Variable retention was implemented by Western Forest Products in an adaptive management framework, a form of structured learning based on comparisons, where monitoring results of management actions and comparing them to benchmark conditions leads to modifying practices to better meet objectives. The VR monitoring program focuses on 3 levels of biodiversity conservation: representation of ecosystem types, maintenance of important habitat attributes and direct monitoring of indicator organisms. The second level, monitoring of habitat attributes, began in 1999 with a series of habitat plots and transects in VR settings, and in older harvested openings with remnant patches. In the period 2000 2007, additional sites were established in VR blocks, riparian reserve areas, designed comparison blocks (Variable Retention Adaptive Management or VRAM sites) and in un-harvested benchmark areas across Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and on the Sunshine Coast. The VRAM experimental comparison blocks were established to enable the monitoring of growth and yield, regeneration, forest organisms, habitat attributes, forest health, windthrow and costs for a range of variable retention treatment options.