COF News & Events

Wolves may aid recovery of Canada lynx, a threatened species

As wolf populations grow in parts of the West, most of the focus has been on their value in aiding broader ecosystem recovery – but a new study from Oregon State University also points out that they could play an important role in helping to save other threatened species.  “The increase in mesopredators such as coyotes is a serious issue; their populations are now much higher than they used to be when wolves were common in most areas of the United States,” said William Ripple, a professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at OSU.

Congratulations to Professor Steven Strauss!

Steven H. Strauss, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, has been honored with the Barrington-Moore Memorial Award from the Society of American Foresters (SAF).  The award recognizes outstanding achievement in biological research leading to the advancement of forestry. Strauss will receive an engraved plaque and a $1,000 cash honorarium at the 2011 SAF National Convention in Honolulu.  Strauss has been a leader in forest biotechnology and created the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative.  His work has led to the development of methods to reduced undesired gene flow from transgenic populations, helped improve public acceptance of biotechnology and reduced environmental impacts.

Pacific Northwest trees struggle for water while standing in it

Contrary to expectations, researchers have discovered that the conifers of the Pacific Northwest, some of the tallest trees in the world, face their greatest water stress during the region’s eternally wet winters, not the dog days of August when weeks can pass without rain.  “Everyone thinks that summer is the most stressful season for these trees, but in terms of water, winter can be even more stressful,” said Katherine McCulloh, a research assistant professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

Northwest Forest Plan has unintended benefit – carbon sequestration

The Northwest Forest Plan enacted in 1993 was designed to conserve old-growth forests and protect species such as the northern spotted owl, but researchers conclude in a new study that it had another powerful and unintended consequence – increased carbon sequestration on public lands.  “The original goals of the Northwest Forest Plan had nothing to do with the issue of carbon emissions, but now carbon sequestration is seen as an important ecosystem service,” said David Turner, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

Starker Forests takes the long view

When T.J. Starker bought his first 110-acre patch of second-growth forest land in the Coast Range in 1936, a lot of people thought he was crazy. What was the point of tending young trees that wouldn't be ready to cut for decades when there was an endless supply of big old-growth timber just waiting for the ax?  But Starker, a forestry professor at Oregon Agricultural College (the future Oregon State University), took a longer view.

Loss of large predators disrupting plant, animal and human ecosystems

The enormous decline of large, apex predators ranging from wolves to lions, sharks and sea otters may represent the most powerful impacts humans have ever had on Earth’s ecosystems, a group of 24 researchers concluded today in a new report in the journal Science. “We now have overwhelming evidence that large predators are hugely important in the function of nature, from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains, the tropics to the Arctic,” said William Ripple, a professor of forestry at Oregon State University, co-author of the report and an international leader in this field of study as director of OSU’s Trophic Cascades Program.

New publication helps forest landowners reduce wildfire risks

People who own forest property of any size, from a few acres to several hundreds, often don't know if their forest could survive a wildfire. Have they reduced enough ladder fuels to keep a fire from spreading up into the tree crowns? Could firefighters easily get to a wildfire on their property?  Straight answers to difficult questions are in a new 41-page pub­lication from Oregon State University Extension Service, "Reducing Fire Risk on Your Forest Property, PNW 618."

Fire bringing communities together across West

Recent studies show that people in neighborhoods adjacent to public forest lands can and do trust natural resource managers to a surprising degree, in part because the risks they face are so severe. “Declining forest health and wildfire are such serious and increasing threats that we are beginning to see partnerships forming among mill owners, logging contractors, residents and environmental groups,” said Bruce Shindler, an OSU professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. “The stakes are just too high for everyone.”

New Online Forest Carbon Calculator unveiled

A beta version of the online Forest Sector Carbon Calculator, an interface and set of carbon models to help you examine how carbon stores in the forest sector change over time, is now up and running.  This tool is the result of a joint effort between Forest Service Research and Oregon State University.  It is currently parameterized for western Oregon conditions and work is continuing on variants for other regions and forest types.

Biotech Partnership

Research into tree biotechnology has gotten a boost through a new agreement between Dow AgroSciences LLC and Oregon State University. The wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company will make its EXZACT™ Precision Technology available to Steve Strauss, distinguished professor of forest biotechnology in the College of Forestry.