FY2023: a record year for research
Bolstered by a big jump in funding from U.S. government agencies, Oregon State University’s research awards in the last fiscal year surged to $480 million, a university record. The College of Forestry also closed out its best-ever year with $25 million in research grants and contracts for FY 2023.

Left: Faculty research assistant and master’s student Ashley Russell and Associate Dean Cristina Eisenberg. Russell is working with Eisenberg in the Indigenous Natural Resource Office and is a Miluk Coos and Pamunkey descendent, an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Coos Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians and assistant director of culture and natural resources for the Tribes. Photo: Karl Maasdam

Cristina Eisenberg named a Beaver Research Champion
Cristina Eisenberg, the associate dean for inclusive excellence and Maybelle Clark Macdonald director of Tribal initiatives in natural resources, was named an Oregon State Beaver Research Champion. Eisenberg leads the Indigenous Natural Resource Office, and within it, the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Lab. In partnership with five Sovereign Tribes in Oregon, her team is weaving together Indigenous Knowledge with western science to help the Bureau of Land Management adapt its forests in Oregon to be more resilient to climate change. Eisenberg and Dean Tom DeLuca recently received a $1M grant to work with leaders from the U.S. Forest Service and Tribal Nations to convene a series of Tribal roundtables around the Pacific Northwest. This work is in direct response to President Biden’s Executive Order 14072, which calls for conserving and safeguarding mature and old-growth forests.

Pacific Northwest’s semiconductor and sustainable timber industries to be strengthened by two tech hubs
The White House, through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, announced the designation of 31 Tech Hubs. Oregon State is the only university to lead two. The Pacific Northwest Mass Timber Tech Hub, led by TallWood Design Institute, a collaboration between Oregon State’s College of Forestry, College of Engineering and the University of Oregon, aims to be a global leader in mass timber design and manufacturing manufacturing, with a goal of reducing the construction industry’s carbon footprint and improving housing affordability.

Revision of Pacific Northwest bee ID key to support identification of native pollinators
Associate Professor Jim Rivers, in collaboration with OSU Extension, Oregon Department of Agriculture and Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, developed several bee ID keys to support native bee identification in the Pacific Northwest. The last version of the bee key was published in 1969. Given the growing interest in native pollinator conservation, the new bee ID keys will have a strong impact on bee research in the region.

Forest modeling shows which harvest rotations lead to maximum carbon sequestration
Forest modeling completed on the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest by College of Forestry graduate
student Catherine Carlisle and professors Temesgen Hailemariam and Stephen Fitzgerald, shows that a site’s productivity — an indicator of how fast trees grow and how much biomass they accumulate — is the main factor that determines which time period between timber harvests allows for maximum above-ground carbon sequestration. Over a 240- year projection timeframe, scientists found that for highly productive stands, 60-year rotations with low-intensity thinning at 40 years led to the greatest carbon storage (in the standing trees plus what was removed from the thinning). For stands on less productive sites, they found carbon storage was maximized by rotation periods of 80 years or 120 years.

Update from the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest
On August 5, 2023, a lightning strike ignited a wildfire within the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and Long-term Ecological Research site in Oregon’s Cascade mountains, ultimately burning across 70% of the forest. The fire, dubbed the Lookout Fire because the ignition point was on Lookout Mountain, burned 25,000 acres, incinerating long-term, decades-old research plots and altering study sites.

2023 also marked 75 years of ecological data collection, and 42 years of Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) inquiry. The Andrews, as it’s affectionately known, also celebrated a successful midterm review by the National Science Foundation.

Throughout the challenges and celebrations, the H.J. Andrews community continues to make discoveries about the forest and engage with forest managers, teachers, students of all levels, artists, writers, musicians and many other groups.

Bridging gaps between forestry and engineering to better understand community resilience to wildfire
Wildfire researchers from Oregon State University, including College of Forestry Assistant Professor Chris Dunn, have received $750,000 for multiple projects to advance the science of wildfire risk and resilience. The strategies include embedding a doctoral student in Ashland, Oregon, the site of the largest primarily urban blaze in Oregon history that occurred in 2020; planning a global center for transdisciplinary wildfire research on community resilience; and creating a wildfire risk and resilience graduate program jointly advised by faculty in OSU’s colleges of engineering and forestry.

Researchers from 6 countries are coming together to advance mass timber adoption

Approaching research with an international lens enables Oregon State University to enter a global dialogue — and take steps towards changing the world. One example? The Converging Design project, a powerful international mass timber research collaboration spearheaded jointly by a team from Oregon State, Colorado State University, Stanford and Penn State University.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the USDA Agricultural Research Service and private industry, the project’s aim is to investigate the seismic resilience of mass timber and its strength as a low-carbon structural building material. This is important, as this data is critically needed to help speed along the development and adoption of building codes, showcase the sustainability of the material and increase the manufacturing of modular and prefabricated mass timber structures that will result in widespread U.S. adoption, as seen in other countries around the world.

To gather the necessary test data, the research team is conducting a shake-table test on a six-story mass timber building at the national shake-table testing site at the University of California San Diego. Part of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure, the shake-table is the largest in the world.

Originally 10 stories tall, the test building was constructed by the Colorado School of Mines, with the support of international partners including the University College London in the U.K, University of Canterbury in New Zealand, University of Kyoto in Japan, and University of Camerino in Italy. To gather the seismic data needed for this project,the structure only needed to be six stories, so prior to the testing, the OSU teams deconstructed the top four stories of the building. The salvaged components are being repurposed into refugee housing in Tijuana, Mexico, showcasing the potential for mass timber reuse.“It’s exciting to work with such a diverse group of both academic and industry partners,’’ said Andre Barbosa, the Glenn Willis Holcomb professor in structural engineering at the College of Engineering. “This unique project is one of the first demonstrations of mass timber reuse and of mass timber’s seismic resilience.”

Barbosa, in collaboration with Arijit Sinha, professor of wood science and engineering and JELD-WEN chair in wood-based composites science at the College of Forestry, originally started investigating the systems using a three-story mass timber structure. The test structure was built inside the Oregon State University A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory lab at the TallWood Design Institute. This allowed the team to investigate initial design methods, assumptions and obtain results before refining them for the larger six story building seismic testing at UC San Diego.

“This work is vitally important to validate the use of mass timber and other technologies as vehicles to make buildings safer and more resistant to earthquake activity while simultaneously storing carbon,” Sinha said. “This creates a synergistic combination for enhanced structural and environmental performance.”

The test structure will undergo a three-phase test process (see below), employing different seismic lateral force-resisting systems in each test. These systems employ a variety of vertical elements in the construction of buildings to help transfer lateral loads like heavy winds or earthquake ground motion shaking. They also allow a building to rock, sway and dissipate the energy, and self-center after shaking, therefore minimizing damage.

The project tests different resilient lateral force resisting systems (LFRS) over three phases to advance seismic resiliency. Phase 1 involves testing post-tensioned rocking wall systems (both cross-laminated timber [CLT] and mass plywood panels [MPP]) similar in nature to the LFRS used in the College of Forestry’s Peavy Forest Science Center. This system uses steel U-shaped flexural plates for energy dissipation and tensioned rods for self-centering action. Phase 2 features post-tensioned MPP shear walls reinforced with buckling-restrained braces (BRBs), which are placed at the bottom of the walls instead of along their entire length, such as with U-shaped flexural plates. Phase 3 will explore a hybrid wood-steel system, replacing the mass timber shear walls with a resilient steel moment/braced frame hybrid system, but keeping mass timber floors.

In November 2023, the Converging Design team completed Phase 1. They found the mass timber structure experienced virtually no damage after nearly fifty ground motion shakes from the shake-table, demonstrating the resilience of the building system. Phase 2, completed in January 2024, showcased the resilient nature of the post-tensioned mass timber walls with buckling-restrained braces. The remaining phase of testing is expected to be complete by spring 2024. Follow along and find live updates on the TallWood Design Institute website!

One way to strengthen international collaboration is to join global organizations. Another way? Lead them.

Woodam Chung, the Stewart professor of forest operations at the College of Forestry, was recently elected as the vice president for divisions of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). IUFRO is the most prestigious international forestry organization in the world, and since 2014, Chung has been the chair of IUFRO Division 3 Forest Operations Engineering and Management. He will begin his five-year term as vice president in June 2024 at the 26th World Congress held in Stockholm, Sweden.

“I am honored to do the work of guiding IUFRO’s nine divisions, and I firmly believe international collaboration and relationship-building are keys to success in our shared future,” said Chung. “Navigating the complexities of our world and finding innovative solutions to global challenges requires our collective effort.”

Established in 1892, IUFRO unites about 630 member organizations in more than 115 countries representing over 15,000 scientists. Structured by nine scientific divisions that encompass over 50 research groups, it also has 180 working parties based on research disciplines. IUFRO’s goal is to advance research excellence and knowledge-sharing and promote the development of science-based solutions to forest related challenges to benefit forests and people worldwide. The College of Forestry is a proud member.

IUFRO Management Committee members (including Woodam Chung, second from left) and leadership from University of Energy and Natural Resource in Ghana, September 2023.

Besides meeting every five years at Congress, the IUFRO management committee, an executive branch of the IUFRO board, meets twice a year, selecting a location or region where they can help establish or boost the IUFRO network. In the spring of 2023, the management committee met in Dehradun, India, and in the fall of 2023, they met in Accra, Ghana. While in Ghana, IUFRO members visited the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, the Forest Research Institute of Ghana in Kumasi, the Resource Management Support Center in Kumasi, and the Forestry Commission in Accra—all IUFRO member organizations. As a result of this work, the 27th IUFRO World Congress will be held in Africa for the
first time in 2029, in Nairobi, Kenya.

“It’s vitally important to meet local forest scientists, build a research and collaboration network, and encourage local scientists to participate in IUFRO activities,” said Chung. “Our international exchanges of knowledge, experiences and even mistakes improve our understanding and foster innovation.”

In fact, Chung says, new ideas often emerge from intersections of diverse industries, disciplines and cultures. And he knows this firsthand. Originally from South Korea, Chung has made a conscious decision to live and work far from his home country, learning, teaching and collaborating with a diverse group of international scholars, students and colleagues in the United States. He previously worked at the University of Montana and received his Ph.D. from Oregon State.

“Living and working in a global context has been my conscious choice,” Chung said. “In the past, I have had chances to find positions in Korea, but I chose to stay here because I believed it would offer more opportunities for global engagement despite the challenges of language and cultural barriers.”

Chung says global challenges such as climate change, deforestation, wildfires, illegal logging and the aging and diminishing workforce in the forest sector are issues not limited to local boundaries. As Chung looks to his new role leading IUFRO, he encourages others to build networks capable of collectively addressing challenges by combining their resources, expertise and experiences. And to those who’ve made the decision to come to Oregon State far from their home countries, Chung applauds their courage and enthusiasm for embracing global collaborations and navigating the challenges that come with it.

The College of Forestry will be at the IUFRO World Congress in June 2024. Find us at our booth in the Expo Hall. For more information, contact rona.bryan@oregonstate.edu.

Three members of the College of Forestry community will receive awards at the World Congress this June:

John Sessions
OSU Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Home country: USA
Award: IUFRO Scientific Achievement Award

Pipiet Larasatie
Ph.D. Wood Science and Engineering, ‘21
Home country: Indonesia
Award: IUFRO Outstanding Doctoral Research Award

Kamana Poudel
Ph.D. Forest Engineering,Resources & Management, ‘24
Home country: Nepal
Award: IUFRO Student Award for Excellence in Forest Science

Mariapaola Riggio, associate professor, and Patricia Vega, director of the Wood Based Composite Center, recently welcomed a group of distinguished USDA Cochran Fellows from Peru. The fellows, associated with universities across Peru, explored a diverse range of wood products manufacturers, cutting-edge research at laboratories and observed construction practices at various sites in the Pacific Northwest to learn about the U.S. construction industry and softwood products. The visit was made possible through the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program that promotes the utilization of high-quality U.S. softwood products and aligns with the broader vision of fostering a sustainable construction sector in Peru.

Mariapaola Riggio
Patricia Vega

Special thanks: City of Portland, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Jensen Hughes, Michael Thrailkill, CORRIM, Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute, Truebeck Construction, Andersen Construction, APA (The Engineered Wood Association), Freres Engineered Wood, Modern Building Systems, Boise Cascade, Roseburg Forest Products, Interfor, Royal Pacific, University of Oregon, TallWood Design Institute and the COF Wood Science and Engineering Department.

In partnership with United States Agency for International Development and the U.S. Forest Service International programs, Associate Professor Reem Hajjar has been leading a College of Forestry initiative to enhance teaching and research capacity at two Peruvian forestry universities, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, and Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana. The initiative will ultimately graduate 12 Peruvian students from the college’s Master of Natural Resources program. In addition to the MNR degrees, post-doctoral scholar Jazmin Gonzales Tovar led research with the students as co-researchers, working with various Indigenous peoples, on making informal forest institutions and enterprises in the Pervuian Amazon more visible.

Reem Hajjar
Jazmin Gonzales Tovar

Building on the success of the Peru project, Hajjar is working with USFS International Programs to have eight Ecuadorian students from various universities and government agencies complete the college’s Forests and Climate Change Certificate, as well as pedagogy and leadership classes, to advance these topics in their home institutions.

In collaboration with Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Centro de Estudios y Acción Social Panameño, Associate Professor Reem Hajjar is initiating a research collaboration on forest restoration governance in the Indigenous territory in Panama — Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca — to better understand how international forest carbon projects interact with local and traditional customs, institutions and livelihoods.

Hajjar is also continuing her National Science Foundation funded work on community forestry in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, in collaboration with The Center for People and Forests, a regional NGO, to assess the impacts of community forests on forest cover, forest biodiversity and community livelihoods.

Assistant Professor Loren Albert and her research group are tackling two international projects. The first, funded by NSF, focuses on the ecohydrology of Amazon forests. The other, funded by NASA, aims to advance scientists’ ability to estimate flows of carbon between forests and the atmosphere from space with remote sensing, and includes a partnership with Brazilian faculty to lead a field course for Brazilian graduate students to learn more about concepts in tropical forest ecology and physiology.

When world leaders convened in New Delhi for the 2023 G20 Summit, they were handed policy briefs by Think 20 (T20) engagement group to inform their decisions, including one led by Associate Professor Rajat Panwar. As a lead author of one of the policy briefs produced by a T20 taskforce focused on accelerating sustainable development goals, Panwar worked in partnership with four other experts to produce the policy brief, “Aligning G20 Industrial Policies with Biodiversity Conservation.” Panwar is also lead author for the “Bioeconomy Assessment for Latin America and the Carribean” conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with Jazmin Tovar as co-author.

Associate Professor Ian Munanura collaborated with Pennsylvania State University, Shared Planet (a U.K. based NGO), Makerere University, and wildlife conservation institutions in Uganda to investigate research needs for managing human-wildlife conflicts. This collaborative effort culminated in the establishment of the Network for Human-Wildlife Conflict Research in Africa. The primary goal of this network is to establish an online platform dedicated to fostering collaborative research on wildlife conflict and shared knowledge creation to bridge the gap between research and practice in addressing human-wildlife conflict issues.

The College of Forestry International Programs Office recently hosted delegates from Ethiopian Forestry Development, Amhara Forest Enterprise, Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise, and CIFORICRAF, for a nine-day tour of Oregon. They explored forest and fire ecology, tree seed improvement and genetic conservation, timber industry operations and other critical topics. This visit was to support World Agroforestry (ICRAF) in their responsibility for implementing the Provision of Adequate Tree Seed Portfolios in Ethiopia, in coordination with the EFD, the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia.

Special thanks: OSU Extension, U.S. Forest Service, Starker Forests, Sierra Pacific Industries and the Corvallis Sister City Association.

Katy Kavanaugh
Woodam Chung

At the request of the Korea National Institute of Forest Science (NIFoS) — which is establishing landscape level forest management experiments in South Korea in collaboration with the College of Forestry — Associate Dean for Research Katy Kavanaugh and Eric Thompson, CEO of Thompson Timber, traveled to South Korea to give a talk on public and private land management in Oregon. Professor Woodam Chung and Matt Mattioda with Miller Timber Services were also invited to speak at the International Symposium on Forest Engineering Technology for the Establishment of Future Forest Management. The events, held back-to-back in South Korea, included panel discussions as well as visits to timber harvesting and road construction sites in Kangwon Province, providing a detailed look at forest management activities in South Korea.

David Hamilton, a forest engineering Ph.D. student from Vancouver, Canada, is collaborating with Edison Motors of Merrit, Canada, the inventors of the first electric log truck (ELT), to map ELT range. Hamilton has invented multiple tools for mapping ELT range across a forest landscape to help alleviate range anxiety amongst policy makers, truck manufacturers and buyers. Last summer, he collaborated with OSU’s innovation team to develop a patent based on his research. In Fall of 2023, Hamilton and Professor John Sessions were awarded a $15,000 Accelerator Innovation and Development grant from OSU to improve and implement his tool, in collaboration with Edison.

When world leaders convened in New Delhi for the 2023 G20 Summit, they were handed policy briefs by Think 20 (T20) engagement group to inform their decisions, including one led by Associate Professor Rajat Panwar. As a lead author of one of the policy briefs produced by a T20 taskforce focused on accelerating sustainable development goals, Panwar worked in partnership with four other experts to produce the policy brief, “Aligning G20 Industrial Policies with Biodiversity Conservation.” Panwar is also lead author for the “Bioeconomy Assessment for Latin America and the Carribean” conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with Jazmin Tovar as co-author.

Can you tell me a little bit about your research and why you find it so compelling?
My research focuses on sustainable business practices. Current projects explore two key areas: (i) how business practices impact biodiversity loss and deforestation, and potential solutions, and (ii) building a sustainable bioeconomy.

Growing up in India during a period of rapid economic expansion, I witnessed the development-conservation debate come alive. Within a decade, the natural landscape surrounding my village transformed into monoculture plantations feeding newly built paper mills and plywood factories. The region was subsequently designated a “dark zone” due to critically low water levels. Disappointingly, most villagers seemed content. The belief that environmental loss was an inevitable price for escaping poverty, increasing income, and generating local jobs ran just too deep. I recall an elder in the village saying, with a sentiment I now challenge, “Sustainability comes after breakfast.”

These experiences profoundly impacted me. My academic work is dedicated to finding ways for both sustainability and breakfast to be on the table, ensuring a future where meeting human needs does not come at the cost of the environment. It is both daunting and fascinating.

Did you begin your career studying deforestation or did you pivot from something else?
I did not. Actually, my initial post-MBA job was at Coca-Cola. However, only six months into it, I sensed the need for self-reflection. I went on a brief retreat to a quaint Himalayan town, where I resided in a Buddhist monastery. Although my intention was a week-long stay, I ended up remaining for nine months! Within the first week, I decided to not return to my corporate job.

It was during this period that I became engaged with local community members reliant on locally sourced non-wood forest products (NWFPs). We explored various cooperative models for marketing these products, none of which worked. Later, I transitioned to the Forest Research Institute of India, studying community-based forest management in the northwest Himalayas (across India and Nepal). I also contributed to research on ecotourism social enterprises in Asia and Africa.

And then, as any discerning individual would do, I came to OSU College of Forestry to pursue doctoral studies !! Thus, my entry into the world of forests was both fortuitous and meandering. I consider myself fortunate for the journey though.

You have had many accomplishments in your career, including working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, being a Senior Fellow, Sustainable palm oil initiative, at the Center for Responsible Business in New Delhi, India, consulting for the G20 as a member of T20 (Think 20), acting as the lead author for the business and biodiversity assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and recently being selected as a lead author for the National Nature Assessment being conducted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Which accomplishment or experience was most meaningful for you and why?
Not any of those. The most significant work I have engaged in has taken place within classrooms. I have had the privilege to teach in several countries, spanning various levels and settings — business schools, forestry schools, and liberal arts institutions. Much of what I know stems from the insightful questions posed by students, many of which have evolved into my research endeavors. Moreover, my transdisciplinary research is a direct result of my teaching across diverse disciplines to both traditional students and participants in executive education programs.

Your earned your graduate degree from OSU in 2008 and returned in 2021 as an associate professor of responsible and sustainable business. Can you tell me a bit about what the College of Forestry means to you?
This is home. I felt a sense of belonging when I first arrived here in 2004, and it felt like leaving home when I departed in 2008. Despite Thomas Wolfe’s famous assertion, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” returning in 2021 truly felt like a homecoming. Some things have changed, such as this new building, but the essence of the culture—marked by kindness, compassion, and honesty—has remained steadfast and will continue to endure. Being a member of the College is integral to my identity. That is what the College of Forestry means to me.

Who or what has influenced you the most, either during your career or regarding your research?
My professional journey has been profoundly shaped by a cohort of exceptional mentors. Eric Hansen, in particular, has fostered the development of critical thinking skills within me, encouraging a balanced and objective approach to analysis, despite our spirited disagreements on most things. Alix Gitelman’s guidance instilled the importance of intellectual humility and a commitment to rigorous inquiry. Kathleen Dean Moore’s influence cultivated in me a deep sense of empathy. Rob Kozak honed my pedagogical skills, and Michael Barnett helped enhance my writing abilities. Padam Bhjovaid’s mentorship ignited my creative spark, and Jeffrey Sachs’s passionate advocacy has inspired my commitment to social justice.

However, my most profound and personal growth occurred during my time in the monastery and within the surrounding communities. Reflecting on that period holds a special significance— how many of us have spent their formative period in a monastery!

What’s next for you and your research?
My research is moving towards conservation finance, though the specific research streams are still crystallizing for me. The upcoming two years are packed with commitments to IPBES and National Nature Assessment. It has been several years since I have done a book project, so that avenue might also be on the horizon.

Loren Albert is an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, who along with her research group is tackling two international projects. The first, funded by NSF, focuses on the ecohydrology of Amazon forests. The other, funded by NASA, aims to advance scientists’ ability to estimate flows of carbon between forests and the atmosphere from space with remote sensing, and includes a partnership with Brazilian faculty to lead a field course for Brazilian graduate students to learn more about concepts in tropical forest ecology and physiology.

In as simple of terms as possible, can you please tell us more about your research?
I study how forest photosynthesis responds to climate change, and I scale up from trees to ecosystems and landscapes to consider how forests can impact climate as well. I study tropical forests since they contain and photosynthesize a vast amount of carbon, as well as forests here at home in the Pacific Northwest.

What question or challenge were you setting out to address when you started this work?
Can we estimate photosynthesis from space? We’re entering a new era of remote sensing with new technology from NASA and private companies that collects massive amounts of data on forest structure and function. Some of these remote sensing signals are linked to photosynthesis, but it remains challenging to estimate photosynthesis from these signals. We set out to integrate remote sensing with models, and measurements of tree anatomy and physiology, to clarify how remote sensing signals are linked to photosynthesis.

Who else is involved in this research?
Our team consists of scientists from Central America, Brazil, Netherlands and Asia, as well as the United States. We’re interdisciplinary as well. We’re integrating plant physiology with ecology and remote sensing, and I’m excited about how we’re building bridges between these fields.

Why does this work matter?
Each year, humans are emitting more than 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants on the land are taking up somewhere around a third of that CO2, and whatever CO2 is not taken up by plants and the ocean stays in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. While the causes of climate change are well understood, we need to know more about how much CO2 plants will continue taking up so that we can predict the trajectory of climate change. Of course, forests are key among land plants because they store and take up so much carbon. In other words, how much will plants, especially forests, help us mitigate climate change? This is a big picture question that many scientists are working on. The contribution of my group right now focuses on understanding more about the drivers of photosynthetic carbon uptake in forests across space and through time.

What do you hope the impact will be?
I hope that we can gain a better understanding of the role of forests in Earth’s carbon budget, improve the models that predict future climate (through development of forest physiology in those models), and generally understand more about the flows of carbon, water, and energy between forests and the atmosphere. On the human side, I hope that we can build long-lasting collaborations and friendships with scientists working in the Amazon, train students, and launch careers of the next generation of scientists.

What has surprised you about this research?
We’re learning that individual tree species in the tropics greatly impact the rate and seasonality of photosynthetic carbon uptake. On the one hand, all trees photosynthesize, but on the other hand, the differences in leaf shape, size, canopy architecture, and many other features greatly affect photosynthesis. The tropics are so diverse. There are thousands of tree species in places like the Amazon, and their differences really impact the carbon cycle.

How does this work differ from other work in the field?
We are melding ‘ground data’ (the measurements we make on plants when we do fieldwork) with models to simulate what we expect to see from space. In model parameterization, it is still common to rely on plant physiology data from crops. It is rare to find research that spans scales from individual leaf measurements, to trees, to landscapes, where the research team is making all those measurements across those spatial scales at the same site.

What’s next for this research?
My group is planning a field campaign in the Brazilian Amazon this summer, where we will fly drones, collect leaves to measure leaf traits and physiology, and exchange knowledge with our Brazilian collaborators. We sleep in hammocks in a field station at the edge of the forest, listening to the forest night sounds. We’re looking forward to it.

And finally, is there anything you wish I would’ve asked you about this research that you’d like to share?
I want to emphasize how none of this research would be possible without the welcome and efforts of our international collaborators. We all share an atmosphere on this Earth, and productive forests, whether in the tropics or the Pacific Northwest, are helping shape the future for all of us. The role of these forests in the carbon cycle is a question we all have a stake in.

Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) Extension fosters stewardship of Oregon’s forests

Get Outdoors Day returns
Sponsored by the OSU Research Forests, FNR Extension, the Benton County Health Department and Linn and Benton counties, Get Outdoors Day returned to the Peavy Arboretum for the first time since 2019. The theme was “Returning to the Forest,” and the day featured bilingual activities, self-guided tours, fishing and more. More than 20 organizations from the Willamette Valley worked together to host the event, dedicated to encouraging healthy, inclusive outdoor recreational opportunities.

Teaching youth to value forests
Associate Professor Alicia Christiansen, the FNR Extension agent for Douglas County, hosted the 60th annual Douglas County School Forestry Tour at the Glide Educational Forest in April. Students learned about topics such as wildlife, forest products, forest management, fire management, fisheries and hydrology, tree identification and archeology. They were also able to participate in activities like choker races and using crosscut saws. FNR Extension foresters like Christiansen are in the community teaching the public, including young people, about the value of Oregon forests.

Fire program expands outreach
The FNR Extension Fire program has a mission to teach all Oregonians how to be prepared for wildfires. The program developed and translated informational cards in Spanish about basic wildfire preparedness for the home, simple actions to reduce wildfire impact before it strikes, how to be smoke ready and tools to support mental health before, during and after a wildfire. The program also offers online resources for those who can’t attend in-person events, such as a recent webinar on preparing for wildfire season in Benton County.

Research shows Klamath Mountain Douglas-firs in ‘decline spiral’
A study by FNR Extension found there are multiple factors in the decline of Douglas-fir trees in the Klamath Mountains of southern Oregon. Douglas-fir growing on hot, dry sites are further stressed by drought and then left susceptible to flathead fir borers. The researchers, including Extension agent and Associate Professor Max Bennett and Professor and Forest Health Specialist David Shaw, developed a measuring tool that landowners and managers can use to predict a stand’s chance of infestation by borers, other insects and fungi to understand mortality risks.

Tree School returns in Oregon
Tree Schools, which are mini-colleges for people who love forests, were held this spring in Clackamas and the Oregon coast, and in early summer in Eastern Oregon. Participants include family forestland owners, foresters, loggers, arborists, teachers and the public. Classes are taught by FNR Extension foresters, natural resource professionals and experienced local landowners. Each year, regional Tree Schools are hosted in various counties around the state of Oregon.

Helping Oregon’s woodland owners manage their land
The Master Woodland Manager training is offered by FNR Extension as a high level course for private landowners who are interested in intensive forest management training and sharing the knowledge gained through this training with people in their local communities. The program addresses technical forestry topics such as forest planning and management, reforestation, wildfire, fire, timber harvesting and more. More than 600 landowners have been trained through the program, and in 2022, participants reported 3,400 hours of volunteer public education in their communities.

A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Forest birds with short, round wings more sensitive to habitat fragmentation
Tropical forest birds tend to have wings that are short and round relative to their body length and shape. Professor Matt Betts, the Ruth H. Spaniol chair of renewable resources, and Christopher Wolf, a postdoctoral scholar, found these birds are more sensitive to habitat fragmentation than species common in temperate forests. This study, published in “Nature Ecology and Evolution,” provides solid evidence for the idea that forest birds in the lower latitudes struggle to relocate when their habitat breaks up because they weren’t required to evolve in ways that promote movement to new areas. Birds from temperate forests, like jays, robins and migrant warblers tend to be better movers as they have long, narrow wings that are better suited to long-distance flight.

Bees flock to clearcut areas but decline as forest canopy regrows
Doctoral Student Rachel Zitomer and Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology Jim Rivers studied 60 intensively managed Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) stands of multiple ages, including within the OSU Research Forests. They found that bee abundance and species richness declined rapidly with stand
age, decreasing by 61% and 48%, respectively, for every five years since timber harvest. This research is one of the first attempts to study how native bee communities change over time in the Oregon Coast Range. Management activities that keep the forest canopy open for a longer period during the initial stage of stand regeneration may enhance bee diversity in landscapes dominated by intensively managed conifer forests.

Temperature, more than drought, caused heat dome tree damage.
In June 2021, the Pacific Northwest had multiple days of record setting, triple-digit temperatures resulting in widespread tree scorch. A team led by Professor Christopher Still attributes the damage more to the temperature than to drought conditions, citing evidence that leaf discoloration and damage are consistent with direct exposure to solar radiation in combination with extreme air temperatures. A previous article had concluded that the trees’ problems were the result of drought and a failure in the trees’ hydraulic system. The coastal Douglas-fir and western hemlock plantation forests saw the most extensive impacts from the heat dome, and they experienced low levels of drought compared to the Willamette Valley and the western slopes of the Cascade Range, which experienced less foliar damage.

Woodpecker adapts to both burned and unburned forests
Research led by Doctoral Student Mark Kerstens and Associate Professor Jim Rivers sheds new light on the Black-backed Woodpecker. This species is known for its strong association with recently burned forests. It is also a species of conservation concern due to habitat loss stemming from post-fire management practices in those same forests. Kerstens and Rivers studied breeding Black-backed Woodpeckers in southern Oregon to evaluate whether nest survival and post-fledging survival differed between green and burned forests. The woodpeckers in green forests were equally successful at breeding as those in recently burned forest, although densities of nesting pairs in green forest were lower than those in burned forest. Certain types of green forest, particularly mature lodgepole pine, and practices that promote pyrodiversity—landscape-level spatial and temporal variability in fire effects—as well as connectivity between green and burned forest within fire-prone landscapes are likely to provide the greatest conservation benefit for this species.

Research explores how wildfire can help restore forests
Graduate Research Fellow Skye Greenler and Assistant Professor Chris Dunn studied the dry forests of Eastern Oregon, which evolved amid frequent, low-severity fires. To explore the potential for fire alone to restore these dry forests, they developed a novel method to predict the range of fire severities most likely to restore historical conditions. They found moderate severity fires can help restore resilient forest conditions, but multiple burns or treatments are required to fully restore historical conditions.

TDI continues to advance mass timber technologies
TallWood Design Institute (TDI) has received a $1 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to research innovations in mass timber architecture, engineering and construction in the region. The National Science Foundation awarded the grant as part of its “Regional Innovation Engines” program. Advancing Mass Timber technology promotes environmental resilience and U.S. global competitiveness through the increased use of sustainable mass timber products and their applications in
buildings, including affordable housing.

Moisture is key to soils’ ability to sequester carbon
Soil is the Earth’s second biggest carbon storage locker after the ocean, and a research collaboration has shown that moisture levels are key to locking in carbon. Previously it was thought that temperature and the mineral content of the soil would have a larger effect on how long carbon stayed in the soil. The findings are important for understanding how the global carbon cycle might change as the climate grows warmer and drier. Professor Jeff Hatten was a co-author of the study, and Doctoral Student Adrian Gallo analyzed many of the 400 soil core samples from 34 sites.

A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

At Oregon State University College of Forestry, students, faculty and staff work collaboratively with alumni, donors and partners toward a shared desire to improve life for all. Whether it’s developing innovative approaches to forest management, creating new wood products, preserving the health and vitality of ecosystems or expanding and supporting local economies, the college is strengthened by this collective approach.

At this year’s Dean’s Dinner on May 24, the college community honored current students and alumni who are making a difference in our changing world. This year’s outstanding alumni are leading the charge to ensure healthy forests, gender equality, and robust and resilient economies. Learn more about their legacies and join the college in celebrating their accomplishments:

Jessica Leahy, Ph.D.
‘99, B.S. Forest Recreation Resources
‘01, M.S. Forest Resources

An advocate for women in forestry, Leahy was the second woman tenured in the University of Maine School of Forest Resources and first to achieve the rank of full professor. She was a founding member of SWIFT, a UMaine group supporting women and gender minorities in forestry programs, and was an advisory council member for the inaugural 2022 Women’s Forest Congress. She recently served as the associate dean for the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture and associate director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station at UMaine.



Camille Chow-Moyers
‘14, B.S. Renewable Materials and
Interior Design

After graduation, Chow-Moyers went on to work for Roseburg Forest Products in quality assurance and sales, before a 6-year stint working as a program manager of international compliance and auditing for Benchmark International (Eugene, OR and Shanghai, China). Today, she is co-owner of MCM Global, LLC (Portland, OR and Yorkshire, England), a consulting and auditing firm that specializes in international forestry compliance and quality management systems.




Suzanne Simard, Ph.D.
‘89, M.S. Forest Science
‘95, Ph.D.

Simard is a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia and the author of the book, “Finding the Mother Tree.” She is known for her work on how trees interact and communicate using below-ground fungal networks. Her work has influenced filmmakers and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, presented at conferences around the world and in 2023 she received the Kew International Medal.




During the dinner at CH2M Hill Alumni Center, the College of Forestry graduate scholarship committee recognized our top incoming and returning graduate students with College of Forestry fellowships. The committee selected 28 students, both Master- and Ph.D.-level, to receive college fellowships totaling just over $150,000 for the 2023-2024 academic year. Scholarships range in value from $3,000 to $8,000.

Pictured L to R: Victoria Diedrichs, M.S. Wood Science & Engineering; Katie Wampler, Ph.D. Water Resources Science, Forest Engineering, Resources and Management; Mark Kerstens, Ph.D. Forest Engineering, Resources and Management; Kira Minehart, Ph.D. Recreation Ecology, Forest Ecosystems and Society; Dean Tom DeLuca; Jacob Atkins, M.S. Wood Science & Engineering; David Hamilton, Ph.D. Forest Engineering, Resources and Management.

A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Alumni come home to help the Forestry Club host and win the 83rd AWFC Conclave logging sports event

Conclave 2023 participants test their skills and endurance in the choker race

Over the span of three days, from April 13-15, student forestry teams from across the American West gathered at Peavy Arboretum for the annual Association of Western Forestry Club’s Conclave logging sports event. Each day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., more than 150 students competed in events like axe throwing, caber toss, birling and log chopping. The Oregon State University Forestry Club team proudly claimed the No. 1 ranking, with many of the team’s competitors also earning first place in their individual events.

Last hosted by Oregon State University in 2012, the success of the 2023 Conclave was due in large part to the support of dedicated alumni, including former logging sports team members, who secured sponsorships, spent hours in the research forest fixing up the arenas and volunteering at the event. This year, to celebrate that spirit of giving back, the chopping arena was dedicated to Patrick “Hoss” Fitzmorris who graduated from OSU in 2013. Patrick, along with his fellow logging sports team members from the classes of 2010-2015, worked tirelessly to build the George W. Brown Sports Arena and the chopping arena to host the 83rd Annual AWFC Conclave in 2012. Patrick passed away in December 2022.

The College of Forestry would like to thank all the community volunteers and the generous sponsors who helped make the 83rd AWFC Conclave such a success.

Oregon State Forestry Club Conclave 2023 Awards

  • Winning Team: Oregon State University, 1st place
  • Bull of the Woods: Eli Gold, 1st place; Zeke Bluhm, 2nd place; Angus Nicholson, 3rd place

View the photo album and see the full results on the Conclave website.

A version of this story appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.