Starker Lecture Series 2023

Forestry has a long history of innovation amidst changing physical, social, and economic conditions. Recent/current technological innovations include the use of geospatial analysis, sensing tools and artificial intelligence to improve outcomes in the woods as well as in mills and construction. We also make changes in how we make choices through social innovations. This year’s lecturers will look at some historical changes, as well as new innovations in technologies and collaborative work.

The Starker Lectures Series is sponsored by the Starker Family in honor of TJ and Bruce Starker, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute and the Oregon State University College of Forestry.


January 25 - watch the recording

Lecture: Sixty Years of Forestry: A Retrospective on the Douglas-fir Region

Speaker: Bill Robbins, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History and Author, OSU

Sixty Years of Forestry will explore the substantial changes in forestry in Douglas-fir country due to the environmental laws of the 1960’s and 70’s. Beginning with the days of clearcutting old growth forests to the forestry practices of today, Bill Robbins will reflect on his own experiences living, learning, and writing about the emergence of a new forestry paradigm.

Bill Robbins is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History at Oregon State University and author and editor of several books, including A Place for Inquiry, A Place for Wonder: The Andrews Experimental Forest. Robbins is currently finishing a history of Benton County.

February 22 - watch the recording

Lecture: Log and Lumber Scanning Technology

Speaker: Patrick Freeman, Group CTO, Microtec, Corvallis

Patrick Freeman is Group Chief Technology Officer of Microtec in Corvallis. He will speak on using artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically grade lumber as well as the use of CT scanning for logs. CT scanning enables mills to see “inside” logs to optimize cutting of logs into lumber. It is common now for sawmills to use laser-based scanning systems to estimate volume recovery. Microtec’s systems allow mills to optimize for value recovery as well given that these systems enable lumber grade to be determined prior to sawing.

March 15 - watch the recording

Lecture: Precision Forestry: Remote Sensing, Geospatial Analysis, and More

Speaker: Dr. Monika Moskal, Director of the Precision Forestry Cooperative, University of Washington

The Precision Forestry Cooperative (PFC) at the University of Washington has the mission to develop “advanced technology solutions to improve the quality & reliability of information needed for planning, implementation, monitoring and conservation of ecological resources, to ensure sustainable landscape outcomes on forests, wetlands, meadows and wildlife habitats.” Dr. Moskal has been director of the PFC since 2013. She will provide a comprehensive overview of research in the 5 PFC labs, from carbon monitoring to fire and habitat mapping.

April 19 - watch the recording

Lecture: Innovations in Silviculture and Forest Management in a Changing World

Speaker: Tom Fox, Vice President, Research, Productivity, Sustainability, Rayonier Inc.

Technological, social, economic and climatic changes requires innovations in forests management. In this lecture, Dr. Tom Fox will present an overview of current and future innovations in silviculture, including the use of technological improvements, as well as economic, social and ecological considerations.

May 31 - watch the recording

Lecture: Social Innovations to Meet Societal Challenges

Speakers: Michelle Medley-Daniel, Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network Director and Dr. Mindy Crandall, OSU, Assistant Professor in Forest Policy

Mitigating climate change impacts, wildfire risks and improving rural livelihoods are some of today’s most urgent challenges. To meet these challenges a large number of society and community members need to agree to engage and act collectively. The speakers will discuss examples of social innovation around place-based approaches and cooperative efforts to meet ecological and cultural challenges.

More about the series

The Starker Lecture Series takes inspiration from the Starker Family's history of leadership in supporting sound forestry and vibrant communities through scientifically grounded education and positive, sustained action. The Starkers' long-time recognition of the value of closely observing and learning from actions and outcomes "in the woods" also inspires an integration of technical knowledge with practical, on-the-ground experience. An emphasis on issues and opportunities in the active management of forest resources, through lectures, in depth discussions, and field based events, will further honor the unique and exceptional example provided by the Starker Family.

All lectures are free and open to the public. The lectures will also be available via streaming video from this web site. A reception will be held immediately before the lectures. A capstone workshop will be held after the lecture series is complete to deepen the practical understanding and discussion of the lecture topics.