FES News

Global warming drives global warning

Bill Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University, has spent a large part of his career studying the interplay between predators, prey and plant life in and around Yellowstone National Park. But that changed in December, when he took the lead role in authoring a paper titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” which was published in the journal BioScience.

When Hummingbirds Visit, This Flower Pops Open like a Jack-in-the-Box

Dusty Gannon, a PhD student at Oregon State University, and his coauthors were in Costa Rica to study a group of plants called Heliconia. The researchers wanted to know what pollinators are most important to these showy, claw-shaped flowers.

He speaks for the trees

Last year the Oregon Heritage Tree Committee honored Paul Ries with it highest distinction, the Maynard C. Drawson Memorial Award. In honoring Ries, the committee noted his dedication to the heritage tree program, from personally inspecting candidates to spreading the word about the program throughout the state.

Ancient Forests May Protect Birds from Rising Heat

Ancient forests tend to provide moderate temperatures compared with their surroundings, potentially buffering some of the sharpest impacts of climate change, said Matthew Betts, a professor at Oregon State University.

Researchers use ‘global thermometer’ to track temperature extremes, droughts and melting ice

“Imagine the difference between the temperature of the sand and the air at the beach on a hot, summer day,” said David Mildrexler, the lead author who received his Ph.D. from the College of Forestry at Oregon State last June. “The air might be warm, but if you walk barefoot across the sand, it’s the searing hot surface temperature that’s burning your feet. That’s what the satellites are measuring.”

The Unsolved Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet

“They effectively roost at sea at night,” says Jim Rivers, a professor at OSU and one of the project leads. So far, the teams have caught 17 murrelets. Nelson and Rivers hope for at least 30—their permit allows up to 100—but they will take whatever they can get.

Severe Wildfires Bring A Welcome Landscape For Native Bees

The forests around this research site south of Roseburg, Oregon, are slowly coming back from the 50-thousand acre Douglas Complex Fire that burned in 2013. But in the meantime, OSU researcher Sara Galbraith has turned those blackened forests into a massive laboratory.

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.”