COF News & Events

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.

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.