OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

FES News

After a wildfire, attitudes about recovery vary with sense of place and beliefs about fire ecology

“People have deeply rooted values that are affected by fires,” said Chad Kooistra, who led the analysis as a Ph.D. student in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. “Wildfires are a very salient issue, even months or years after a fire. People who live nearby or go to that area for recreation care a lot about many different aspects of that landscape. Fires can change how they perceive and experience it.”

Rethinking 'Smoky Bear'

A new paper published in a recent issue of the journal Ecological Applications by Matthew Reilly, while he was a scientist at Oregon State University, says the best way to avoid catastrophic fires may be to allow low- and moderate-severity fires to just burn. "There's a push for restoration activities such as thinning and prescribed fire to make the forests more resilient," Reilly says. "And there has been some really good work done on the ground (on such efforts), but it's a drop in the bucket. It's hardly enough."

Forest Service moves forward on plan to limit entry to five Oregon wilderness areas

The results of a limited entry system at Obsidian Trail and Pamelia Lake have been positive, said Troy Hall, an Oregon State University professor who has tracked environmental conditions at Obsidian. “I’ve actually been surprised,” Hall said. “It’s pretty similar now to what it was 20 years ago, and it’s even improved a little. Other places, like Green Lakes in the Three Sisters that don’t have limited entry, have just gotten hammered.”

Scientists dispute missing dryland forests

Writing in the journal Science, a team led by Daniel Griffith, a postdoctoral scientist in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, argues that dryland forests should not be confused with savannahs, which comprise valuable ecosystems in their own right.

Home from the Sea

The project is managed through the Institute for Working Forest Landscapes at Oregon State and is a joint effort between researchers at the College of Forestry and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Agricultural Sciences. It aims to answer questions about how forests can be managed for both murrelets and timber. “Murrelets prefer mature, late-successional forests, but they may not be restricted to old growth,” said James Rivers, professor of animal ecology in the college and the lead scientist on the project.

Northwest forests are becoming denser and more vulnerable to fire

Those are among the results of a comprehensive analysis of forest structure and biodiversity based on satellite imagery and on-the-ground field work in the eastern Cascades of Washington, Oregon and Northern California from 1985 to 2010. Matthew Reilly, a former Ph.D. student in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University led the study, which was published in the journal Ecological Applications.

Thousands of scientists issue bleak ‘second notice’ to humanity

“Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse,” they write. This letter, spearheaded by Oregon State University ecologist William Ripple, serves as a “second notice,” the authors say: “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

'Time is running out'

Lead author William J. Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University, said he was astounded by the level of support he and his seven co-authors received for their manuscript.

Troy Hall receives the Benton H. Box Award

Congratulations to FES Department Head Troy Hall! She received the Benton H. Box Award, which recognizes a leader who works to preserve the natural environment and an educator who inspires in students the quest for knowledge and encourages curriculum innovation.

Human activities are reshaping forest animal communities around the world

Human activities are reshaping forest animal communities around the world. Forest-dwelling animals don’t have to live right by a road, pasture or human settlement to be affected by what scientists call forest edges. Indeed, animals up to a kilometer (0.6 miles) from an edge show a measurable impact from their proximity to areas where trees have been removed to make way for other land uses.