FES News

"Rot: The Afterlife of Trees" at The Arts Center

Forest ecologist Dr. Mark Harmon of Oregon State University wanted his research in the study of tree decomposition to reach a much broader audience than just the scientific community. His solution was using visual, written and performing arts, through a unique collaboration among the Oregon State University Department of Forestry, H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, OSU's Spring Creek Project and The Arts Center.

Harmon and Pabst recognized in the Journal of Vegetation Science

Each year the Chief Editors acknowledge one paper published in JVS with the Editors’ Award. One ruunner up was the paper of Harmon & Pabst (2015), which tested predictions of forest succession using 100-yr long measurements. Mark Harmon and Rob Pabst are faculty members in FES. Congratulations Mark & Rob!

New life follows the death of trees

Mark Harmon, professor and holder of the Richardson Chair in the Oregon State College of Forestry, spoke about the afterlife of trees at the Corvallis Science Pub. “I was interested in decomposition when I was a kid for some reason,” Harmon said. “As I got older, I realized that that was a field that wasn’t well understood.”

Oregon wolves: still endangered?

The commission’s consideration has caught the attention of many across the state, including scientists at Oregon State University. Among them is professor Michael Nelson, who helped draft a letter to the ODFW commission in an effort to have them reconsider their suggestion. Michael Nelson is professor of environmental ethics and philosophy in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

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.