OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Departmental News

How A Tiny Fungus Is Starving Coastal Douglas Fir Trees

In 2008, scientist and FES assistant professor Bryan Black took core samples the diameter of a pencil from a forest near the north Oregon coast. Most of the trees were hemlocks and Douglas fir that had been undisturbed for about 90 years.  The hemlocks were growing normally. But Black was shocked at what he saw in the Douglas fir samples.  “In 1984, these Douglas fir all but shut down,” Black says. “In fact, their growth was so slow that it wasn’t even forming wood around the whole circumference of the tree.”

Matthew Betts presents Hummingbird Highways

FES professor Matthew Betts will be presenting a talk titled "Hummingbird Highways: The impact of landscape fragmentation on tropical plant population" as part of the Living with Nature lecture series, hosted by the Greenbelt Land Trust.  He will be sharing his research on how tracked tropical hummingbirds are effected by landscape fragmentation and how the disturbance of these landscapes may shed light on pollination problems that are plaguing plants around the world.  This event happens February 15 at 7pm at the Corvallis Public Library.

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. 

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