No one loves mushrooms as much as Ray Van Court loves mushrooms.

Their favorite food? Matsutake mushrooms. Their favorite hobby? Mushroom hunting. Their favorite time of the year? Mushroom season.

In fact, Van Court loves mushrooms so much they quit their corporate job to pursue ways to make the world a better place through fungi.

As a PhD candidate in wood science and graduate research assistant, Van Court is working on a project with assistant professor of forest-based bio-products Gerald Presley. Together, they use ectomycorrhizal fungi to bioremediate heavy metal-treated wood waste.

“Preservatives are critical to retaining the structural integrity of wood, but disposal of treated wood is problematic,” Van Court says. “Wood treated with metals including arsenic and copper is disposed of in landfills, often unlined, where these toxic metals can move into the environment. Preventing the migration of these metals, and potentially recovering them, could reduce the ecological impact of these contaminants.”

Certain species of ectomycorrhizal fungi are known to tolerate high metal environments, and initial work has shown that they may reduce metal toxicity. These mechanisms include binding them, transporting them, and producing compounds that stabilize the metals. Introducing fungi particularly adept at immobilizing metals in contaminated sites could reduce the environmental impact of toxic metal migration. The resulting retention of bound metals may also allow for reclamation.

This, says Van Court, represents a long-term solution to the problem of treated wood waste with little required inputs – all ectomycorrhizal fungi need is trees to associate with.

To test this idea, Van Court and Presley are performing a multi-stage lab experiment, screening 20 different species of ectomycorrhizal fungi in plate culture against three toxic metals.

“This screening will identify which species best tolerate and uptake metals used in wood preservatives and is an enormous increase in species and metals compared to previous research,” says Van Court.

In the second stage of the research, trees will be inoculated with the best performing fungi and planted in heavy metal-treated mesocosms, controlled containers that replicate natural environments. Trees and fungi will grow together in the metal contaminated system for a few months, after which their effect on metal will be measured. This initial work will test the effectiveness of the fungal system and pave the way for future field research.

While doing the research, Van Court was surprised by the scarcity of technologies related to ectomycorrhizal fungi and the limited knowledge on fungi growth. The fungi are usually in symbiosis with trees and for many species very little is known regarding how to replicate what the tree or other organisms in the ecosystem typically provide to the fungus.

“Admittedly, they are much harder to grow and maintain than decay fungi, but they represent a lot of untapped potential,” Van Court says. “As all kinds of products – from medicines to packaging material – have come from decay fungi, what new sustainable products might come from ectomycorrhizal ones? With new analytical and genetic tools, I think we are poised to learn much more about these fungi, and I am excited to see where this research and other projects can go.”

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Nathan Vega, an undergraduate student double majoring in renewable materials and forestry, has always had an interest in the fields of renewable energy and forest-based bioenergy.

“I am especially interested in biochar for its potential to help with wildfire prevention, energy production and agricultural management,” Vega says.

Biochar is a carbon-rich, charcoal-like substance made by burning organic material, like agricultural or forestry waste, at low oxygen levels in a process called pyrolysis. Biochar can be used as a soil enhancer or as a way to sequester carbon. The energy or heat created during the conversion can also be captured and used as clean energy.

“Biochar is part of something called the circular economy,” Vega says. “And the foundation of this economy is a transition to renewable energy and materials.”

An alternative to the traditional linear economy, the circular economy is restorative or regenerative by design. It seeks to reduce waste and material use, recover resources at the end of a product’s life, and channel them back into production, significantly reducing pressure on the environment.

Vega jumped at an opportunity to work within the circular economy, assisting Scott Leavengood, director of Oregon Wood Innovation Center, in testing Portland, Oregon, based Sankofa Lumber’s new line of panel products known as “SecondStory.”

“SecondStory” panels are unique in that they are composed of reclaimed structural building materials, including lumber, oriented strand board (OSB) and plywood. Sankofa refers to these panels as architectural surfaces and advises using them for purposes like flooring, casework and wall cladding. “SecondStory” panels are currently installed in the Oregon State women’s gymnastics facility locker room.

Leavengood and Vega tested the panels to determine qualities like hardness, bond and bending strength and moisture performance. They measured the panels’ performance based on comparable products like
particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and hardwood plywood. The Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator, powered by VertueLab and CleanTech Alliance, funded the testing.

“For entrepreneurs working with any kind of new material or new product, the first question they always get from potential customers is ‘what’s it like?’ or in other words, how does the product compare to what’s on the market now?’ says Leavengood. “We were able to help Sankofa Lumber answer these questions since Nathan put the product through a workout.”

Bond strength is critical for composite products. Leavengood and Vega found the strength excellent even after products were exposed to high humidity and water submersion for several days.

Focusing on his classes and assisting Leavengood with his research projects provided Vega with support and something to focus on during the pandemic.

“Everyone at the College of Forestry was very welcoming and friendly,” Vega says, “Plus, this job was a great part of the last year-and-a-half as it let me get out of the house and listen to music while I did the experiments.”

Vega is a recipient of the Friends of Renewable Materials Seneca Scholarship, Powers Scholarship, and Presidential Scholarship from the College of Forestry. He said receiving the scholarships has been essential to ensuring his success at Oregon State.

“These scholarships have allowed me to pursue my education without distraction or worry,” Vega says. “It’s been such a relief to find that I am so supported.”

When Vega is not studying, he likes to spend his free time reading, gardening, cooking, listening to music, hiking and playing the drums. He also likes to spend his time with his friends and family and he recently joined the college’s logging sports team.

After graduation, Vega wants to work in bioenergy, specifically biochar production from forest biomass as a carbon-negative energy source.

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Christopher Still, a professor at the Oregon State University College of Forestry, studies forest ecology and the physiology of trees. His research spans from a singular leaf on a tree to entire ecosystems. He also studies carbon cycling and forest-climate interactions.

So, when the temperatures rose to unprecedented levels in the summer of 2021 and a heat dome descended upon Oregon, Still knew the scorching heat and intense energy from the sun would stress the trees, scorch the foliage and impact Oregon’s forests. Especially after two years of state-wide drought. But at what scale? And what would that mean for the long-term health of the trees?

“The ‘heat dome’ led to numerous reports of foliage scorch and leaf drop in westside forests of the Coast Range and Cascades,” Still said. “Western hemlock and western red cedar seemed to be impacted the most, but Douglas-fir and various alders and maples were affected, too. Notably, trees and saplings with direct solar exposure and on south-facing slopes seemed to suffer the worst foliage scorch.”

With help from citizen scientists, researchers like Still spent months documenting the heat dome’s effects on Oregon’s trees. Using a website created by the Oregon Department of Forestry, community members and researchers reported their observations to map and analyze the foliage scorch.

Still then organized a symposium to share information and begin piecing together what the heat dome event might mean for the long-term health of trees.

“Researchers do not know what the near- and long-term physiological causes and consequences of foliage scorch and heat stress will be, at either leaf or tree scales. The impacts could range from impaired metabolism on surviving leaves, to reduced stem diameter growth, to eventual tree mortality,” Still says.

The symposium served as a central place for tree experts like foresters, silviculturists and botanists to meet and discuss their findings and plan for the next steps to monitor the impacts of the heat dome.

“I think there are many challenges for forest management. The challenges range from trying to help forests become more resilient to climate change impacts, to working on assisted migration and planting of new genotypes and identifying species that can better handle a warmer and drier climate in the future,” Still says.

Still says we should expect more intense heatwaves in the future, and we should all work urgently to lower our carbon footprint to mitigate future climate change.

However, he said the data shows there is much to learn about heat stress physiology and how different genotypes, species and forest types will respond to future heat and drought extremes.

“I think the scale of the impacts – both the spatial scale and the range of species and forest types affected – was surprising. I think the resilience shown by some species and forests was also a pleasant surprise,” Still says.

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Swiss needle cast, a foliage disease specific to Douglas-fir resulting in needle loss and reduced growth, is perhaps the most well-studied foliage disease globally. Knowledge about this disease, caused by the native pathogenic fungus Nothophaeocryptopus gaeumannii, is used to study other foliage diseases worldwide.

This is due to the influence of the Swiss Needle Cast Cooperative at Oregon State University. “Since 1996, the cooperative has been focused on research and management of Douglas-fir in zones where Swiss needle cast occurs,” says professor and forest health specialist Dave Shaw, the current director of the cooperative.

Now, a quarter of a century later, the cooperative has published an article in the Journal of Forestry, summarizing their current understanding of Swiss needle cast based on twenty-five years of research.

Swiss needle cast, considered one of the top threats to Douglas-fir plantation health and productivity in western Oregon, Washington and SW British Columbia, was first identified on Douglas-fir growing in Switzerland in the early 20th century. Forest pathologists in North America found the fungus was common in native Douglas-fir stands but was not causing problems.

The disease emerged in Christmas tree plantations in Washington and Oregon in the 1970s, and by the 1990s, it had intensified in coastal Oregon and Washington Douglas-fir plantations. In January 1997, in response to the disease epidemic, the Swiss Needle Cast Cooperative was formed by private forest landowners, federal and state agencies, and the Oregon State University College of Forestry to conduct research and address management practices.

“The more we learn, the better we will be able to sustain the productivity of our forests,” Shaw says. “However, this is a native disease that has a role here in the PNW, and we have some ability to manage forests effectively in the presence of the disease.”

Swiss needle cast symptoms include chlorotic, yellowish foliage, low needle retention, thin crowns and reduced tree growth. The fungus occurs wherever its only host, Douglas-fir, is grown. Disease, however, is only expressed when the fungus causes significant defoliation of two and three-year-old needles.

This, says Shaw, is an essential point for managers. The fungus may be present and yet have no effect on Douglas-fir productivity.

The fungus lives inside the needles of Douglas-fir. It only impacts needle function when fungal fruiting bodies called pseudothecia emerge into and plug the stomates, or air pores, on the underside of the needle, blocking gas exchange. When too many stomates on a needle get plugged, the needle dies and is cast, or dropped, from the branchlet.

Pseudothecia on two year foliage.

Even after twenty-five years of research, Shaw says the science can still be surprising.

“We recently found that Swiss needle cast is distinctly a young tree disease, and older stands, except in extreme examples, are not as affected. There is something unique about young stands that makes the disease more prevalent,” Shaw says. This work was based on collaborations between graduate student Sky Lan, Shaw, and scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency who climbed mature and old-growth trees over two hundred feet tall to get samples and measure microclimate.

While Shaw and others do not yet know why this disease affects younger trees more often, they hypothesize the difference may be due to temperature dynamics within the canopy.

According to Shaw and Gabriela Ritokova, the associate director of the cooperative and a forest pathologist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, the management of Swiss needle cast is nuanced and site-specific. A “Guide to the Silviculture of Swiss Needle” is available on the Swiss Needle Cast Cooperative website.

Shaw explains that future challenges include understanding how climate change will influence the disease.

“Epidemiology-wise, winter temperature, and late spring-summer leaf wetness control disease,” Shaw says. “As we continue to increase winter warming, we may see the disease spread from the core areas now impacted to higher elevations and the western Cascades.“

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

The amount of carbon stored in soils is about three times that in living plants and double that in the atmosphere.

But, we often overlook soils’ powerful ability to store carbon.

“Concern about rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations has heightened interest in the role that forests play in carbon sequestration, storage and cycling,” says Jeff Hatten, associate professor of soil science and head of the forest engineering, resources and management department at the Oregon State University College of Forestry. “Living trees sequester and store carbon, but we give less recognition to soils’ role.”

But what happens to the soil’s carbon levels after forest harvests?

According to published research by OSU and Weyerhaeuser Company, conventional timber harvesting has no effect on carbon levels in the mineral soils of the western Pacific Northwest for at least three-and-a-half years after harvest.

Historic in its scope, a collaborative and long-term effort between Hatten and Scott Holub of Weyerhaeuser monitored nine managed Douglas-fir forest stands in Oregon and Washington before and after traditional timber harvest and replanting, analyzing more than 50,000 soil samples from 2700 sample points.

“Our original hypothesis that timber harvesting would decrease soil carbon in the short term was disproven,” Hatten says. “Even where you have the highest soil temperatures and the highest soil moistures – the strongest environment for decomposition that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – harvesting doesn’t seem to have an impact in the areas we studied.”

Across all the sites combined, after harvest, the scientists found little change (+2%) in mineral soil carbon content and a 184% hike in forest floor carbon, the result of harvest residue.

“We should not overlook the importance of the 184% increase in forest floor carbon,” says Katherine McCool, a master’s student in Hatten’s lab who is researching forest soil and watershed processes. “We can expect this increase because the branches, needles and bark that fall to the ground as harvest residue, in addition to the dead roots and stumps from harvested trees, will provide much of the future carbon that will infiltrate into the soil.”

The study, the most extensive sampling ever conducted to determine if harvesting has an impact on soil carbon, is essential because of soil’s ability to store carbon to mitigate and prevent increased greenhouse
gases and maintain a stable carbon balance in the soil for sustainable forest management.

“Soil carbon also is useful in establishing a suitable microbiome for plant and fungal growth,” says McCool. “Without ample soil carbon, new seedlings in post-disturbance areas will not be able to grow.”

Hatten had plans to resample these research sites in coming years and decades to look at the longer-term impacts. Then the 2020 Holiday Farm fire occurred, tearing through some of the research sites near Eugene, Oregon, and dramatically altering the forest landscape. The research continues, but now Hatten and McCool are also studying the role and effect of fire on soil carbon dynamics, examining one of the nine research sites which burned and assessing how soil changes after a severe wildfire in a harvested stand.

“The existence of this preestablished soil carbon site provides an excellent opportunity to study the difference between pre- and post-fire soil carbon, which is often hard to come by due to the spontaneity of wildfire,” says McCool.

Hatten and McCool found a 97% decrease in forest floor carbon within the research site, which equates to 14-times less forest floor carbon than in the pre-harvest stand. The fire’s impact on the mineral soil carbon is still undetermined, but given that 90% of the soil’s carbon lies below the forest floor, the results will have big ramifications for the total carbon budget of the site.

“These initial results show that disturbances like fire can reduce carbon sequestration progress,” says McCool. “Therefore, management activities need to include a focus on fire-safe landscapes if we want to prioritize carbon containment.”

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Caitlyn Reilley has worn many hats during her time at Oregon State University.

First, she was an undergraduate pursuing a career as a clinical dietician. Then, after realizing how heavily social, economic, and environmental factors influence individual health outcomes, she switched gears to focus on community-level health. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public health in 2016, securing a job as an outreach coordinator for the Linus Pauling Institute, a nutrition research institute at OSU.

While working as the outreach coordinator, Reilley began eyeing opportunities to return to school to study environmental policy. She learned about the opportunity to join the College of Forestry as the coordinator for the Elliott State Research Forest project.

“The Elliott project coordinator role was such a unique opportunity to bring my skillset to a project situated at the intersection of public lands policy, natural resource management, and rural community well-being,” Reilley says. “It was also fulfilling to help the College envision a path forward for the Elliott that benefits local communities while providing critical research into the best way to deliver the myriad of social, economic, and ecological values our forests provide.”

According to Reilley, developing a proposal for a research forest was often messy and included many difficult conversations. Overall, however, it was a joyful experience for her and gave her confidence in the ability of humans to work together to solve complex natural resource issues.

It also confirmed her desire to study natural resources management. As a current graduate student in sustainable forest management with a concentration in economics and policy, Reilley is working with Mindy Crandall, assistant professor of forest policy and economics. Crandall’s research focuses on the role that natural resources, especially forests, play in human well-being.

Together, she and Crandall are a part of a collaborative project studying the human dimensions of wildfire with researchers at the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. Her master’s research explores community vulnerability to wildfire and the social drivers of human-caused fire ignitions.

“The majority of fires in Oregon are started by people, and research into what drives these human-caused fires can help inform fire prevention strategies,” Reilley says.

Reilley’s research into socially vulnerable populations allowed her to support the implementation of Senate Bill 762 (SB 762), Oregon’s omnibus wildfire bill allocating millions for landscape scale forest restoration and community wildfire preparedness projects.

“As a part of this project, we are identifying and mapping socially vulnerable communities to help allocate resources provided by SB 762,” says Reilley. “Not all communities are equally equipped to prevent or respond to wildfire and it has been really encouraging to see how much interest there is in using this type of data to prioritize funding and support for communities that need it most.”

When Reilley is not in front of her computer analyzing data, she is in the forest and enjoys long-distance running and mountain biking with her Australian shepherd pup Ginger.

“Thanks to a rigorous Ginger-driven training plan, I was able to complete my first Ironman triathlon last summer in Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho,” Reilley says. “I also recently started building live edge furniture. I love to hunt for unique slabs of wood and am slowly building my arsenal of power tools.”

“I’ve learned so much from working with College of Forestry faculty these past three years. The Elliott project and implementation of SB 762 have provided incredible opportunities to see first-hand how the research informs real world management and policy decisions that promote healthy ecosystems and communities. Oregon communities are really at the heart of the work I’ve been able to be a part of here in the College, and I feel so fortunate for that.”

As the recipient of two scholarships from the College of Forestry: the Hal Salwasser Fellowship and the Lu Alexander Graduate Fellowship, Reilley is looking forward to using her scholarships to present her research at conferences this spring. After graduating this summer, she plans to continue working in the wildfire policy realm and hopes that her future career path never takes her too far from her home here in Oregon.

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

The Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) has selected four members of the Oregon State University Department of Wood Science and Engineering community to serve as “Women Ambassadors Creating the Future of Wood Science.”

Associate professor of wood design and architecture Mariapaola Riggio, wood science and engineering alumna Balkis Bakar (PhD, ’19), former OSU graduate faculty member Andreja Kutnar, and Anne Toppinen, who completed her sabbatical at OSU in the 1990s, will be recognized throughout the following year for their contributions and mentorship of women entering the wood science field.

Committed to the field of wood science for the future, the SWST has created a sponsored exhibition piece designed to celebrate women ambassadors in the field. The four members of the OSU community, along with 12 other women, will be a part of a traveling exhibition over the next year to recognize their efforts.

The first exhibition will occur during the 2022 SWST International Convention in Kingscliff, Australia, from July 10-16. It will travel worldwide until the 2023 SWST International Convention in Asheville, North Carolina. The exhibition will be displayed at Oregon State during the Fall 2022 term. The announcement coincides with the International Day for Women and Girls in Science, which the United Nations created in 2015 to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The first published results from the Play2Cope project reports that engaging in leisure activities during COVID-19 supported stress reduction and enhanced wellbeing.  The Play2Cope project is a collaboration between the Health, Environment, and Leisure (HEAL) research lab led by Xiangyou (Sharon) Shen, assistant professor (visiting) in the department of forest ecosystems and society, and colleagues in Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

These results, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, are the first investigation of U.S. adults’ overall leisure engagement and its association with mental health amidst the major disruptions and sustained stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants reported general increases in home-based traditional leisure and digital/online activities and decreases in physical and nature-based activities. The most popular outdoor activities were walking and gardening. A very small proportion of people started a new favorite leisure activity during COVID-19 and most people continued or fell back on activities they had engaged in before the pandemic.

The results suggest that engaging in leisure activities during times of prolonged, heightened stress could be a way to cope with stress. Failing to maintain or make adaptive changes to one’s leisure engagement was associated with a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms. The study also revealed that the positive aspect of mental health was primarily predicted by people’s own evaluation of their leisure engagement relative to a desired level, and less by the actual level of leisure activities.

Shen X, MacDonald M, Logan SW, Parkinson C, Gorrell L, Hatfield BE. Leisure Engagement during COVID-19 and Its Association with Mental Health and Wellbeing in U.S. Adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(3):1081. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031081

This study was supported by the Hallie E. Ford Center Team Science Seed Grant from the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University.

Climate change is increasing pressure on the built environment and building sector to transform from a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central solution. The development of mass timber technology and the use of wood to construct mid to high-rise buildings can serve as a pathway to a more sustainable future, meeting a rapidly growing global urban population while decreasing carbon emissions and increasing human health benefits.

International networking and collaboration with researchers at the cutting-edge of mass timber technology, wood science and data-driven infrastructure safety is key to achieving the much-needed breakthroughs to advance innovative mass-timber buildings.

The College of Forestry at Oregon State University is partnering with researchers at InnoRenew CoE, faculty of mathematics, natural sciences and information technologies at the University of Primorska and faculty of agriculture and forestry at the University of Helsinki to create an international, informal alliance to share mass timber technology data related to structural health monitoring. Structural health monitoring refers to analyses of data generated from sensors and information technologies that observe and monitor changes over time in buildings.

For a wide and systematic use of data from mass timber buildings, there remains a need for standardization and collaboration among researchers. The alliance will utilize first-hand data from three mass-timber projects, the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center (PFSC) in Corvallis, Oregon, USA, InnoRenew CoE in Slovenia, and the Hyytiälä forest station in Finland (University of Helsinki), to help create standards for structural health monitoring. The alliance will collect unique and innovative structural systems data, develop benchmark data for further applications, and cross-reference with other projects.

Peavy Forest Science Center, College of Forestry, Corvallis, OR, USA

The PFSC is a three-story building completed in 2019 at Oregon State University and utilizes mass-timber structural elements. These include self-centering, rocking, cross-laminated timber (CLT) shear walls, CLT-concrete composite floor systems, a mass plywood panel roof system, and glulam beams and columns. To determine if the building is performing under static, dynamic, and environmental loads as expected, the PFSC serves as a full-scale living laboratory equipped with sensors. The sensors monitor outdoor and indoor climate conditions, heat and moisture transfer in CLT assemblies, moisture content of structural elements, movement of CLT floor and wall panels, tension losses in CLT shear walls, and global dynamic behavior of the structure.

InnoRenew CoE’s building, Slovenia

The InnoRenew CoE’s building, the biggest wooden building in Slovenia, is a hybrid combination of timber, concrete and steel. It was designed according to state-of- the-art principles of contemporary sustainable construction following the principles of REED (Restorative Environmental and Ergonomic Design) based on research outputs from the InnoRenew CoE.

Hyytiälä forest station, Finland

In Finland, four new mass timber buildings at the Hyytiälä forest station, faculty of agriculture and forestry of the University of Helsinki, are under construction and will be completed in 2022. The structures and walls are CLT, while flooring and roofs are laminated veneer lumber (LVL) based. The buildings are 1-2 story comprising a large catering and studying/conference hall and three accommodation buildings with studio-type rooms. Wooden (walking) bridges and platforms connect the facilities. Two of the buildings will be used to collect data, research structure and material characteristics, and monitor indoor air quality. The buildings offer an opportunity to research human health and well-being, both perceived and experimentally measured.

The academic partners agree to cooperate in exchange for the mutual advancement, support and development of joint projects, publications and scholarship opportunities. Partners will develop standard practices for future structural health monitoring projects by creating standardized data collection, processing and management protocols, and establishing a common methodology for reporting project outputs. To inform transparent governance, ownership and regulation, the network will develop a repository and website with information about projects, data and outputs.

The alliance aims to further expand by attracting researchers from around the world to contribute to new knowledge and future developments in the field of built environment.

For more information about joining the alliance, contact:

Oregon State University: Mariapaola Riggio

InnoRenew COE and University of Primorska: Andreja Kutnar

University of Helsinki: Ritva Toivonen, Laura Alakukku

The Western Wood Preservers Institute (WWPI) donated $100,000 to support the construction of a pressure treating facility in Richardson Hall on the Oregon State University campus. The lab will be utilized by the Utility Pole Research Cooperative and the Environmental Performance of Treated Wood Research Cooperative, two preservative-treated wood cooperatives housed in the College of Forestry.  Stella-Jones Inc. will be donating an experimental treating cylinder once the facility is ready, saving the cooperatives about $300,000 in equipment costs.

The repurposed facility will enable more versatile treated wood research, particularly into how to improve the treatment and durability of large wood commodities such as utility poles, railroad ties, and marine pilings. In addition, the facility will function as an educational resource, allowing students in wood science to gain hands-on experience with the process of wood treating.

Representatives of WWPI and Stella-Jones visited the Oregon Forest Science Center to deliver the donation, met with Tom DeLuca, Cheryl Ramberg-Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry, and toured the new Peavy Forest Science Center, A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Lab, and the Peavy Arboretum. They also visited the lab spaces used by Gerald Presley, assistant professor in wood science and engineering, and his team.

“This donation enables us to advance science related to pressure treated wood and wood products,” said Gerald Presley, director of the two research cooperatives. “Pressure treatment enables wood to perform well in applications that would otherwise only be occupied by steel, concrete and plastics and OSU is now well-equipped to improve preserved wood products for better performance. This donation also helps us equip the next generation of leaders in wood science and engineering.”

Eric Hansen, department head of the department of wood science and engineering; Dean Tom DeLuca; Gerald Presley; Kyle Cassidy, President of Western Wood Preservers Institute and Director of Quality Assurance & Technical Services at Stella-Jones; Phil Schumock, Director of Sales for Residential Products at Stella-Jones; Dallin Brooks, Executive Director of Western Wood Preservers Institute. Not pictured, but in attendance were Butch Bernhardt, Senior Program Manager at Western Wood Preservers Institute; Mark Clark, Senior Technical Manager-Fire Safety with Hexion and Roy Hultberg, RJH Enterprises.