We’d like to congratulate professor emeritus Richard Waring, who was honored as one of three recipients of the 2020 Marcus Wallenberg Prize.  He gave the acceptance speech in the digital ceremony and symposium held on October 26, 2021.

Waring, along with co-honorees Joe Landsberg and Nicholas Coops, developed a revolutionary computer model to predict forest growth in a changing climate.  Together these scientists fundamentally changed the understanding of forest growth, providing new, spatially explicit tools that are routinely used by forest managers, scientists and policy makers.  The annual prize, one of the highest honors in the field of forestry, is named for the late Marcus Wallenberg Jr., a banker, industrialist and member of Sweden’s long-influential Wallenberg family.

Richard Waring joined the OSU College of Forestry faculty in 1963 and remained active in forest science teaching and research until 2018. The award was announced in April of last year.

The National Science Foundation awarded assistant professor Reem Hajjar $1.6 million through the DISES (Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems) program to research community forestry in Southeast Asia.

Hajjar, with a team of researchers, will study the impacts that community forestry has had on preventing deforestation while enhancing local livelihoods dependent on those forests. Researchers include professor Matt Betts, associate professors Robert Kennedy and Jamon Van Den Hoek from Geography, and assistant professor Samuel Bell from Applied Economics, as well as participating organizations the Spatial Informatics Group and the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC).

“Scholars and practitioners have long sought answers to the question: what institutional arrangements -such as particular policies, organizational structures, informal norms and rules- are the best way to balance the two, often competing, objectives of rural development and forest conservation?” Hajjar says.

Case studies show that community forest management, where some degree of forest rights and responsibilities is transferred to local communities, can be an effective form of decentralized forest governance but long-term success and sustainability is variable.

“Our project will identify the conditions that lead to positive community forest management outcomes, like increased forest cover, biodiversity, or local incomes, and the contexts and arrangements that lead to substantial trade-offs across Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia,” Hajjar says.

In an unprecedented scale of analysis, this project will investigate and model the impacts of changes in community forest management institutional arrangements on forest conditions and livelihoods.

Using spatial datasets, researchers will test the hypotheses that community forest management is more likely to maintain and restore forest cover and biodiversity and enhance community livelihoods relative to forests that national governments manage. However, they expect that the magnitude of these impacts will be affected by the types of rights that communities can exercise over their forests and how secure those rights are. They also expect that impacts will be affected by baseline social conditions, like poverty levels and distance to markets, and baseline ecological conditions, like forest degradation and agricultural suitability. The researchers are hoping to additionally uncover the feedback mechanisms that drive this social-ecological system towards positive outcomes.

“With our research design, we can test to see if a positive feedback loop is driving social-ecological outcomes. Since communities now have some rights over those forests, we can see if communities are benefiting from more forest products and services associated with improving forest condition,” Hajjar says. “That, in turn, could incentivize them to continue to manage the forest sustainably and lead to better forest conditions.”

The result will be generalizable models that recognize feedbacks between forest conditions and livelihoods under community forest management. The goal is to produce models capable of predicting landscape and livelihood changes at various spatial and temporal scales under changing institutional drivers and ecological conditions.

The project will also train two PhD students, a master’s student and a postdoctoral fellow, in data science, qualitative methods and modeling. Course materials will be developed to bring socio-environmental modeling exercises into the classroom at Oregon State and at partner universities in Cambodia. Open access user-friendly datasets, maps and models will be available for scholars and practitioners working on environmental governance systems in the U.S. and beyond. Finally, policy briefs will be produced to inform ongoing debates about community forestry in SE Asia.

“This work will be of interest to governments and organizations promoting local governance of natural resources, including in the U.S., where forests under community management are increasing in number, and in low- and middle-income countries where communities manage over 25% of forests,” Hajjar says.

Position at Oregon State University: Assistant Professor of Integrated Human and Ecological Systems (FES)

Tell us a little bit about where you are from…
Well, that’s a bit of a complicated question. You ready? I’m a Canadian citizen and I tend to call Montreal “home” because that’s where most of my family still lives. But we immigrated to Canada from the United Arab Emirates, where I was born and spent the first 10 years of my life, but I’m not a U.A.E citizen. I was (and I guess, technically still am) a Lebanese citizen, even though I’ve never been to Lebanon, and don’t consider myself “from” there. Really though, we’re Palestinian – my parents fled Palestine as refugees in 1948 and unfortunately have not been back since, so I have no official Palestinian papers – just part of the large diaspora.. And now I’m a permanent resident in the U.S. So I guess you could say I’m a twice first gen immigrant (first to Canada, now to the U.S.) daughter of Palestinian refugees. [If you think that’s complicated, you should hear my parents’ stories!]. When I’m trying to keep it simple, I say I’m Palestinian-Canadian, and I’m going to Montreal for the holidays.

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?
I came because I was offered a great job in FES as an Assistant Professor, and Oregon seemed like a great place to live! Although I did much of my schooling and training in the east and Midwest (Montreal, New York, Michigan), I did my PhD at UBC, and after 8+ years in Vancouver I was sold on West Coast living and mild winters, so I was pretty excited to land in Oregon.

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?
This is a tough one. I like the general atmosphere of the college – producing excellent work but also somehow relaxed and easy going (most of the time). But I think one of the most enjoyable parts of my job has been mentoring grad students. We attract some really great grad students here. I have been incredibly fortunate so far in working with fantastic grad students who are not only great scholars but also inspiring human beings. They really keep me going.

What’s a cool work-related project you are working on right now?
Gosh, all the projects are really cool, it’s hard to choose! I lead a research group called FoLIAGe (Forests, Livelihoods, Institutions and Governance), and we tackle a lot of difficult questions on how to balance conservation and development with innovative governance mechanisms, in the U.S. and in several tropical countries. A really cool project that I’m super excited about right now is one that we’ve been trying to get funded for several years, and finally got funded by NSF this year. It’s a large-scale analysis of the effects of community forestry on forests and livelihoods in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Given the unprecedented scale of the analysis, we’ll get to test some key hypotheses that have previously mostly been examined with case studies. It’s a large collaboration with several others across OSU and partners in the Mekong. It’s just so exciting that we’re finally going to get to do it! Now to carve out adequate time to actually work on it…

What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m now a typical West Coaster outside of work. My wife Julie and I spend lots of time in the woods – hiking, running, mountain biking. I also love to cook and get obsessed with good kitchen knives. And I read a fair amount – switching off between fiction and non-fiction. One of my favourite things in life is lounging on a warm beach with a good book. If we lived near a warmer coast, I’d be there very often, swimming, diving, and lounging. In a past life, my favourite things included wandering around big cities taking photographs and sampling street foods and cafes.

What’s your favorite food?
It’s a dish called kibbeh, made to perfection by my mother and replicated poorly by me. Every time I visit my parents in Montreal I come back with half my luggage full of kibbeh from my mum and manakeesh from a local Lebanese bakery (I have to go all the way to San Francisco to find a good Lebanese bakery on this side of the continent – and it’s aptly called “Reem’s”). I don’t identify as Lebanese at all (despite the expired passport), except for when it comes to the food – they really know what they’re doing with their cuisine, and that part of our culture I’m happy to say is influenced by them.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?
When I was living in the east – the Fall. The crispness of the air, the array of oranges and reds that are Fall foliage. Unbeatable. But now on the west coast Fall is not so grand and a little too wet. So I’d say Summer. Yes, it gets pretty hot and dry, but it’s in my blood to like the heat – I was born in the desert! But mostly I like summer activities and the slower rhythm of things when work revolves around hikes rather than the other way around.

Do you have any children or pets?
We got our puppy Miko at the start of the COVID shutdowns – fantastic decision! She’s the sweetest pups ever and has really gotten us through some tough times with her cuteness. Now we’re slowly getting her used to staying home alone while both moms are at the office. Poor baby. She’s been known to howl when we leave.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?
I wish I were a morning person. I think morning people have a superpower (it’s not natural!). It seems like it would be so lovely to enjoy being awake at dawn and getting more stuff done before the day starts.

Position at Oregon State University: Assistant Director of Development for the College of Forestry

Tell us a little bit about where you are from… 
I was born and raised in the “iconic” suburb of Hillsboro, OR. Fun fact about Hillsboro, for a while it was home to the largest Costco in the world–or at least that was the suburban legend growing up there.

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?
I graduated from COF in 2018 and I returned to CoF in 2020 to start my role as Assistant Director of Development. In my role I help fundraise for the College; think scholarships, fellowships, program support etc.

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?
My favorite part about working for COF is the sense of purpose it provides me. I strongly believe in the transformational power of higher education and I believe that forestry and natural resource management is critical to a sustainable future. So working for the College of Forestry is at the nexus of my passions and fundraising for something I truly believe in makes it easy(ier) 😉 to wake up and come to work everyday.

What’s a cool work-related project you are working on right now?
My favorite thing to do at work right now is taking donors on tours of the new Peavy Forest Science Center. It is awesome to see alumni’s faces light up when they are checking out all the unique spaces. I have heard from more than one alum that they wish they could come back and be a student just to study in the new Peavy–it is pretty awesome!

What do you like to do outside of work?
Hobbies, family, volunteer work, etc. I like to camp, hike, and kayak when I can and hang out with my friends and family as often as possible. I also enjoy a spending an afternoon in a hammock with a good book. Post-pandemic I am excited to get back to my favorite volunteer program working with Let’s Go Camping to teach families new to camping “how to camp”–its so fun and rewarding!

What’s your favorite food?
I am not sure what my favorite food would be today, too many to chose from. But I know that in kindergarten I wrote in my “About Me” book that my favorite food was salted peanuts and honestly they still hold up today.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?
My favorite time of year is the 1st week of transition between the seasons. The first rain of fall and the first sunny day of spring always make me pick my head up a little and smile at the world around me.

Do you have any children or pets?
I have a Decker Terrier named Ty that my husband and I adopted when we were students at OSU. Fun fact about Decker terriers, they are breed of heftier rat terriers that were originally bred by Milton Decker, College of Forestry class of 1960. You can read the story here: https://nationalpurebreddogday.com/the-decker-rat-terrier/

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?
If I had a superpower it would be to absorb knowledge through osmosis so if I took a nap on a textbook I would just absorb the knowledge in my sleep.

Position at Oregon State University: Director, Oregon Wood Innovation Center

Tell us a little bit about where you are from…
I was born in Cincinnati, grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, and have been in Oregon for about 30 years.

What brought you to OSU? What is your role in the College of Forestry?
I came to OSU as a graduate student and once I graduated, I was hired as a Forest Products Extension Agent for OSU in Klamath County. My role then and now is to provide technical assistance to wood products manufacturers. I also teach a course in WSE called Advanced Manufacturing 1.

What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Forestry?
I really like the atmosphere of the college. People are quite friendly, love what they do (and that’s contagious) and really go out of their way for our students. Specifically, in the work I do, I love the variety – every day is different.

What’s a cool work-related project you are working on right now?
A lot of the work I’ve been doing lately is related to helping companies develop new products. For example, I’m working now with a company that has developed a new siding product. They need to know how it will perform in temperature and humidity extremes, with UV exposure and in wet conditions. So I’m torturing this material in an environmental chamber in the Oak Creek Building.

What do you like to do outside of work? Hobbies, family, volunteer work, etc.
My wife and I are homebodies and we really just enjoy being together and going for walks in town. As far as hobbies go, I started learning to play guitar and banjo a couple years ago – and I envy anyone who did that in their teens or earlier as opposed to doing so once you’ve passed the half-century mark! I’ve also volunteered a bit with my church to provide assistance to widows in the community with chores around the house.

What’s your favorite food?
That’s a tough one. Having just visited Chicago again recently, I really miss the gyros and Italian beef sandwiches.

What’s your favorite time of the year? Why?
I really love the western Oregon winters! Yeah, that’s odd I realize – gray skies, drizzle, etc. But I love it. And I realize that more than ever now following the unbearably hot summer we just endured.

Do you have any children or pets?
Yes – we have two daughters (ages 22 and 24) and both live in Eugene. And we are the neighborhood halfway house for ‘surplus’ cats (we currently have 2).

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why?
I’m not sure what this would be called, but I’d like to be able to slow down time – as a superhero, you could stop the bad guys by having more time to react. And as I think about it, that would be nice in just interacting with family and friends too!

Congratulations to Arijit Sinha, 2021 University Day award recipient of the Industry Partnering Award. This award recognizes a faculty member who achieves extraordinarily high impact innovations through research collaborations with industry. Sinha is a critical player in the development of Oregon’s growing mass timber industry. He led testing resulting in certification of DR Johnson’s cross-laminated timber panels as well as Freres Lumber Company’s Mass Plywood Panels.

Oregon State University assistant professor of global change conservation Takuya Iwamura wants to address the pressing matters of biodiversity conservation and a sustainable future through his research.

“International agreements such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have brought global attention to the importance of ecological integrity for our survival. I believe our research can contribute to turning the tide to increase the chance of a better existence in the future under global change,” Iwamura says.

To address the sustainability issues arising from human and nature interactions, he applies a holistic approach based on quantitative methods such as remote sensing, GIS and computational modeling to forest, animal and human activities.

Iwamura thinks this mixed approach is more appealing to a broader audience who is not necessarily interested in traditional scientific communication such as mathematical formulas.

“Computational modeling and simulation is a more accessible format to tell a strong and moving story about science and research,” Iwamura says. “Many people want to know about biodiversity extinction and human health risks, and when you see a human character moving in an actual landscape and encountering, for example, snakes in the field in our model, it captures your imagination.”

One example of Iwamura’s work is building a spatially explicit human-snake interaction model to explain snakebite risk in Sri Lanka.

He and his team applied mixed research methods based on remote sensing, snake observation, and social interviews related to farmer behaviors. They combined this information using agent-based modeling (ABM), a bottom-up computational simulation approach to model human agents in a realistic landscape.

“We created a computational unit to represent a farmer’s behavior and see how they move across a virtual landscape,” says Iwamura. “We then estimated snakebite occurrences based on potential snake distribution and overlap with humans, which is temperature and precipitation sensitive.”

Iwamura and his team discovered that the type of farming a farmer does, whether rice, rubber or tea, significantly affects the risks associated with snakebites.

As farmers choose different farming methods to adapt to a changing climate and snakes also shift spatially and temporally to adapt to climate change scenarios, snakebite risk adjusts.

“Revealing the mechanism of human and nature interactions is the key to many pressing problems that our planet faces,” says Iwamura. “I believe our approach will be useful to understand how society and ecology adapt to recent global changes, including climatic and land-use changes.”

As a faculty member in the forest, ecosystems and society department, Iwamura researches ways for human beings and nature to coexist. After studying complex systems and artificial intelligence, he worked as a business consultant in Tokyo to learn problem-solving with the hope of applying tools for business management to solve environmental issues.

He moved to the United States to study environmental management at Duke University. He discovered his interest in biodiversity conservation, working first as an intern at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Washington, D.C. He was intrigued by academics and research, which led him to Australia to pursue his PhD in spatial resource allocation with Professor Hugh Possingham, who later served as chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy.

“Working with Hugh taught me a lot, especially about impactful science for environmental problem solving,” says Iwamura.

After his time in Australia, Iwamura moved back to the U.S. for a postdoctoral position at Stanford University. He studied geography with Professor Eric Lambin and gained experience working with and researching Indigenous communities with Dr. José Fragoso.

“This was a perfect transition, and it broadened my horizon quite a bit into the human side of things,” says Iwamura.

Iwamura then moved to Israel to be an assistant professor at Tel Aviv University. All those moves forced Iwamura to do the hard work of learning a different language and culture, shaping him into a global citizen adept at navigating human and social dimensions and viewing experiences and life through multiple lenses.

Iwamura believes an interdisciplinary approach is the key for solving ecological problems. He is interested in revealing the mechanism to explain how nature and humans interact using the scientific domain of social-ecological systems.

Iwamura joined the OSU College of Forestry in January 2021 and looks forward to an in-person fall resumption and working with many people across campus.

“I am particularly excited with the collaborative nature of OSU. I have already started some work at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, where I met many researchers and friends. It feels good to know we have such a strong community,” says Iwamura.

A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

The Oregon State University College of Forestry welcomes Professor Holly Ober as the Associate Dean for Science Outreach and Program Leader for Forestry and Natural Resources Extension

“I am thrilled to join the OSU College of Forestry,” says Dr. Ober. “The breadth and depth of the expertise of individuals involved in Extension and Outreach within the college are impressive. The Forestry and Natural Resources Extension program at OSU is one of the largest and most comprehensive natural resource Extension programs in the country, and widely recognized as one of the best.”

Previously Dr. Holly Ober served as Associate Program Leader for Natural Resources for the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. In the role, she provided leadership for approximately 150 county and state faculty. Dr. Ober was also a Professor and Extension Specialist, conducting applied, interdisciplinary research to increase understanding of the mechanisms that influence wildlife habitat selection and productivity in forests to inform conservation and management strategies. She raised over $2.2 million in external funding and nearly $300,000 in internal funding, advised 11 graduate students, three undergraduate interns, and two post-doctoral researchers during her career. She has authored 42 peer-reviewed articles in wildlife, forestry, and inter-disciplinary journals.

As an Extension Specialist, she taught agency employees and private landowners to sustainably manage natural areas and improve stewardship of forests to provide habitat for wildlife. She led multi-day Extension workshops for natural resource managers, gave presentations to Extension audiences, produced peer-reviewed Extension documents to serve as a resource, and wrote several journal articles on the scholarship and importance of Extension.

Dr. Ober received her PhD from Oregon State University in Forest Science and Wildlife Biology in 2008. 

“Dr. Ober brings a great deal of experience, knowledge, and energy to this position,” says Tom DeLuca, Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry. “We were fortunate to attract her back to OSU from her position at Florida.”

Ober believes the need to convey information about the management of Oregon’s forests and the production of forest products has never been greater as we collectively grapple with complex issues.

“Just as teaching is essential to training the next generation of scientists, and research is essential to generating better understanding, Extension and outreach are essential to ensuring that scientific knowledge gets into the hands of people who need it to make sound decisions outside the formal university setting,” Ober says.

The Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) presented Dr. Eric Hansen, College of Forestry professor of forest products marketing and head of the department of wood science & engineering, the Distinguished Service Award.

This award recognizes distinguished service to the wood science and technology profession. Such service may have been made in any educational, technological, scientific or professional area directly related to the profession of wood science and technology in furtherance of the objectives of the Society as outlined in its constitution and bylaws.  Past Recipients

Congratulations to our 2021 Oregon State University College of Forestry graduates and awardees!

As part of the 2021 OSU Spring Commencement, the College awarded more than 200 undergraduate degrees, 54 master’s degrees and 26 graduate certificates.  13 students earned their doctoral degree as part of the ceremonies, the highest degree one can receive at OSU.

Commencement also provides an opportunity to announce our annual student, staff and faculty awards. Congratulations to our graduates and awardees.

Pack Essay award – Karra Showen
Created by Charles Lathrop Pack, the Pack Essay Award encourages sound communication skills for forestry and natural resource professionals.

Robert Aufderheide Award – Ashley D’Antonio
This award recognizes the outstanding instructor or professor on the teaching staff at the College of Forestry

Julie Kliewer Mentor Award Mindy Crandall
This award, also known as the XSP Mentor Award, is presented to the faculty or staff member who provides outstanding mentorship to students.

12th Annual Photo of the Year Contest – Jessica Blunn, for her photo “Legacies,” taken in the Holiday Farm Fire in the western Cascades.

Culture of Writing Award – Jay Sharpe and Rachel Villarreal
This award recognizes an individual’s ability to create a culture in which writing is taught, practiced, modeled, valued, and remembered.

Kelly Axe Award- Paul Catino
This award goes to a graduating senior who helps or cooperates tirelessly behind the scenes to advance the College. This award is unique in that the recipient generally receives little recognition for all of their efforts.

Harold Bowerman Leadership Award – Hanna Girod
Since 1976, the College annually recognizes a senior who demonstrates outstanding service to the College or University. The student selected exemplifies the Fernhopper Spirit through demonstrated leadership, unique contributions, and enthusiastic participation in student club activities and College programs.

Paul & Neva Dunn Outstanding Senior Award – Stacey Dunkley
The Dunn Outstanding Senior Award goes to the College’s outstanding graduating senior based on high academic achievement combined with professional ability.

Outstanding Senior Awards
Andrea Jacobs, E-Campus Natural Resources
Julian Kirchler, Natural Resources, Corvallis Campus
Cameron Castle, Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership
Quinn Smesrud, Renewable Materials
Gracie Stutzman, Forest Engineering
Ashley Backen, Forestry
Cody Irish, Forest Engineering/Civil Engineering