CoF Research in the News

Ancient redwoods, giant sequoias to be 'archived' on Oregon coast

Relocating trees to forestall global warming is being examined by many scientists, says Glenn Howe, a forest genetics professor at the College of Forestry. So is planting forests to hedge against die-offs from increasing drought, insect infestations, population growth and development. Coast redwoods are spectacular at capturing carbon dioxide. They're fire-resistant thanks to their thick bark.  But redwoods and giant sequoias are finicky about where they grow, which could make them less desirable for global plantings than more "cosmopolitan" trees, Howe says.

Sweet approach may produce metal casting parts, reduce toxicity

Based on a new discovery by researchers at Oregon State University, the world’s multi-billion dollar foundry industry may soon develop a sweet tooth.  “We were surprised that simple sugar could bind sand together so strongly,” said Kaichang Li, an OSU professor of wood science and engineering. “Sugar and other carbohydrates are abundant, inexpensive, food-grade materials.

Climate change increases stress, need to restore grazed public lands

Eight researchers in a new report have suggested that climate change is causing additional stress to many western rangelands, and as a result land managers should consider a significant reduction, or in some places elimination of livestock and other large animals from public lands. “People have discussed the impacts of climate change for some time with such topics as forest health or increased fire,” said Robert Beschta, a professor emeritus in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and lead author on this study.

Mountain Meadows Dwindling In The Pacific Northwest

Harold Zald, a post-doc researcher in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, recently published a study documenting climate change in Jefferson Park, a 333 acre meadow in the central Oregon Cascades.

The Biscuit Fire 10 Years Later

A decade of new growth in the once-ravaged Siskiyou National Forest soon will generate more knowledge. Dan Donato, now a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, is leading a follow-up study with funding from the Joint Fire Sciences Program (managed by the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Interior). The new study will look at the rates and patterns of post-fire vegetation growth, the effects of post-fire logging and the impact of subsequent burns.

“Semi-dwarf” trees may enable a green revolution for some forest crops

The same “green revolution” concepts that have revolutionized crop agriculture and helped to feed billions of people around the world may now offer similar potential in forestry, scientists say, with benefits for wood, biomass production, drought stress and even greenhouse gas mitigation. “Research now makes it clear that genetic modification of height growth is achievable,” said Steven Strauss, an University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

For young birds, getting stressed out can be a good thing

Many studies have found that high levels of hormones that are associated with stress are a sign of poor fitness and reduced chance of survival – but recent research on young songbirds found that some elevated hormones can be a good thing, often the difference between life and death.  “In these birds, a little stress and elevated stress hormones were associated with greater survival,” said James Rivers, a researcher with the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

Chronic 2000-04 drought, worst in 800 years, may be the “new normal”

The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the “new normal” for most of the coming century. “Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline,” said Beverly Law, a co-author of the study, professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science at the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.