through these channels. Many are written by researchers that are not regular staff members of the state or federal government, but who contract with regional government offices to do environmental research.
Through contacts with local offices of the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife, U.S Geological Survey and others we have developed a unique collection of materials relating to this bioregion. In addition, we have selected Oregon state publications from agencies such as the Departments of Energy, Environmental Quality, Forestry, Fish and Wildlife, and Water Resources Board to add to the Bioregion Collection. Primary authors of publications not written by employees of the federal or state governments have been consulted for copyright permission.
We have concentrated on digitizing those Federal and State government publications we own which cover Curry, Josephine, Jackson or Klamath Counties and also materials covering the area immediately south of the California border. You can find volumes on Crater Lake; the Rogue and Klamath Rivers; Winema, Siskiyou, Klamath and Rogue River National Forests; watershed assessments from many of the local watershed councils, and much other research from a variety of local, federal and state agencies. We have taken newer documents from the websites of these agencies with the goal of permanently preserving what can be very ephemeral material.
In all cases we have used the best copy we could find of each document. Some are not as clean as we would like because of age or heavy use.
We hope to develop an ongoing digitization infrastructure in the SOU Library that will allow the Government Publications Department to continue preserving digital information on our bioregion long after our grant funding has ended. We hope this collection is the beginning of a great database of ecological information on the Klamath-Siskiyou region, fully searchable by keyword and subject. We will continue our relationships with local Federal and State agencies so that we can receive both paper and machine readable files of new publications to add to the old, to ensure that these materials are preserved and made widely accessible.