Departmental News

Seeing the forest for the trees

On a steep, south-facing mountain slope about 20 miles east of Sweet Home, two dozen people are talking ideas for the management of 1,600 acres of mostly 40- to 110-year-old Douglas firs.  They represent the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State University, private timber land owners, environmental groups and loggers.  FES professor Klaus Puettmann represented OSU in the group.

An Ecosystem Being Transformed – Yellowstone 15 Years After the Return of Wolves

On the 15th anniversary of the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, a quiet but profound rebirth of life and ecosystem health is emerging, scientists conclude in a new report. “Yellowstone increasingly looks like a different place,” said William Ripple, a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University, and lead author of the study. “These are still the early stages of recovery, and some of this may still take decades,” Ripple said. “But trees and shrubs are starting to come back and beaver numbers are increasing.

New forestry projects show promise in Southern Oregon, professors say

Initial results from experimental timber projects in southern Oregon indicate it's possible to retain old trees, protect watersheds and wildlife and still provide jobs, a pair of forestry professors said. Jerry Franklin from the University of Washington and Norm Johnson of Oregon State University released a report summarizing their work so far on three pilot projects on Bureau of Land Management forests.

Secretary Salazar Visits Oregon To Promote Ecological Timber Sales

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced Tuesday he wants the Bureau of Land Management to expand an experimental timber project that incorporate ecological principles.  Two forestry professors, Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington and Norm Johnson of Oregon State University, have developed the concept for the BLM’s first three such pilot timber sales, which mimic some of the effects of fire on the forest ecosystem.

Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later

Bernard Bormann, FES courtesy faculty, was featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Oregon Field Guide.  He had been studying the forests’ of the Siskiyou mountains for years. When the 500,000 acre Biscuit fire burned through his research plots, he first thought all was lost. But in the 10 years since the fire, he’s been able to compare life before and after fire to reveal an amazing amount of new information about how life returns to the forest after fire.

Quartet for the Earth

Sarah Frey's research is highlighted in OSU's Terra Magazine.  It all started in 2008 at an American Ornithologists’ Union conference in Portland, where Sarah ran into OSU forest ecologist Matt Betts, an acquaintance from an earlier population-modeling workshop. “How about starting your Ph.D. next month?” he asked. A few weeks later, she was enrolled in the College of Forestry with a minor in Ecosystem Informatics.

Quantifying carbon sequestration over North America

The contemporary carbon budget of North America includes large emissions from fossil fuel combustion, but also significant sequestration in forestland and cropland.  A large research team, including David Turner from the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, recently developed a new approach to estimating the continental scale terrestrial carbon balance.

Yellowstone transformed 15 years after the return of wolves

The return of gray wolves has dramatically altered the landscape in portions of Yellowstone National Park, as new trees take root in areas where the predators have curbed the size of foraging elk herds, according to scientists in a new study.  Stands of aspen, willow and cottonwood are expanding in areas where for decades dense elk populations prevented new growth, said study author William Ripple from the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University. 

Fuel reduction likely to increase carbon emissions

Forest thinning to help prevent or reduce severe wildfire will release more carbon to the atmosphere than any amount saved by successful fire prevention, a new study concludes.  There may be valid reasons to thin forests – such as restoration of forest structure or health, wildlife enhancement or public safety – but increased carbon sequestration is not one of them, say scientists including FES researcher John Campbell and professor Mark Harmon.

Thinning Oregon forests develops spotted owl habitat, chases away flying squirrels -- the owls' chief prey

A new study by Oregon State University researchers indicates that thinning Douglas firs, which gives them more room to grow and develop the old forest characteristics favored by northern spotted owls, is bad news for the threatened bird's primary prey.  The report was written by Tom Manning, Brenda McComb and Joan Hagar, with OSU's Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society.