CoF Research in the News

In the Game of Extinction, It’s Good to Be Average

The research, published recently in the journal PNAS, is the latest, biggest news from the world of extinction science. The scientists, including William Ripple of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, found that in any given group of animals—from bony fishes and birds to mammals and reptiles—species at the size extremes tend to be in the most trouble.

Wood construction becomes sexy again

To explore the uses and design possibilities of mass timber, the University of Oregon architecture program is combining efforts with Oregon State University’s forestry and engineering programs to create the Tallwood Design Institute.

Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project shows targeted thinning, burns can save homes

"We really don't have the capacity in most places to do the work at anything like the scale needed," said John Bailey, an Oregon State University professor of silviculture and fire management.

OSU introduces kids to Wood Magic

Michelle Maller, who organizes the event for OSU’s Department of Wood Science and Engineering, said about 1,100 kids attended the event, which ran Tuesday to Thursday. The program dates back 17 years, Maller said.

‘Mass timber’ tour will involve legislators, building officials

Locke said legislators and others who influence policy and development also should know about the state’s TallWood Design Institute, housed at Oregon State University. The institute is a collaboration between OSU’s colleges of forestry and engineering, and architectural faculty and students at the University of Oregon’s College of Design.

Oregon State University researcher receives national award for soy-based adhesive

At a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Kaichang Li from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University received the 2017 Golden Goose Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), several other science societies and congressional supporters.

When it comes to the threat of extinction, size matters

"Knowing how animal body size correlates with the likelihood of a species being threatened provides us with a tool to assess extinction risk for the many species we know very little about," said William Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University and lead author of the study.

Use of structural wood in commercial buildings reduces greenhouse gas emissions

“The study is just the first step leading to a sustainability metric for use of wood in code-compliant commercial buildings,” said Ari Sinha, professor of renewable materials in forestry and a co-author on the paper. “Generally, we know wood is renewable, resulting in lower environmental impacts in many cases than other building materials. What was lacking was confirmation and quantification of these benefits.”

OSU & D.R. Johnson work together to produce cross-laminated timber

Thanks to a partnership with the Oregon State University College of Forestry, D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations in Riddle, Oregon, recently became the first U.S. certified manufacturer of cross-laminated timber.

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a massive structural composite panel product usually consisting of three to nine layers of dimensional timber arranged perpendicular to each other, much like layers of veneer in plywood and can be used as prefabricated wall, floor and roofing elements in residential, public and commercial structures. It is extremely strong and flexible, making it resilient to seismic activity.

Lech Muszyński, assistant professor of wood science and engineering, first saw CLT in production during his 2009 sabbatical in Austria. He says those facilities were unlike anything he had ever seen.

“I decided to visit as many as I could because the diversity was astounding,” Muszyński says. “I learned that you don’t need to be a big operation to make a difference in the market.”

Once back at OSU, Muszyński began making the rounds to industry partners to gauge their interest in constructing CLT test panels. He had little success until a meeting of the college’s Board of Visitors. Valarie Johnson, president of D.R. Johnson Lumber was in the room.

“The college asked if any of the companies present might be able to make CLT panels because they wanted to do testing,” Johnson says. “Since we’ve produced Glulam since 1967 I thought, ‘How hard could it be?’” Johnson says those words are jokingly repeated to her often by her staff.

Despite challenges, D.R. Johnson formed a partnership with Muszyński’s team. In October 2014, Oregon BEST awarded a $150,000 commercialization grant to D.R. Johnson Lumber for a CLT plant.

“We continue to work together with Oregon State to pursue our CLT production line here as well as expanding the awareness of CLT to a larger audience. Not only in Oregon, but throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

Increased production of CLT would boost the timber industry, create jobs and create structures that could withstand the threat of seismic activity within the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Muszyński says education of the industry and the public about advanced wood products like CLT is his greatest challenge.

“The lumber industry needs to adapt,” he explains. “There will be learning curves along the entire supply chain.”

Oregon State and D.R. Johnson believe the reward of using CLT will be worth the challenges especially in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. When a CLT panel sustains earthquake damage, it can be more easily repaired than steel or concrete. Muszyński’s team is moving forward to test CLT’s resistance to fire and other natural disasters.

In September 2016, the four-story Albina Yard building in Portland became the first building in the United States to be constructed of domestically produced — by D.R. Johnson — CLT.

“If the client is happy with this product, it would mean more commissions,” Muszyński says. “Just think what it could do for the rural Oregon economy. There’s no reason why this technology should not be used in Oregon and throughout the United States.”

Tree farmers take a different path

Dave Hibbs and Sarah Karr, the Benton County tree farmers of the year, walk through their 87-acre property in southern Polk county. Hibbs is a retired College of Forestry professor, and says about their management style: “We’re hoping to see the benefits of taking some of my academic ideas and trying to make it work.”