OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Departmental News

Steens Aspen

Trent Seager, FES PhD Candidate, was featured in a recent episode of the OPB program Oregon Field Guide. He spoke about Aspen trees and the Steens ecosystem, which he studied for his MSc and PhD at OSU.

Siuslaw National Forest transition from timber to ecology to be focus of April 2 public meeting

On April 2, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, JIm Furnish will participate in a panel discussion on the dramatic shift in forest management. The meeting is open to the public and will include the premier showing of a new 25-minute documentary, Seeing the Forest, by independent journalist and filmmaker Alan Honick of Seattle. Included on the panel is Norm Johnson, distinguished professor of forestry at Oregon State University.

Genetically modified crops have environmental advantages, too

Distinguished professor Steven Strauss offers a guest opinion for the Oregonian. He says "energy versus food crops pose difficult choices for society -- and we need lots of both. The various sources of energy -- fossil and renewable forms -- also have a wide variety of pros and cons. To simplify the complex tradeoffs to a "food vs. fuel" dichotomy does nothing to advance thinking about these difficult issues."

Cascades study may rewrite the textbook on forest growth and death

Results from these stands show that mortality can proceed slowly for many years and then increase rapidly in sudden pulses. FES faculty Mark Harmon and researcher Rob Pabst published their findings recently in the Journal of Vegetation Science.

Discerning Plant Picks Its Pollinators

Being picky may increase access to genetic diversity and thus give the plants a competitive advantage over their neighbors, but there is a risk, researchers say. FES researchers Matt Betts and Adam Hadley were involved in this study.

California’s terrifying climate forecast: It could face droughts nearly every year

Beverly Law, a specialist in global change biology at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, co-authored a study of megadroughts three years ago. It showed that a drought that affected the American West from 2000 to 2004 compared to conditions seen during the medieval megadroughts. But the predicted megadrought this century would be far worse. Law said the NASA study confirmed her previous findings.

NW forest insect outbreaks compared from space

Scientists for the first time have simultaneously compared widespread impacts from two of the most common forest insects in the West – mountain pine beetle and western spruce budworm. “This is the first time anyone has compared the impacts from these two insects in consistent units of change going all the way back to 1970,” said Garrett Meigs, who conducted his analysis while he was a Ph.D. student in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

Cattle damage to riverbanks can be undone

Simply removing cattle may be all that is required to restore many degraded riverside areas in the American West, although this can vary and is dependent on local conditions. These are the findings of Jonathan Batchelor and William Ripple of Oregon State University in the US, lead authors of a study published in Springer's journal Environmental Management.

Conservation needs to recognize nature’s intrinsic value, researchers say

Conservation policies may reflect the practical benefits of nature — food, medicine, clean water and air. But in this week’s issue of Conservation Biology, three scientists present a scientific and philosophical case for conserving nature on its own merits. “This paper changes the conversation by calling for rigorous thought and evidence in the discussion of intrinsic versus instrumental value,” said Michael Paul Nelson, a professor of environmental ethics in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

'Rewilding' dingoes could help reverse decline of Australia's native wildlife

“Predation by foxes and feral cats is the key driver of extinctions, so we need to change what we’ve previously done and look at if the dingo can help,” said Dr Thomas Newsome of the University of Sydney, the report’s lead author. Dr. Newsome was a postdoctoral scholar in the College of Forestry in 2014.

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