It constantly amazes me to see the value and impact our College of Forestry faculty, staff, and students have on forests, forestry, forest products, uses and services, and the professions related to the care and management of forests. Each issue of Focus on Forestry gives us a chance to showcase this diversity, and this issue is no exception. Our friend and colleague, Associate Dean Bart Thielges, had a lot to do with the programs we highlight here, and we all mourn his passing.
The Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests Program at OSU is an example of focused research that engages faculty and students in studies that have a direct bearing on forest policy. Much of federal and state forest policy deals with water, fish, wildlife, and habitats. Issues affecting managed forests, such as how many standing and fallen trees to leave after harvest and how to protect and manage areas along streams and rivers, have significant ecological and economic consequences. When knowledge based on solid field research is missing, there is a tendency in policy-making bodies to err on the side of caution and protect more than may be needed to reach a desired habitat outcome. We have certainly seen such a tendency in federal forest plans and in political actions related to forest practices. The only way to enact science-based forest practice rules that are prudent, necessary, and sufficient for the outcomes desired is to invest in focused research, and the Fish and Wildlife Habitats Program allows us to do so.
In addition, fuels in dry forests and the effect of wildfires continue to draw our attention. Our faculty are actively engaged in pre-fire forest management to reduce risks to forest health posed by uncharacteristic fires, and in post-fire follow up to reforest areas where seed sources are no longer present because fires burned with such intensity.
As we enter another school year with reduced state funding,we are pressed to become even more aggressive in seeking grants, contracts, and private gifts to support College programs. Every bit of external support to the College helps us maintain the excellence and relevance of our teaching, research, and outreach. I want to thank each of you who have contributed with your time, political support, and/or financial resources to sustain U's first-rate Forestry programs.
Studying Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests
Since 1994, a small portion of the Oregon Forest Products Harvest Tax has been invested toward increasing and disseminating knowledge about fish and wildlife habitat and populations in Oregon's managed forests. Through the Forest Research Lab Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests Research (FRL FW) Program, research projects have been undertaken to increase the scientific knowledge that underpins the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
"We've been trying to anticipate some of tomorrow's science needs and initiate studies that will provide results by the time those issues emerge in the policy arena," says Steve Tesch, Forest Engineering Department Head and FRL FW Program Manager.
A new publication summarizes the program's accomplishments since its inception. Margo Stoddard, Forest Science Faculty Research Assistant, and Tesch have published an overview of research findings and a bibliography resulting from the program: The Forest Research Laboratory Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests Program: Summary of Research Findings, 1994- 2002. The report is available through the Forestry Communications Group website: http://fcg.cof.orst.edu.
As of July 2002, the FRL FW Program had partially or fully supported more than 30 research, technology transfer, and service activities. These activities have yielded 31 peer-reviewed publications, 35 reports and proceedings articles, 27 graduate theses and dissertations, and two web-based references.
"Multidisciplinary collaboration has been a key ingredient in many projects," says Tesch. "Dollars from the FRL FW Program have often been used to significantly leverage additional dollars from other funding sources, resulting in more comprehensive studies than would otherwise have been possible."
FRL FW Program activities have focused on identifying the habitat requirements of fish and wildlife, in addition to defining the silvicultural, economic, and social implications of managing forested habitats in Oregon. Studies have been conducted that address terrestrial and aquatic habitat in both eastern and western Oregon. Some of the studies have provided relatively rare opportunities to follow the long-term development of alternative stand structures and their influence on songbirds, cavity nesters, small mammals, and other attributes.
Likewise, activities focused on aquatic and riparian habitats in managed forests have yielded important findings on the variability and complexity of these systems and on the implications of forest management for fish, amphibians, and their habitat.
"Recent studies are providing valuable information that supports the needs of small woodland and industrial forest owners," says Larry Giustina of Giustina Land & Timber Co., current chair of the program's technical advisory committee.
In addition to the research studies, a variety of technology transfer tools have been completed or are in development to assist land managers. Examples include preparation of a design guide for stream-crossing structures for fish passage, an assessment of existing manuals on the design and placement of stream habitat improvement structures, and access to the scientific literature through annotated bibliographies on snags and silviculture/wildlife relationships in managed stands.
Varying harvest levels have yielded roughly $330,000 to $450,000 per year to support the FRL FW Program. Research projects have been prioritized through the assistance of a technical advisory committee that includes representatives from state and federal land agencies, the forest industry, woodland owners, tribes, and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI). "The committee is representative of not only the research community, but the landowning community,"says Giustina. "This report will help to amplify the importance of the program to these ontributors."
Although the focused investment in this FRL program is substantial, it represents only a fraction of the overall activity by CoF faculty and science partners in providing information about the relationships between fish and wildlife populations and the habitat provided within Oregon's forested watersheds. Much, and sometimes all, of the support for these other research activities comes from non-FRL sources. Collectively, these research efforts provide scientific knowledge about fish and wildlife habitat that is important in informing the policy process. Oregon's investments in the FRL help make this possible.
"The 43 percent of Oregon's forests owned and managed by companies, families, tribes, counties, and the state are home to the full diversity of native fish and wildlife in the state," said Dean Hal Salwasser, a wildlife ecologist by training. "These managed forests can sustain all that diversity and still provide much-needed economic and community benefits for Oregon if we use our knowledge about fish and wildlife habitat relationships in crafting sound and prudent forest practice act rules."
Photos courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: evening grosbeak (top), by Dave Menke; red fox kits; and newly hatched salmon alevins
The Dean Calls a Play
Dean Hal Salwasser met once again with President George Bush during his recent visit to Redmond, Oregon. The topic on the agenda was forest health and fire risk management, particularly in view of the President's Healthy Forest Initiative. Stressing the magnitude of the problem in dry western forests and the need for urgent action, Dean Salwasser proposed "three strategic moves in the healthy forests game plan" that would help the legislation advance "from the 10-yard line in Congress and across the goal line."
If these three strategic moves are adopted, Salwasser says, "the much-needed legislation will not just cross the goal line to the president's desk, it will actually get the much-needed work done to restore resilient, healthy forests. It will begin the restoration of trust in federal agencies. It will build community capacity for local problem solving. It will create productive, constructive jobs and resources for our economies and communities. And it will improve our scientific understanding about sustaining healthy forests for all their uses and values." Dean Salwasser also urged the president to "enlist the land grant universities as full partners in community collaboration for problem solving that will create learning opportunities and improve returns over time."
Distinguished Professor Jeff Morrell
Jeff Morrell of the Wood Science and Engineering Department has been named OSU Distinguished Professor of Wood Science. The Distinguished Professor Awards are the highest honor that Oregon State University bestows on a faculty member. The awards are career-long titles signifying that OSU considers the recipients to be among the most distinguished world leaders in their fields. This is a tremendous honor and recognition of Jeff's contributions to this university, our students, his colleagues, and the people we serve. Congratulations, Distinguished Professor Morrell!
New Director for Institute for Natural Resources
Gail L. Achterman has been named the Director of the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University. The Institute for Natural Resources—created in 2001 as part of the Oregon Sustainability Act—conducts important research on natural resource issues, and develops and evaluates data that help Oregon's political and resource management leaders create sound policy based the latest scientific findings. Achterman will be the first full-time director of the institute. Dean Hal Salwasser has been interim director since its inception, during which time the institute has completed a review of the Oregon Scenic Waterways Program for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and led a refinement of environmental benchmarks for the Oregon Progress Board.
According to Dean Salwasser," Gail not only brings full time attention to the mission of the Institute, but she brings a wealth of experience and perspectives from her many years of work in natural resources law and policy."
Rich Holdren, vice provost for research at OSU, called the hiring of Achterman "an exciting success" for the institute."Gail has natural resource policy experience in the state and federal government, she has worked with environmental law in private industry, and she has headed a nonprofit corporation," Holdren said.Achterman was Executive Director of the Deschutes Resources Conservancy, a locally created, private non-profit organization dedicated to restoring streamflows and improving water quality in the Deschutes Basin of Central Oregon. She also spent nearly 20 years in private law practice with Stoel Rives LLP in Portland, where she focused on natural resources and environmental law.
Achterman has also served as an assistant to former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt on natural resource issues and as a legal adviser for the U.S. Department of the Interior. She also chaired the Governor's Task Force on Impacts of Growth for Governor John Kitzhaber in 1998 and is now a member of the Oregon Transportation Commission.
She received her A.B. from Stanford University in economics in 1971, her J.D. from University of Michigan in 1974, and a M.S. in natural resource policy and management from the University of Michigan in 1975. Achterman currently is a member of the Oregon Transportation Commission, the President's Board of Advisors of Oregon State University, and the Governor's Task Force on Industrial Lands Availability. From 1981 to 1985, she served on the Oregon Water Policy Review Board, the predecessor of Oregon's Water Resources Commission.
"Oregon's universities are very fortunate to have Gail Achterman now heading the Institute," Dean Salwasser said." She is already building and strengthening bridges between academia and people in state, federal, and local government with interests in natural resources." New Director for Institute for Natural Resources "New director for Institute for Natural Resources is building and strengthening bridges between academia and people in state, federal, and local government with interests in natural resources."
Forestry Communications Group, Peavy Hall 256