Former lectures

2024: Forest Conservation: Then and Now

As part of celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Sand County Almanac, the first lecture focused on Aldo Leopold and his role in forestry conservation. Leopold noted that a land ethic expands the definition of community to include not only humans, but all the other parts of the Earth, as well: soils, waters, plants and animals- “the land.” We must engage in thoughtful dialog with each other, inviting a diversity of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, as we explore the intertwined relationships between people and land.

A resilient forest is one that can absorb, rebound, and adapt to disturbances. How do we measure, research, and monitor the conservation, resiliency, and biodiversity of a forest? It’s important to understand biodiversity, especially what occurs in the soil and what may not be easily recognized without digging in further, as we did in the second lecture.

2023: Innovation in Forestry

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. These lecturers will look at some historical changes, as well as new innovations in technologies and collaborative work.

2022: Women of Forestry: inspiring leadership

This series focuses on women who act as agents of change within the forestry and forest products sector as well as within their communities. The College of Forestry graduated its first woman student, Pauline Barto Sandoz over 75 years ago. Today, the college celebrates the accomplishments of all women who are students, faculty, and alumni in our community as it strives to become a more inclusive space for all. This series will educate explore the triumphs of women as well as the myriad of challenges they face in forests, mills, research labs and beyond.

2021: Resilience in the face of disturbance: Learning from disasters

Natural disturbances and disasters have a long history of presenting opportunities for society to learn, adapt and thrive. The multiple disasters and challenges of the last year have proven the need for society to be resilient, learn and adapt to new realities. Whether dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic or devastating wildfires, the past year has forced all of us to overcome and look at new ways to live and work.

2019 - Tribal Forestry: From Reservation to Restoration

The 2019 Starker Lecture Series will focus on tribal forestry. Aspects of tribal forestry are unique, but others look similar to private and public land management throughout our state and nation. Topics include indigenous forest and subsistence practices, the history and future of tribal forestry in Oregon, and how first foods drive forest management. The series culminates with a field trip to the Siletz Indian Reservation where participants will receive a first-hand look at active forest management for a variety of cultural and economic benefits.

2018 - What’s next: the future of managing for healthy productive forests

The future is unknown; yet every day we make assumptions, guesses and decisions about forest management, education, policy and our personal lives that impact our lives down the road.  This leads us to ask, what will the forestry world look like in 30-40 years? The 2018 Starker Lecture Series will explore this and ask some of our current leading thinkers to consider what the economic, political, technological and ecological future might look like, and how we ought to prepare for decisions that could shape generations.

2017 - Recreation in the Forest: Finding a Healthy Balance

Through its research, education and outreach programs, the Oregon State University College of Forestry strives to create healthy people and communities, competitive and innovative products, intensively managed forests and resilient ecosystems to produce a healthy forest landscape for all users. This includes managing our forest landscapes to meet the needs of those who utilize these spaces for their desirable recreation opportunities. From hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing and beyond, the positive impact recreation has on our forests and communities can be felt far and wide. The challenges are also immense. For instance, conflict between recreationists and land managers arise and are costly, while forest recreation remains an opportunity enjoyed mostly by users of a certain income status and demographic set. To help land managers, recreation users and the community understand and address these issues and challenges, the 2017 Starker Lecture Series will focus on the social and economic impact recreation has on the forests, the conflict it can create between parties, and the collaborative approaches to forest stewardship and sustainability that have resulted in positive outcomes for all users. 

Burning Questions: People, Forests, & Fire

Over the past several years, there has been an increase in the number and severity of wildfires in Oregon State.  This trend is expected to continue as the Pacific Northwest become increasingly vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate including, decreased snowpack, higher temperatures and drought, and declining forest health.  These environmental changes increase the risk of catastrophic wildfire impacting communities living in the wildland-urban interface. Wildfire was once considered to be a risk only for people living in rural areas; however it is quickly becoming a reality for urban neighborhoods.  Recent fires in Corvallis and Portland illustrate the need for rural and urban communities alike to adapt to the changing conditions of their environment in which they live. The 2016 Starker Lecture will address the “new normal” of living with fire, and will offer individuals, neighborhoods, and communities useful information and strategies for living in a changing environment.

2015 - Douglas-fir: The Legacy and future of the Pacific Northwest's most iconic tree

Douglas-fir is the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic tree.  Unique among the region’s conifers, it was first classified by botanist David Douglas nearly two centuries ago.  This year (2015) is the 100-year anniversary of the first major plantation of the species.  Its values both culturally and functionally remain exceptional in the region and the wider world.  The 2015 Starker Lecture Series will provide a colorful retrospective as well as forward-looking view of our understanding of Douglas-fir trees, forests and products that help define a historical foundation as well as new opportunities for the Pacific Northwest.

The 2015 Starker Series begins with a screening of “Finding David Douglas,” an internationally acclaimed documentary about the pioneering botanist’s compelling life of adventure and discovery.  A subsequent lecture will provide further insights about the man and his explorations in the Pacific Northwest.  Two additional lectures will shift to contemporary perspectives on the management of Douglas-fir forests and innovative uses of products made from its wood, including multistory buildings.  The Series will conclude with a capstone field trip that features current management strategies for Douglas-fir forests and state-of-the-art milling and construction with Douglas-fir products.

2014 - Working Forests Across the Landscapes

Working forests are forest lands that are actively managed, but within a large landscape the owners and managers of these lands have diverse management objectives.  This diversity provides both challenges and opportunities in providing a wide and complementary array of economic and environmental values from these forests, including how the needs of local landowners and communities are considered and integrated.  The 2014 Starker Lecture Series will provide a forum for a wide-ranging discussion of these issues.

Key lecture topics for the 2014 Starker Series include an overview of the landscape-level, diverse ownerships, working forest concept and a discussion of key forest ecology and management considerations.  In addition, the program will provide insights about social considerations within larger forest areas that account for the varying interests of different landowners while also addressing important landscape objectives.   The Series will conclude with a capstone field trip that features a local example of a public-private collaboration that reflects an actual “working forest with a landscape view.”