Fire Control a Hot Issue
In the wake of last summer's devastating wildfires, the controversy over managing federal forests continues. Dean Hal Salwasser believes it's not a question of whether to actively manage our forests, but how. He told Salem's Capital Press recently that "the world cannot tolerate no forest management." Salwasser and colleagues from the College recently toured the state with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute to explain why state and federal funding should be made available for monitoring and evaluating forest management practices, particularly in light of the potential for huge losses due to uncontrollable wildfires.
"We've got to bust some barriers," Salwasser told the Oregon Stater last December. "We need to bring universities into a more integral role with agencies in designing education, research, monitoring, and outreach applied to problem solving." Instituting carefully designed logging practices to reduce fuel conditions, restoring forest health and thereby reducing wildfire hazards are among Salwasser's major goals.
The College has actively supported efforts by Senator Gordon Smith and Representative Greg Walden by participating in their town hall meetings to provide a scientific perspective on forest management. Spurred by the belief that the information necessary to achieve the vision articulated in the National Fire Plan is inadequate, Salwasser and others submitted a concept paper last November to Smith and Walden, requesting congressional approval to establish a Fire Intensified Research and Education (FIRE) Program. The program would tailor research and education to local and regional needs in areas with high wildfire risk.
Other faculty members throughout the College are making proposals to the federal Joint Fire Science Program to gain funding for research on specific preand post-fire management issues. Included are proposals aimed at studying salvage logging and reforestation practices; interactions between climate, fire regimes, and fire management; and relations between pre-fire conditions and fire effects on sites burned in the 2002 wildfires.
Reuter Joins Cascades Campus Faculty
OSU welcomes Ron Reuter, who recently joined the College of Forestry as Assistant Professor in Natural Resources at the Cascades Campus in Bend. His academic home is the Forest Resources Department. Reuter was most recently a lecturer and lab instructor in the Range Resources and Wildland Soils Department at the College of Natural Resources and Sciences at Humboldt State University. He holds a BS in Environmental Resource Management from Penn State University, an MS in Soil Science from the University of Idaho, and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota.
Ethiopian Fulbright Scholar Visits OSU
Tesafaye Teshome, Fulbright Scholar and Academic and Research Vice President of Debub University in south central Ethiopia is here at OSU for a six-month stay. Teshome was the first graduate of the Wondo Genet College of Forestry at Debub twenty-five years ago, and his goal is to further develop the college as a center of excellence in the region.
His visit marks the solidification of what promises to be a long-term collaborative partnership between OSU and Teshome's institution in Africa. With the financial support of the Counsel for International Exchange Scholars, he is here to prepare manuscripts for publication in the area of forest growth and modeling, working closely with David Hann in Forest Resources. He is working with Bart Thielges, Badege Bishaw, and Loren Kellogg to complete a jointly written proposal to USAID to secure funding to develop a curriculum in natural resources management at Wondo Genet. In addition, Teshome is updating the teaching materials for forest management classes at Wondo Genet by studying what is offered here at OSU.
Thinned Forests, Healthy Forests
For the young forests that cover vast portions of the Pacific Northwest, the message is clear: thin is in. Thinning can help young forests develop old-growth characteristics and can enhance the diversity of plants and animals — but only if methods are used that protect shrubs, hardwoods, and large or old trees.
According to John Tappeiner, Forest Resources professor and retired USGS forest scientist, the many thousands of acres of productive young plantations on federal lands are now being considered for management to provide for old forest wildlife habitat, rather than for wood production as was originally intended. Tappeiner has been working with scientists from
the departments of Forest Science, Botany and Plant Pathology, Entomology, the BLM, and USGS to study the growth patterns of old-growth stands, and younger thinned and unthinned stands in the Cascades and Coast Range. Evidence suggests that large old-growth trees apparently grew at lower density than is found in many of today's plantations.
Thinning dense young forests may help the trees grow faster and can also improve biodiversity, especially when shrub stems, hardwood trees, and old remnant conifers are left intact. Diversity and abundance of mosses and lichens, especially those important as food for wildlife — forest songbirds, caterpillars, and other insects — were greater in thinned young stands and old-growth stands than in young, unthinned stands.
Tappeiner doesn't advocate an across-the-board prescription for thinning, though. "We need to develop thinning prescriptions on a site-by-site basis. Variations in stand density, age, species composition, history, ownership, site quality, and management objectives among and within stands need to be considered site quality carefully for each stand and instance of thinning."
J. R. Dilworth Memorial Fund: Jeff Hollenbeck, Andrea Laliberte, and Amie Shovlain; Forestry Graduate Fellowship: Adam Wiskind; Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Felllowship: Christina Kakoyannis; Arnold and Vera Meier Fellowship: Christine Shaw; Alfred W. Moltke Scholarship: Ryan Gordon; Richardson Family Fellowship: Erin Kelly and Fernanda Pegas; Saubert Fellowship: Erin Kelly, Amie Shovlain; and Adam Wiskind; Schutz Family Fellowship: Amie Shovlain; Supplemental Laurels: James Dickinson, Amie Shovlain, and Julie Wirth; Targeted Graduate Tuition Scholarship: Peter Giampaoli; and Weyerhaeuser Research Fellowship: Eric Toman
Forestry Communications Group, Peavy Hall 256