forestry

Oregon State University

How Oregon and other tree-rich areas use their forests will figure prominently in both the creation and capture of greenhouse gases. 

Emissions studies show that Oregon's forest products industry creates the largest single chunk of the state's carbon emissions, through burning of fossil fuels in logging, among other activities.  At the same time, the forests themselves are capable of soaking up carbon emissions. 

A study that included Oregon State University calculated the carbon effects of several forest events: logging, reforestation, and fire among them. 

Sandy Rae, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26424181

The best-laid plans in forest management can go awry.  Even controlled burns can have unintended consequences, as happened not long ago in the Ashland Forest Resiliency project. 

Although a controlled burn stayed within its designated lines, a few big trees that were meant to survive did not. 

So project managers took up a new strategy: plant sugar pines.  They used to be part of the landscape in the Ashland watershed, and fit the needs of the project--the overall intent of which is to keep catastrophic fire out of the watershed. 

Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

Chris Bratt is all about the trees.  He has plenty of experience using wood products from his days as a carpenter and contractor. 

And he's perfectly happy to leave the trees alone to grow, in his role as an environmental activist and forest protector. 

Chris Bratt's story is the latest to be archived in the Stories of Southern Oregon collection at the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library. 

Chris visits the studio to talk about his rich and varied life in the Applegate Valley. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archives

The height of the hippie years in America coincided with the peak years of logging in the country. 

And those trends came together in forest replanting efforts staffed by people who came to the Oregon woods to get away from "the establishment." 

Robert Hirning was part of one of those, based in Takilma, called "Green Side Up." 

The story is kept in SODA, the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Southern Oregon University. 

The repository is called Stories of Southern Oregon.

Albert Herring,CCby-SA2.0,wikimedia curid=29806162

The days of massive clearcuts of massive trees are largely over, at least on public land. 

And in this age of smaller-diameter trees, there's plenty of talk of biomass.  Think of biomass as the leftovers... woody material too small to turn into lumber, but still big enough to burn. 

The big question is whether it burns in the forest, or burns in a boiler, creating energy. 

Both the federal Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry have programs that guide and encourage the use of biomass, as an economic development tool for rural communities. 

Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1454531

One of the major lessons we've learned about the world around us is the lesson of inter-connectivity. 

The parts of nature depend upon one another--and that includes humans--and severing connections can throw nature out of balance. 

How important are trees to connecting the parts of nature?  Very, say several people. 

They include David George Haskell, who follows the fate of single trees in several parts of the world in The Songs of Trees

Humans Not Good For Fellow Primates

Jan 26, 2017
Wikimedia user cgaa

With more than seven billion of us and counting, humans are the most prolific primate species on Earth.

This boon for man may be the undoing of apes, plus many other non-human primates like monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises. A recent study found that about two thirds of all non-human primate species are now threatened with extinction, and three quarters have declining populations.

Making Big Use Of Small Trees

Aug 23, 2016
USDA Forest Service

It's easy to find markets for big trees coming out of national forests, but not so easy to cut big trees in an era of environmental protection.  So think small; REALLY small. 

Siskiyou County Supervisors, the Klamath National Forest, and the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Wisconsin are exploring ways to make commercial uses of nanocellulose technology. 

Nanocellulose--think powdered wood--does not require big or even medium-sized trees.  Get ready for a lesson in nanocellulose and what it will take to set up a facility in the Yreka area. 

Policies That Encourage Deforestation

Aug 10, 2016
Jami Dwyer/Wikimedia

When and where to cut trees is a constant topic of debate in our part of the world. 

In other areas, it's less a debate than a mourning process, as vast areas that were once forest become agricultural land... minus the trees. 

Researchers Yann le Polain de Waroux (Stanford) and Rachael Garrett (Boston U.) studied the process in parts of Latin America. 

How To Polish Up Your Land Stewardship

Apr 7, 2016
Pauline Bartolone/CPR

It's not just our loud music that escapes over the fence into our neighbor's yard. 

All of our pieces of land, big and small, are interconnected.  And many of us can stand a refresher course in good land stewardship.  What do you know, Oregon State University's Extension Service provides such a course. 

It's called Living On Your Land, or LOYL, and it will be offered in Grants Pass April 16th. 

Film Slams Oregon Forest Practices

Feb 10, 2016
BLM/Public Domain

Environmental groups have been calling for changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act for years. 

A film at this week's Siskiyou Film Fest in Grants Pass (Feb. 12) shows why. 

"Behind the Emerald Curtain," produced by the group Pacific Rivers, examines the forestry practices on private land that are regulated by the OFPA. 

Clearcuts figure prominently, and pesticides as well.

Practicing Social Forestry

Jan 19, 2016

You've heard of lots of different approaches to forest management, but "social forestry?" 

There is such a thing; and it's about restoring connections between local communities and nearby forests that have been altered by the industrial approach to forestry. 

Tom Ward, a permaculture expert, is working on a book on social forestry, and will teach a workshop on it in Southern Oregon later this month. 

Fire And Water And Analyzing Forest Health

Sep 21, 2015
Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

Fire and water both figure prominently in the state of the forests in our region. 

The size and intensity of fires indicates and determines forest health, and so does the health of native fish. 

So it seems natural to talk fire and water together... scientists Dominick DellaSala of Geos Institute and Jack Williams of Trout Unlimited join forces to talk about forests from their perspective this week at ScienceWorks in Ashland (September 24th). 

Get to Know The Many Kinds Of Manzanitas

Jul 16, 2015
Backcountry Press

Newcomers to the State of Jefferson often ask about the plant with the green leaves and orange or purple branches, the one that seems to have lost its bark.

Old-timers ask back: “the tree or the bush?” The tree is the madrone, the bush is manzanita.

And the bush is the star of a new book, Field Guide to Manzanitas, the work of Michael Kauffmann, Tom Parker, and Michael Vasey.

What's Killing California's Trees

Jun 25, 2015
Wikimedia

The ongoing drought in California has been tough on trees.  Or has it?

While it's apparently true that 12 million trees have died in recent years in California, the deaths are probably caused by a combination of drought and insects. 

Naomi Tague at UC-Santa Barbara's Ecohydrolab is one of the authors of a study that assessed the various causes of various tree deaths. 

It clears up the relationship between bugs and droughts, and provides possible future patterns for tree deaths in certain climate conditions. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

"Threatened" status may not be enough for the Northern Spotted Owl. 

The old-growth forest dweller continues to decline in number, and that could lead to its reclassification as "endangered." 

EPIC, the Environmental Protection Information Center based in Arcata, petitioned to reclassify the owl nearly three years ago. 

Now the federal Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a review to see if the move is warranted. 

Inside The Embattled Forest Service

Apr 13, 2015
OSU Press

Did anybody LIKE the U.S. Forest Service around 1990? 

It was constantly in the middle of battles over proper forest management, the timber industry demanding more logs on one hand and conservationists urging more protection on the other. 

Jim Furnish was more than halfway through a long career with the Forest Service then. 

In Toward a Natural Forest, he details the pressures and pleasures of life within one of the most visible and controversial government agencies. 

Arbor Week In Oregon

Apr 6, 2015
Wikimedia

When your state is known for its trees, just one day for Arbor Day is not enough. 

So both Oregon and California take a full week to celebrate trees and all they provide to the planet. 

Arbor Week is this week in Oregon (April 5-11). 

Moving Forward On The Elliot Forest

Dec 17, 2014
Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

Oregon's Elliott State Forest will not be sold to timber companies, but it could very well get some new owner. 

The Oregon Land Board decided against a plan to sell the Elliott, but now a new proposal to seek another public buyer, or a public-private partnership, is in the works. 

Cascadia Wildlands and other groups strongly opposed the earlier sale idea. 

Pushing For More Deliberate Fires

Sep 15, 2014
Wikimedia

The question is often asked during fire season, when thousands of acres are going up in smoke: weren't we talking about restoring regular fires to the ecosystem? 

The answer is yes. 

Or yes, BUT... the scientific answer is one thing, the political is another. 

The Bureau of Land Management and other agencies do perform prescribed burns. 

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