Departmental News

Exposing the logic of climate change denial

Ruth H. Spaniol Chair in Natural Resources and Lead Principle Investigator for the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, Michael P. Nelson co-authored this opinion piece with Kathleen Dean Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at OSU. Together they co-edited the anthology “Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.”

Ancient redwoods, giant sequoias to be 'archived' on Oregon coast

Relocating trees to forestall global warming is being examined by many scientists, says Glenn Howe, a forest genetics professor in FES. So is planting forests to hedge against die-offs from increasing drought, insect infestations, population growth and development. Coast redwoods are spectacular at capturing carbon dioxide. They're fire-resistant thanks to their thick bark.  But redwoods and giant sequoias are finicky about where they grow, which could make them less desirable for global plantings than more "cosmopolitan" trees, Howe says.

Climate change increases stress, need to restore grazed public lands

Eight researchers in a new report have suggested that climate change is causing additional stress to many western rangelands, and as a result land managers should consider a significant reduction, or in some places elimination of livestock and other large animals from public lands. “People have discussed the impacts of climate change for some time with such topics as forest health or increased fire,” said Robert Beschta, a professor emeritus in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and lead author on this study.

The battle of Rainbow Ridge

Ecological forestry is the brainchild of two prominent forestry professors, Norm Johnson of Oregon State University's Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society and the University of Washington’s Jerry Franklin. Both were among the original architects of the Northwest Forest Plan, a 1994 Clinton administration compromise aimed at breaking the political gridlock that was paralyzing timber harvests on public lands.

Mountain Meadows Dwindling In The Pacific Northwest

Harold Zald, a post-doc researcher in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, recently published a study documenting climate change in Jefferson Park, a 333 acre meadow in the central Oregon Cascades.

The Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later

A decade of new growth in the once-ravaged Siskiyou National Forest soon will generate more knowledge. Dan Donato, now a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, is leading a follow-up study with funding from the Joint Fire Sciences Program (managed by the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Interior). The new study will look at the rates and patterns of post-fire vegetation growth, the effects of post-fire logging and the impact of subsequent burns.

Bioacoustics in Birdland

“There are a lot more interesting things to do in ecology than stand around and count birds,” Betts notes. “With that in mind, we came up with the question, ‘Can we automate this process?’” The answer arrived in 2008 following the formation of the OSU Bioacoustics Group. The group comprises a number of scientists, including students, faculty, and outside collaborators, hailing from such disparate fields as ecology, electrical engineering, computer science, and marine resources.

“Semi-dwarf” trees may enable a green revolution for some forest crops

The same “green revolution” concepts that have revolutionized crop agriculture and helped to feed billions of people around the world may now offer similar potential in forestry, scientists say, with benefits for wood, biomass production, drought stress and even greenhouse gas mitigation. “Research now makes it clear that genetic modification of height growth is achievable,” said Steven Strauss, an University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

Jim Trappe honored by Australians

FES courtesy faculty Jim Trappe, who has been studying Australia’s amazing diversity of native truffle species every year since 1986 by invitation from the Australian Government, was honored on July 21 with an Honorary Life Membership in the Australian Truffle Growers Association.

Large Predators and Ecological Health

FES professor Bill Ripple was featured on the radio program Academic Minute, from Northeast Public Radio WAMC.  He explains the important role large predators play in the health of any ecosystem.