COF News & Events
Overgrazing by millions of sheep and goats is the primary cause of degraded land in the Mongolian Steppe, one of the largest remaining grassland ecosystems in the world, Oregon State University researchers say in a new report. “This is a pretty serious issue,” said Thomas Hilker, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Forestry. “Regionally, this is a huge area in which the land is being degraded and the food supply for local people is being reduced."
Mushroom gatherers set out in Oregon forests Tuesday for the first day of Matsutake season. Forestry assistant professor Dan Luoma's specialty is Forest Mycology. And when it comes to the Matsutake, he’s a fan. “Its flavor has been described as a cross between cinnamon red hots and dirty socks. That doesn’t necessarily sound all that appealing, but it’s just a unique flavor and aroma profile that myself and many, many other people find really appealing,” said Luoma.
Congress should make sure Indian forests have funding necessary to benefit the economy and environment, according to guest columnists John Gordon and John Sessions. John Sessions is a professor in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management in the College of Forestry.
Why, you ask, don't all those Oregon forest owners just call up FSC and get themselves LEED legal? The answer -- surprise! -- is complicated, and it has a lot to do with the nature of west-side Oregon forests and with modest differences between the programs themselves. "Substantively, there isn't a huge difference" between the two programs' requirements here, says Kevin Boston, a professor at Oregon State University's college of forestry. But small differences can matter, and one, he points out, involves maximum clear-cut size. While clear-cuts may not be popular, they're appropriate in forests dominated by Douglas fir, a species that needs full sunlight to regenerate.
The Right Trail, a trails mapping website for Benton County, has just launched. This collaborative project is a free resource for public trails, where everyone from casual visitors to serious outdoor recreationists can search for new places to run, walk the dog, watch birds, or find family-friendly natural areas. OSU College Forests helped fund the site and was one of many organizations working together for the last three years to create it—a unique partnership of government, non-profit and trails enthusiasts.
Oregon State University announced it has received a five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate increasing impacts of drought, insect attacks and fires on forests in the West, and to project how the influence of climate change may affect forest die-offs in the future. FES professor Beverly Law is one of the lead investigators on this project.
In another example of how the return of a top predator can have far-reaching ecological effects, researchers have found that the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park has boosted an important food source for the threatened grizzly bear. “The grizzly bear uses some of the same plants that the prey of the wolf uses,” said William Ripple, an Oregon State University professor of forest ecosystems and lead author of the study.
When it comes to finding great hikes that don’t require a long drive, it would be difficult to do much better than McDonald-Dunn Experimental Forest southwest of Salem.The Oregon State University forest is a breeding ground for research on the management of trees and ecosystems and home to all types of forest across the West Coast.
In a pilot program designed to help connect faculty and students to the management of OSU’s College Forests, three proposals have been funded for 2013-2014 to research the following topics:
The 10 proposals received spanned the mission areas of the College Forests and supported its management in various ways. It’s hoped that more funds will be available for another round of proposals in the coming year.
College of Forestry professors Michael Wing and Sara Robinson will be among the speakers featured at this year's Da Vinci Days festival, July 19-20. Robinson combines science and art in a technique called spalting, a process by which fungi create unique patterns and colors in wood. Wing is exploring an emerging avenue of surveying using unmanned aerial systems, better known as drones. Drones could be used to survey forests, aid search and rescue operations and help fight fires, Wing said.