FS 533 Fundamentals of Silviculture (3 credits)

Graduate student status. Background in basic sciences and/or ecology.

Klaus J. Puettmann Phone 541-737-8974
218 Richardson Hall FAX 541-737-1393
Klaus.Puettmann@oregonstate.edu Office Hours: Any time TU or TH

Class Hours:
Lab           TU 2:00-4:50         CRN 27390
Lecture     TH 2:00-3:20         CRN 27382

Peavy 108

All handouts, assignments, etc. are also located on the COF server under: T:\teach\classes\fs533.

Introduction to silvics, forest dynamics, and the scientific basis for regeneration techniques, density management, and other silvicultural practices.

Expected minimum skill and expertise:
Prerequisites include a basic science background and background in biology and ecology (e.g., basic biology or ecology classes). A review of ecological concepts in background readings will allow students to develop a basic understanding of forest ecosystem development. A list of suggested additional readings is provided (see below under Supplemental Books and Additional Readings).

Course Objectives:

1. Students will be able to predict short- and long-term ecosystem responses to common silvicultural practices, based on fundamental ecological concepts such as succession, stand dynamics, nitrogen-productivity relationships.
2. Students will be able to put research questions in disciplines such as genetics, wildlife management, or social studies, into perspective as to their implications in a managed forest landscape.
3. Students will be able to assess silvicultural practices and trends and determine what research needs (in various disciplines) these practices and trends create.
4. Students will be able to understand silvicultural terminology and discuss principles of natural and artificial regeneration, intermediate stand treatments such as thinning and pruning, and silvicultural systems.
5. Students will be able to apply silvicultural concepts to simple case studies.

Course activities:

Lectures are generally scheduled for Thursdays and a few Tuesdays. They will focus on putting the readings into perspective and link silvicultural and ecological concepts. Their goal is to provide an overview over basic silvicultural concepts and highlight the scientific basis for silvicultural practices. The instructor assumes students have read the assigned material and the lecture will not just duplicate material covered in the readings.

Field trips: Field trips (local, during lab sessions) and one Saturday field trip will provide real world experiences. They will help visualize basic ecological and silvicultural concepts. Students are expected to read assigned readings before the field trip. Assignments and examination questions will based on topics covered on field trips. Please be prepared for any weather and dress accordingly.

Discussion sessions: While interactions are encouraged during every lecture and field trip, a few Tuesday sessions are specifically scheduled for discussions. Obviously, it is essential for students to read the assigned reading before the session. Goals of these sessions include for students to understand the scientific basis for silvicultural practices and highlight the link between silviculture and scientific disciplines, specifically disciplines of studentsí interest.

Term Paper: Goal of the term paper is to provide more detailed insights into linkages between studentís specific field of study and silvicultural research and/or applications. Students will select the paper topic. The topic and early drafts will be reviewed and approved by instructor. Students will present their term paper to the class at the end of the quarter.

Writing Assignments: Students will be assigned short write-ups to questions and/or summarize their interpretation and opinions about field trip topics. Assignments will be handed out during field trips and will provide the starting points for class discussions. Assignments will be graded.

Examinations: One midterm exam and one final exam consisting of questions based on lectures (by the instructor and guest lectures), exercises, field trips, discussion sessions, and assigned readings. Exams will be closed book and cover the material since the last exam. However, silviculture builds on basic principles that should not be forgotten as the course progresses. Students might encounter questions that require them to recall material from earlier course segments. Questions will have the intent to make students reason and demonstrate their understanding, rather than regurgitate facts. Some of the questions include presentations of a situation (i.e., case studies) that call for a concise, complete answer. Make-up exams are only allowed in extenuating circumstances and if the instructor is informed before the regular exam time.

Class participation is encouraged, welcome, and graded. Students may be asked to lead discussion on specific topics. This will allow the whole class to benefit from the range of backgrounds and interests in the class.

The instructor presents lectures and leads discussions, provides handouts, leads field trips, provides opportunity for help during office hours and other scheduled times, provides timely feedback on exams and other assignments, upon request will help with choice of term paper topics, offer guidance with other silvicultural topics of interest. The students will: read assigned readings before class periods, participate in class and field trip discussions, inquire about issues that are not clear from the reading, discussions, or lectures, hand in assignments on time, study the subject matters, and prepare for examinations.

Only in special circumstances (e.g., illness) and if the instructor has been notified in advance will late assignments be accepted without penalties. In all other cases, assignments handed in up to 1 day late will be penalized by 10%, 2 days late - 20%, and 3 days late - 30%, and so on. No assignment will be accepted more than 7 days late.

Grading will be on a curve and the grade will partially reflect rankings among classmates, i.e., the exact cutoffs will be determined at the end of the class. The instructor will provide feedback about point ranges during the class periods, e.g., after the midterm.

If students disagree with the grading of a question or an assignment, they need to provide a brief written statement on why they think their answer is correct and/or deserves more credit. Referencing reading material or class notes to back up any arguments is helpful. This will force students to rethink the question; they cannot help but learn from the exam. Grades will be based on:

Midterm 25%
Term paper (including presentation) 30%
Final 35%
Class participation (Term paper presentation, discussions) 10%

Class/field schedule and Required readings

Week 1:

  • Initial Survey
  • Initial Questions
  • Silviculture Terminology
  • Franklin et al.

  • Introduction
    Stand and Landscape Dynamics

    Week 2:
  • Sample midterm questions

  • Site Productivity

    Week 3:
  • Rose et al. (2006)

  • Regeneration
    Vegetation Management

    Week 4:
    Important aspects from reading

    Vegetation Management cont.

    Week 5:
    Reading guidance for Thursday

    Measuring timber products
    Volume and growth measurements


    Week 6:

    Tree growth, forest management and their implications for wood quality

    Density Management

    Week 7:
    Density Management cont.

    Week 8:
    Silvicultural Systems

    Week 10:
    Student presentations

    Professionalism and Honesty
    You will be expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Academic dishonesty such as plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Therefore, students are expected to be honest and ethical in their academic work. Academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in one of the following areas: * cheating- use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids, * fabrication- falsification or invention of any information, * assisting- helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty, * tampering- altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents, or * plagiarism- representing the words or ideas of another person as one's own. For more information about academic integrity and the University's policies and procedures in this area, please refer to the Student Conduct web site and the section on Academic Regulations in the OSU Schedule of Classes.

    The goal of Oregon State University is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and wisdom they need to contribute to society. OSU rules are formulated to guarantee each student's freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others. People must treat each other with dignity and respect in order for scholarship to thrive. Behaviors that are disruptive to teaching and learning will not be tolerated, and will be referred to the Student Conduct Program for disciplinary action. Behaviors that create a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment based on gender, race, ethnicity, color, religion, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation will be referred to the Affirmative Action Office. For more information, please refer to the OSU web site at http://osu.orst.edu/mission/.

    Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations, who have any emergency medical information the instructor should know, or who need special arrangements in the event of an evacuation, should make an appointment with the instructor as early as possible, but no later than the first week of the term. In order to arrange alternative testing, the student should make the request at least one week in advance of the test. Students seeking accommodations should be registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

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