COF News & Events

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.

Forest harvest tax rates adopted

The Oregon Forest Research Laboratory "came out as good as we possibly could have," according to a top university official, after lawmakers on June 2 adopted forest products harvest tax rates."  A lot of people went the extra mile to help us get what we did," said Hal Salwasser, dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. The laboratory is the research arm of the college.

Climate projections don’t accurately reflect soil carbon release

Mark Harmon, professor and holder of the Richardson Chair in Forest Science at OSU, and other scientists have just published results of a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.  The study concludes that models may be predicting releases of atmospheric carbon dioxide that are either too high or too low, depending on the region, because they don’t adequately reflect variable temperatures that can affect the amount of carbon released from soil.

Up in Smoke: Can Carbon Markets Help Reduce Forest Fires?

Speaking before the Senate panel, Forest Ecosystems and Society professor Dr. Bev Law, explained the balancing act scientists were still in the process of studying. “ Most of the live and dead wood is not consumed in wildfires, contrary to common belief, even in high severity fires. Fuel reduction can be effective in reducing fire severity, however it comes at the cost of reducing carbon sequestration, so there are tradeoffs,” she testified.

Conference to explore sustainable design in wood buildings

A professional conference on June 1 at the Oregon Convention Center will explore new innovations in locally produced wood products and the use of them in sustainable building design. The conference, “StructureOregon 2011: Utilizing Local Wood Products in Sustainable Designs,” is sponsored by the Oregon Wood Innovation Center at Oregon State University and others.

Tornadoes raise questions about building practices, code enforcement

There is no practical, economic way to build structures that could stand up to the savagery of EF5 tornadoes like those that ripped through the South in late April, experts say, but damage from lesser storms could be reduced by better building practices and better enforcement of existing codes.

Forestry student Danielle White wins writing prize

Congrats to Danielle White, senior in Wood Science and Technology from Corvallis, who won an award for her essay, “Buffalo Road,” in the first annual OSU sustainability writing competition.  OSU’s Spring Creek Project and the Student Sustainability Initiative sponsored the “The Great Work: Re-imagining Humanity as the Planet Changes,” contest. The five winners receive $100 and a chance to help shape the future. The writings will appear today, May 18, in an insert of the Daily Barometer.