Back in late April, OSU Research Forests had the exciting opportunity to plant native pacific aspens along the 600 road in the Oak Creek area of the McDonald Forest, as well as at the Marchel Tract near the Willamette River. Several were also planted near the new Peavy building on campus at OSU. College of Forestry Professor Steve Strauss and others used DNA sequencing to show that the aspens in the Willamette Valley, and nearby Washington and British Columbia, belong to a distinctive variety that grows in wet areas in the lowland Pacific. These types of areas were likely to be more abundant prior to the draining and leveling of the Willamette Valley for agriculture.

The DNA studies showed that these trees are clearly distinct from aspen in the Cascades, the Rocky Mountains, and the eastern USA and Canada. Strauss and others published these findings last year in the journal Ecology and Evolution. The authors inferred that the likely origin of this aspen was in an ice-free Pacific refugium during the last ice age.

Through a collaboration with the wholesale tree nursery, J Frank Schmidt & Son, the Strauss team’s aspen collections are currently being tested for release as a native variety. The trees planted on campus and on the Research Forests were mostly the result of samples taken by CoF staff member Anna Magnuson (supported by grant funds from Schmidt). The plantings include native trees from as close by as Peoria and the Calapooia River near Corvallis, Killen Marsh near Banks, and the Nature Conservancy’s Camassia Natural Area close to East Linn. Several other Willamette Valley origins are also represented in the plantings.

These aspens will be studied as they grow to see if they are better adapted to local conditions than the mountain aspens that are now commonly planted. J Frank Schmidt & Son plans to have them ready for distribution in a few years. Hopefully this beautiful looking, beautiful sounding, and formerly common tree in the Valley becomes more widely enjoyed by everyone. Educational materials will be installed near some of the trees once they become established.

The OSU College of Forestry’s Research Forests include network of ten forest tracts spread throughout Oregon, totaling 15,000 acres. Subscribe to their newsletter to receive monthly newsletters as well as trail updates.

Skye Greenler, a PhD candidate and Provost Fellow in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, is one of 100 doctoral students in the U.S. and Canada selected to receive a $20,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood.  She was sponsored by Chapter A of Portland, Oregon.

Skye, originally from Stoughton, Wisconsin, is a fire ecologist whose work focuses on collaborative science that bridges fire management and ecology to develop ways to better live with and manage wildfire into the future. She received an MS from the Forestry and Natural Resources Department at Purdue University (2018) and BA from Colorado College (2014). 

Greenler is at the forefront of a more holistic perspective in scientific inquiry, working to understand ways that systemic entrenched bureaucracy, patriarchal perspectives of command and control, and injustices to underrepresented communities inhibits adaptation to our current fire challenge.  Her dissertation focuses on identifying when wildfires can help restore historical and healthy forest conditions in eastern Oregon and working to develop landscape-scale fire models for northern California that incorporate Indigenous fire management practices into cutting-edge fire modeling and management tools.

Her dissertation is linking new concepts in planning, large-scale quantitative modeling, and the voices of Indigenous Peoples to inform new policy and management directions that embody the best hope for a more resilient future. 

Greenler has served as the President of the Student Association for Fire Ecology at OSU, and helped found the Traditional Ecological Knowledge club which supports Tribal rights and inclusion in natural resource stewardship, including hosting a recurring conference on Traditional Ecological Knowledge in ecosystem sustainability.

The P.E.O. Scholar Awards were established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. Scholar Awards recipients are a select group of women chosen for their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society.

The P.E.O. Sisterhood, founded January 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women.  There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly a quarter of a million active members.

Landslides are a global hazard that take the lives of over ten thousand people a year and dramatically reshape our landscapes.

“The loss of lives is the most tragic consequence,” says Ben Leshchinsky, Richardson Chair in Forestry and associate professor of geotechnical engineering. “More often, however, the impact of landslides is economic and related to the costs of repairs or mitigation or moving people as well as impacts to emergency access.”

Leshchinsky studies various topics relating to geotechnical engineering, with a primary emphasis on landslides, slope stability, reinforced soil, and applying remote sensing techniques to assess geohazards.

Leshchinsky does some of his work in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“They have lots of concerns about accessibility and emergency response, particularly following a big earthquake, rainstorm or change in climate,” Leshchinsky says.

When most people think of a landslide, they think of a sudden, abrupt failure and slope or hillside collapse. While those types of landslides exist, some landslides move more like a glacier than an avalanche.

“We do quite a bit of work monitoring slow-moving failures,” Leshchinsky says. “Understanding if there’s a pattern to their movement, like when they will move, how they will move, and how it might impact infrastructure. We also work to understand the risk or likelihood of an event.”

Determining the risk is key to planning and protecting communities and infrastructure. To support that effort, Leshchinsky and colleagues developed an approach to take landslide inventories, analyze their failure mechanism, understand their mechanical properties and use this data for regional-scale landslide hazard, susceptibility and risk assessment. These tools advance how we can use landslide databases to predict landslide hazards, which is essential to planners, engineers and scientists.

“The problem we were seeing before creating our tools is that people develop these databases that were missing key pieces of information,” Leshchinsky says. “I could, for example, see trends and other data in the database, but was missing information like how to mitigate landslide impacts, or how to evaluate how likely it is that a slope will fail.”

Leshchinsky is working with PhD student Nick Mathews to generate different potential landslide scenarios, like earthquakes or significant storm events, in the Oregon Coast Range to evaluate the susceptibility and vulnerability of infrastructure to damage or closures from landslides.

“One of the things I do is take inventories of landslides and back out information like shape, volume and strength to determine how slopes might fail,” Mathews says. “I also ask questions like does this location have ‘weak’ geology or ‘strong’ geology? I use those numbers to evaluate, in terms of forecast and predictive measures, to help determine what will fail next.”

“Documenting past slope failures gives us an idea of what will happen in the future,” Leshchinsky says.

Leshchinsky says we often associate landslides with human activities. While those can speed up or accelerate landslide activity, the fact is wherever there is a slope, there has likely been a landslide at some point in the past.

“These are natural processes connected to the environment, and they are the reasons our mountains, valleys and sea cliffs are the shape they are,” Leshchinsky says. “Landslides are the source of sediment and gravel that fish love to spawn in. They are one of the disturbances that work to produce a classic old-growth forest with a patchwork of vegetation and different types of trees.”

Landslides serve a role in our environment that’s not fully understood or appreciated. Leshchinsky says that while we know the basics of what drives landslides, there is incredible uncertainty in trying to predict where and when they will occur in the future.

“I tell my students that people say space is the final frontier. I don’t see it this way,” Leshchinsky says. “Down beneath our feet is the final frontier, and geological conditions we don’t know or can’t see often drive these landslides. Being able to take data from the surface and convert it to something meaningful from a perspective of understanding how things work is valuable worldwide.”

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

More than a billion people, many of them the world’s poorest, rely on forests and trees for their livelihoods. About a third of the world’s remaining intact forest landscapes are on Indigenous lands.

Assistant professor Reem Hajjar’s research examines how to support and create resilient, equitable forest-dependent communities and sustainable ecosystems.

“Particularly on Indigenous lands and lands that have been managed by local communities for generations, figuring out how we can best devise policies, practices, and interventions that respect local rights and values is crucial. Our goal should be to provide opportunities that support and empower local visions of development while also sustainably managing forests and conserving forest ecosystems that provide us all with critical services,” Hajjar says.

Hajjar’s research is at the nexus of conservation and development.

“I ask questions like, which mechanisms are best suited to ensure that we can use forests as sustainable pathways out of poverty and towards broader prosperity and a more resilient future? What are the livelihood and landscape impacts of various environmental policies, and how might that change related to who manages the forest? How do power dynamics affect governance mechanisms and equity in outcomes?”

Her research primarily focuses on low- and middle-income countries, but she’s starting to apply some of these questions in the western United States.

In 2020, Hajjar was a contributing member of the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Poverty, organized by the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO). The panel synthesized existing knowledge related to forests, trees and eradicating poverty, producing the Forests and Poverty Global Assessment.

“The assessment comprehensively pulls together research on forest-poverty dynamics and the contextual factors that shape them, the tools we have for alleviating poverty, and how we see these dynamics being affected by global forces of change,” Hajjar says.

Hajjar served as coordinating lead author for a chapter within the assessment that identified all the forest-related “levers,” like policies, programs and interventions, that could conceivably alleviate poverty. She led a team of authors that then evaluated the available evidence for the effect that each lever has on reducing poverty.

“Essentially, this chapter asks, what has worked to alleviate poverty in forests and tree-based systems? How strong is the evidence for that?” Hajjar explains.

Hajjar says the potential impact of the assessment is substantial. It synthesizes the current understanding of how forests and tree-based systems can contribute to poverty eradication – the first of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDG1). The work also uncovers knowledge gaps where more research is needed and includes several policy recommendations to help inform decision-makers as they navigate potential synergies and trade-offs concerning forests and poverty alleviation.

“IUFRO uses these kinds of reports to get information to policy-makers,” Hajjar says. “Before COVID-19, this report was supposed to be presented at the 2020 UN General Assembly. That didn’t happen, but IUFRO has set up several webinars and created shorter ‘implications for policy-makers’ documents to ensure that the information gets into the right hands.”

Hajjar says it’s necessary to figure out what just governance of natural resources looks like so that forests can help to alleviate poverty in an equitable way and support community resilience. “Moving forward, just outcomes need to be a part of how we define sustainability in social-ecological systems.” 

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

When the Oregon State University (OSU) College of Forestry had to fill the knowledge gap created by the departure of emeritus professor Jeff Morrell, it turned to Gerald Presley, who joined the college in 2019 after earning his PhD at the University of Minnesota and completing postdoctoral research at Oak Ridge Laboratory.

“The opportunity at Oak Ridge gave me a chance to work in a new field, bacterial genetics, where I worked on a project aimed at making value-added chemicals from biomass. At Minnesota, my work focused on the biology of wood decay,” says Presley, assistant professor of forest-based bioproducts. “OSU has been a leader in wood durability research for years and I plan to continue that program now that I am in a position here.”

Since joining the college, Presley finds himself performing a wide variety of research, the bulk of which is related to his role as leader of the Utility Pole Research Cooperative and the Environmental Performance of Treated Wood Research Cooperative.

“The Utility Pole Research Cooperative focuses on research to improve the durability of utility poles,” Presley says. “Many of the studies we perform are designed to compare different treatments that can be done to utility poles to extend their service life and improve their resilience.

This research, Presley says, can benefit the treated wood industry and utilities by improving the durability of commodities produced and used by these industries. It helps make wood products more competitive with carbon-intensive alternatives such as steel, which is important in the overall effort to reduce carbon emissions across all sectors.

The Environmental Performance of Treated Wood Cooperative studies how preservative chemicals leach out of treated wood. The cooperative also looks at ways to prevent leaching into the environment and provides outreach to the broader public. Data collected from this research is used to model the impacts of treated wood on the environment which helps builders determine whether treated wood structures are appropriate for a specific environment.

“The cooperative has performed extensive validation efforts for treated wood best management practices, which are voluntary procedures for manufacturers that can reduce leaching from treated wood products,” Presley says. “We also are embarking on a significant research effort to measure the impact of treated wood used in agriculture and are developing an accelerated leaching and migration test to look at preservative movement from different types of treated wood with different types of water exposure.”

The research the cooperative pursues improves our understanding of these wood products’ environmental dynamics. The work provides insight into the pathways treated wood interacts with in the environment. The efforts can inform mitigation efforts that will improve products and reduce impacts to the environment.

The Creosote Council and several wood-preserving industry partners gave OSU a gift to study the environmental pathways of creosote-treated wood in recognition of Presley’s research capabilities and publication efforts.

The widely used wood preservative is used to preserve critical wood infrastructures such as utility poles, railroad ties, and marine pilings. It has a long history of practical use and is the oldest wood preservative originating from the industrial age.

This gift will fund a master’s student, Skyler Foster, for two years and support a mixture of lab-based and field research studying the migration of polyaromatic hydrocarbons from creosote-treated wood with an intent to quantify the environmental impacts.

“This generous gift will allow us to perform research that will improve our understanding of how creosote treated wood impacts the environment,” Presley says. “We all rely on creosote-treated wood in some capacity, whether it be for the delivery of goods by rail or pilings that support a pier. Knowing the impacts of these commodities on the environment is essential for ensuring their continued use.”

Moving forward, there are many questions on the horizon the research cooperative will address.

“Opportunities will develop in the utility pole market due to the looming loss of pentachlorophenol (penta) as a utility pole treatment and our cooperatives will play an important role in assessing the viability of alternatives for western utilities,” Presley says. “These changes will come with questions about the environmental impacts of penta substitution, something we will continue to investigate as these changes unfold.”

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

Researchers study community resilience to improve understanding and prediction, as well as to enhance resilience in communities facing natural hazards, economic disruption and other challenges.

However, says Kreg Lindberg, associate professor of tourism, recreation and adventure leadership at OSU Cascades, much of the research literature covering resilience remains conceptual and difficult for communities to use. Lindberg’s goal is to change that. He wants to empirically evaluate resilience and the factors that contribute to it.

“There are significant challenges in doing so, and one often relies on subjective or indirect measures,” Lindberg says. “But improved empirical evaluation is fundamental to understanding issues such as how to enhance resilience and the degree of resilience generalizability. For example, if a community is resilient concerning natural hazard X, is it also likely to be resilient for natural hazard Y or economic challenge Z?”

Lindberg has recently completed two research projects involving community resilience.

On the Oregon coast, Lindberg and his team implemented a general population survey to assess community resilience perceptions across types of challenges, like natural disasters and economic disruption.

In the process of identifying a scale to assess perceived resilience, Lindberg noticed that the scales used in previous studies mixed indicators of resilience with the factors that might affect resilience. For example, a scale might include level of agreement with the statement “the residents of my town will continue to receive municipal services during an emergency situation” and with the statement: “my community has effective leaders.”

The first statement is a good indicator of a community’s resilience – how it will thrive in the face of challenges, such as natural hazards. The second statement reflects a factor that might enhance resilience, rather than reflecting resilience itself. To statistically evaluate how effective leadership contributes to resilience, leadership-oriented statements should be excluded from the resilience scale. By doing so, research will better inform “real world” priorities and decisions, such as whether to invest in leadership effectiveness as a means to enhance resilience.

Lindberg also conducted community resilience research in Norway. Lindberg and his Norwegian colleagues surveyed nature-based tourism firms and conducted in-depth interviews to evaluate the potential for nature-based tourism to contribute to the resilience of destination communities. They identified mechanisms for ecological, economic and social contributions and worked to understand the firms’ involvement. For example, they recorded the level of employment these firms provided and associated contribution to local economic diversification. They also asked about each firm’s business networks and broader social networks in destination communities.

Assessment of community resilience is complicated, especially when the focus is the contribution of a specific sector, such as nature-based tourism. Tourism is not a “silver bullet” for community resilience, but the analysis highlighted how nature-based tourism potentially contributes to communities beyond a traditional focus on employment generation. It was also a first step in collecting empirical evidence.

“Some aspects of resilience are technical and infrastructural in nature, such as the ability to restore utility services after a natural disaster,” Lindberg says. “My interest is in the broader aspects of communities thriving in the face of change. My research focuses on a better understanding of what contributes to that success.”

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

Mass Timber Buildings Can Withstand Earthquakes

As the mass timber industry grows, a new generation of buildings has arrived. These multi-story buildings made of mass timber panels such as mass plywood panels (MPP) and cross-laminated timber (CLT) are designed to be resilient, withstand earthquakes, and offer a sustainable alternative to materials typically used for the construction of buildings in seismic zones.

But how do engineers know that massive timber structures can withstand an earthquake?

A multi-disciplinary research team, led by College of Forestry associate professor of renewable materials Arijit Sinha and associate professor Andre Barbosa and assistant professor Barbara Simpson of the College of Engineering are working together to answer that question. They are testing next-generation seismic force-resisting systems, otherwise known as innovative lateral systems, in multi-story mass timber buildings. These systems improve a building’s performance, safety and resilience during an earthquake and minimize the time buildings are out of service after large earthquakes.

“As structural engineers, we’ve traditionally designed buildings to save lives and prevent collapse,” Simpson says. “But that doesn’t mean your building is not going to be damaged.”

Imagine, says Simpson, if you are Facebook or Google and housing all your servers in your building.

“The first thing you want after a disaster is for that building to have immediate occupancy,” Simpson says.

When buildings can withstand seismic events and minimize damage, a company can immediately restart work, reducing direct and indirect economic loss, downtime and repair costs. If society applies these kinds of seismic systems on an urban scale, entire cities can experience the same benefits.

To test the innovative mass timber lateral systems, the research team, including Sinha, Barbosa, Simpson, post-doctoral student Tu Ho and two graduate students, Fernando Orozco and Gustavo Araujo, are building a near full-scale, three-story, 4,800-square foot building made of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and mass plywood panels (MPP) at the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory.

The systems, says Barbosa, are composed of a vertical gravity force-resisting system that directly supports floor loads and a lateral force-resisting system that resists horizontal loads, like seismic events and winds. The vertical system is composed of mass timber floors, LVL beams and LVL columns. The lateral system is composed of MPP which acts as a structural elastic spine. When an earthquake strikes, the spine re-distributes the seismic forces across the building’s height. Additional components are also included to dissipate energy and enable the building to re-center itself.

During the tests, the structure will be rocked back and forth with varying displacement amplitude to mimic the building’s movement in an earthquake. Afterward, researchers will evaluate the structure for damage. The project is the first time a multi-story building entirely composed of veneer-based products, such as LVL and MPP, will be tested.

“Mass timber and hybrid systems that include components that dissipate energy are uniquely positioned to foster innovation. Not only do architects like working with wood because it is aesthetically pleasing and has great design flexibility, but wood construction is potentially more sustainable,” Simpson says.

Based on the test results, researchers will evaluate and characterize the performance of mass timber lateral systems and provide guidance on efficient design and analysis strategies for wood building construction. An important aspect will be to evaluate the use of veneer-based panel products as the spine material of choice. The research will also produce a better understanding of the LVL beam and column compatibility with mass timber lateral solutions and demonstrate the performance of veneer-based projects as a viable and preferred gravity framing and lateral system to the engineering, architecture, and manufacturing community.

This project results from a highly collaborative partnership between the OSU Department of Wood Science and Engineering, the College of Engineering, and industry partners. The research group is working with industry support to make sure the ideas proposed are feasible and will be done in practice. All wood material used in this project is manufactured in Oregon from Oregon fiber, predominantly Douglas-fir. The USDA Agricultural Research Service and TallWood Design Institute are sponsoring this project.

“Industrial support throughout key mass timber players in Oregon and neighboring states has been tremendous in terms of help with design and reviewing, material procurement, fastener and connections, and acting as a sounding board for the team,” Sinha says.

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

When the State of Oregon needed to increase revenue for outdoor recreation facilities and maintenance, they turned to Oregon State University for answers to their questions and scientific data to help inform their decisions.

A study completed by Randy Rosenberger, professor and College of Forestry associate dean for student success, connected outdoor activities on trails to health savings by utilizing and recalibrating a tool called the Outdoor Recreation Health Impacts Estimator. The tool was initially developed to focus on transportation decisions (walking, cycling or using public transportation instead of driving) to estimate changes in life expectancy and quality of life.

The tool converts positive health effects into a monetary unit and even includes the cost of treating certain diseases and the loss of productivity illnesses cause.

The study became part of the 2019-2023 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

“In my research, I quantify things that aren’t normally quantified,” Rosenberger says. “Things like recreation aren’t traded in markets with prices. They don’t have voices. This study gives them a voice and people are starting to realize that recreation is at the nexus of everything. It’s not just something we like to do if we have the time. It’s creating healthier communities and saving those same communities money on health services.”

Rosenberger replicated the study for the McDonald and Dunn Forests, two of the College Research Forests. The college owns more than 15,000 acres of working forests around the state utilized for research, outreach and education, with some open to the public for recreation. He found that recreation on the Research Forests saved $754,395 in cost of illness savings in 2017 alone. Private and public agencies can now use this data for planning, budgeting, assessment and grant applications.

The OSU Research Forests also serve as living laboratories and outdoor classrooms for OSU students, researchers, and generations of Oregonians, reimagining how people learn and relate to their natural resources and forest ecosystems. Over 145,000 annual visitors hike, bike, run and explore the trails of these working forests. All operations on the forests – including recreation and trails – are self-funded through timber harvests.

For OSU students, the Research Forests are an invaluable opportunity to experience hands-on education, where they can put the research and techniques they’re reading about in their textbooks into action. Whether it’s measuring precipitation, stream flow, or practicing timber harvesting skills, OSU students can learn the work by doing.

“I think this is the best time to be studying within the College because we are at such a turning point when it comes to how we are going to work with our forests,” says Allison Starkenburg, a recent graduate of the college’s natural resources program. “There’s an intersection between recreation and the constant new opportunities to learn and conduct research.”

OSU offers tours and demonstrations within the Research Forests and, in 2020, also launched the Forest Discovery Trail. This trail is dedicated to the memory of Dr. William Ferrell, the OSU College of Forestry’s first forest ecologist hired in 1955 who went on to study forest carbon capture and storage. His groundbreaking research paved the way for forest management as a climate change mitigation tool and continues to impact old-growth conservation. Dr. Ferrell’s family and friend made contributions to the Forest Discovery Program fund to support The Forest Discovery Trail and encourage students in grades K-5 to explore a wide range of forest concepts, including ecology, wildlife and the Indigenous history of the land.

The popular research forests had to temporarily close in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, staff quickly adapted and reopened in May 2020 with precautions and guidelines in place.

Though Rosenberger was able to quantify the monetary value of outdoor recreation’s impact on health savings, the impact of having these forests accessible to local communities in 2020 during a global pandemic felt immeasurable. The OSU research forests proudly served as a refuge for the community to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities, connect with nature and connect with each other.

By the Numbers
Recreation Visits
In 2017, the McDonald-Dunn College Research Forests saw 17,271 individual recreation visitors who accounted for more than 155,000 total visits.

Recreation Activity
Walking/Hiking          51.5%
Dog Walking              19.0%
Running/Jogging      16.0%
Mountain Biking       12.0%
Horseback riding/misc   1.5%

Health Benefits
Recreation visits to the McDonald and Dunn Forests resulted in $754,395 in cost of illness savings, or health benefits, associated with eight chronic illnesses; and accounted for 14 percent of the total health benefits estimated for all of Benton County ($5.4 million).

This story was part of the College of Forestry’s 2019-2020 Biennial Report.

The OSU College of Forestry is leading an international effort to advance the technology needed to construct much taller, environmentally friendly buildings made primarily from wood. At the center of this effort is COF’s new state-of-the-art facility, the Oregon Forest Science Complex (OFSC).

Home to the College, the complex’s two newest buildings are primarily made and grown in Oregon. The new George W. Peavy Forest Science Center (PFSC) and the new A. A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWP) highlight an entirely new way of thinking about building and design.

The buildings feature innovative materials and products throughout the 95,000-square feet of new space, from cross-laminated timber and mass plywood panels to Accoya wood cladding and View dynamic glass windows. The project highlights how mass timber and structural wood products building solutions can increase the value of Oregon’s natural resources and enhance our communities.

Thanks to the vision, support and work of former dean Thomas Maness, the leadership of former interim dean Anthony S. Davis, the State of Oregon, OSU Foundation and numerous donors, faculty, students, staff, and alumni, the complex provides a learning environment that is one of a kind.

“This building showcases how renewable materials can be used to create beautiful, innovative buildings that positively impact our education, research, and outreach work, reduce our carbon footprint and support the sustainable management of Oregon’s natural resources,” says Tom DeLuca, the Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry.

The complex features 20 classrooms and several computer rooms and laboratories, including the FERN Student Center and the Peavy Arboretum. In these spaces, faculty, students and researchers can participate in active learning and discovery while utilizing cutting-edge technology.

“This building is a product of collaboration and the leadership at OSU and the college. Students, faculty, donors, and partners all came together to create this wonderful space. This is what collaboration and consensus look like and highlights what we can accomplish together in the future,” says Destiny Pauls, a Natural Resources major.

Designed by Michael Green, a leading innovator in high-rise wood construction, the OFSC is an excellent example of how sustainably managed forests can create beautiful buildings out of wood and reduce the carbon footprint of new building construction while establishing a connection with outdoor landscapes.

Built in partnership with others, the building also demonstrates the power and impact of a shared vision of sustainability.

“To the donors and the industries that all came together, I just want to say thank you,” Pauls says. “We are going to show you what we can do with all of this together.”

By the Numbers
Total Size: 95,000+ square feet

Project Funding: A public-private partnership that brought together four lead donors, gifts from more than 100 others and matching bonds from the State of Oregon

Incorporated Wood: Baltic birch, black walnut, Douglas-fir, juniper, maple, red alder, and white oak

PFSC Specifics
Opened: March 2020
Size: 80,000 square feet
Constructed with: Glulam, cross-laminated timber (CLT), mass plywood panels (MPP)
Features: Classrooms (7), meeting rooms (6), computer classrooms (2), offices, laboratories (5), outdoor arboretum, graduate student workspaces, numerous study areas, Harvest Simulation Laboratory

AWP Specifics
Opened: May 2019
Size: 15,000 square feet
Constructed with: MPP
Features: Structural testing bay, advanced wood products manufacturing bay, offices, meeting space

INNOVATIVE CONSTRUCTION
The cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels that make up the sheer walls and the floors are Oregon Douglas-fir processed by D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations, LLC in Riddle, Oregon. Mass plywood panels (MPP), created by Freres Lumber Company, Inc. in Lyons, Oregon, are heavily utilized throughout the AWP and are used as the roof for the PFSC.

A LIVING LAB
381 sensors are installed throughout the PFSC and will monitor wood moisture content, indoor and outdoor weather conditions, heat transfer, long-term movement of walls and floors, tension in self-centering rods and building and floor vibrations.

LAND RECOGNITION
Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, is located within the traditional homelands of the Mary’s River, or Ampinefu, Band of Kalapuya. Following the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855, Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to reservations in Western Oregon. Today, living descendants of these people are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians.

EDUCATIONAL SPACES
Formal and informal classroom and lab spaces range from small capacity to large capacity, and will allow students to study all aspects of the forest landscape.

STRONG WALL
A 60’-x-80’ foot strong wall and reaction floor system within the AWP facilitates testing of up to three-story wood structures. Oregon State and TDI researchers use the facility to conduct seismic tests, connection tests, loading tests and more.

This story was part of the College of Forestry’s 2019-2020 Biennial Report.

$12K+ raised

During early September 2020, as fires erupted throughout Oregon, a powerful east wind drove a wildfire down the McKenzie River valley near Eugene. This fire, the Holiday Farm Fire, destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and ultimately burned 173,000 acres of forest land, including approximately 400 acres of the lower part of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. The fire displaced HJ Andrews staff, burned in sites over 450 years old and destroyed some critical research infrastructure and instruments.

“Even though Andrews staff were grieving the loss of their community, and in some cases, their homes, they demonstrated resilience. They responded to get instruments running and collecting data through a critical post-fire period,” said Katy Kavanagh, associate dean for research for the College of Forestry.

As Andrews Forest scientists coordinated efforts to use long-term monitoring and new measurements to understand the effects of the fire and track post-fire recovery, the wider community initiated an outpouring of giving, raising over $12,000 in two days to help displaced staff.

“The generosity of the Andrews community moved me to tears,” said USFS Science Liaison Cheryl Friesen, who lost her home in the fire.

“The kind words and generous donations mean so much to every employee impacted by this fire, thank you,” said Brenda Hamlow, the Andrews Forest site manager.

The efforts to protect Andrews forest and support the displaced and affected staff was a community effort. Over the years, the work to strengthen relationships between the Andrews Forest, the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the US Forest Service and the Willamette National Forest facilitated a rapid response and an understanding of the resources at risk.

Coordination between Willamette National Forest firefighters and Andrews Forest staff concerning fire suppression and containment activities was essential in protecting research installations and managing safety issues for fire crews. As efforts begin to repair the effects of the fire and fire suppression activities, Willamette National Forest personnel, some of whom were either evacuated from their homes or lost them entirely to the fire, are partnering with Andrews staff to perform this work.

“This is a deep and long-standing partnership; we are colleagues, friends, co-workers, the response was much like you would see from a family helping one another out in a time of tragedy,” said Michael Paul Nelson, the Ruth H. Spaniol Chair of Renewable Resources and Lead Principal Investigator for the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.

The College of Forestry also stepped in to help people affected by the Oregon wildfires. The college quickly organized a donation drive for displaced families and emergency responders, filling four large vehicles with food and shelter items. The donations were distributed to Linn and Benton county evacuation shelters, and firefighter items were taken to the Oregon Department of Forestry in Sweet Home.

This story was part of the College of Forestry’s 2019-2020 Biennial Report.