Departmental News

Prehistoric predators kept large animals in check, shaped ecosystems

“Large predators can have a major role in limiting their prey and in determining the structure and function of ecosystems,” said William Ripple, distinguished professor in the Oregon State University College of Forestry. “But scientists have thought that the largest herbivores, such as elephants, were immune from predation. We now know that’s not the case, and based on these data from the Pleistocene (the epoch which lasted from about 2.5 million to 11,700 years ago), we now think that large carnivores did limit the large herbivores at that time.”

Pulp fiction: Why wood is a dirty secret of clean energy

"A forest isn’t instantaneously renewable," said Oregon State University professor Mark Harmon, an advisor to the EPA on measuring climate pollution from wood fuel. "It renews over a time horizon that’s quite long. If people go out and start burning wood from an area that hasn’t been harvested for that purpose, it won’t be carbon neutral."

Morticulture: Forests of the living dead

Dead trees take a long time to disappear, allowing new life to spring up within them. Biologist Mark Harmon of Oregon State University (OSU), also known as “Dr. Death” for his scientific interest in forest mortality, is taking part in a 200-year-long study to monitor the decomposition of trees.

Does nature have value beyond what it provides humans?

Michael Paul Nelson, College of Forestry Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, co-wrote this opinion piece on the intrinsic value of nature.

Why we need predators

Large carnivores, the really scary animals that are easy to hate, are on the decline worldwide. That has led to numerous changes to ecosystems, William Ripple of Oregon State University in Corvallis and colleagues noted in Science last year. When carnivores are removed from an ecosystem (or returned to one), there are cascades of changes to the local food web.

Opportunity for MS Degree focusing on forest science and information management

The HJ Andrews Experimental Forest and Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site has funding for a student to pursue a Master’s Degree focusing on Information Management in the Forest Ecosystems and Society Department, starting by Fall 2016.

What Do Wild Animals Do in a Wildfire?

Heat can kill too—even organisms buried deep in the ground, such as fungi. Jane Smith, a mycologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Corvallis, Oregon, has measured temperatures as high as 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit (700 degrees Celsius) beneath logs burning in a wildfire, and 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) a full two inches (five centimeters) below the surface.

Genetically modified trees are being 'strangled' by red tape

"With global climate change and the spreading of pests, it's rather urgent we have all the tools we can bring to bear," lead author Dr Steven Strauss from the Oregon State University told BBC News.

Grizzly bears are helped by wolves

Wild fruit is an important part of grizzly bear diets, especially when they are trying to gain weight before winter hibernation stated study co-author William Ripple, a forest ecosystems researcher at Oregon State University.

South Korean students visit OSU

Extension Specialist Paul Ries showed a group of students from South Korea around the urban forests of Corvallis this week. OSU’s College of Forestry and Agriculture are partnered with INTO OSU to provide a program for Kyungpook National University in South Korea. This first-of-its-kind program brings a cohort of ten Korean college students, majoring in diverse Agriculture and Forestry related fields, to Oregon to experience university life and learning at OSU.