The use of herbicides in forests is a controversial topic in Oregon, throughout the country and the world. For the past eight years, Oregon State professor of landscape and wildlife ecology Matthew Betts and his research team have studied them closely, in a study partially funded by the college’s Institute for Working Forest Landscapes. The research team paid close attention to the effects on wildlife and timber production.

“This study is relevant locally because herbicide use is commonly-used on Oregon Department of Forestry and industrial lands,” Betts says. “In the Pacific Northwest, it’s the primary silvicultural method that follows clearcutting.”

Betts says the topic is becoming relevant globally as herbicides become more popular in plantation forests worldwide. Currently, about 35 percent of timber comes from plantations, and in the next 50 years, experts project that most timber will come from this source. Betts believes now is the time for forest managers to have adequate scientific information to inform decisions about whether or not to use herbicides.

His study on intensive forest management is the largest of its kind in the world. The research team worked together with industry and the State of Oregon to study 32 stands of 15 acres or more with four different levels of herbicide treatments ranging from no treatment at all in the control group through more heavily treated stands similar to those in a commercial setting, and an extreme treatment that exceeds current spray practices.

Stands that have or haven’t been treated with herbicides can usually be recognized based on the amount of vegetation growing at the foot of young forests whose canopies haven’t yet closed. Untreated forests tend to have green floors, whereas heavily treated forest floors are initially quite bare.

Eight years into the experiment, Betts says the saplings they started with are huge in relative terms. The research team has also learned how herbicides affect various species of plants and animals within the forest.

“There’s little doubt that on the timber side, trees grow faster when herbicides are sprayed,” Betts says. “Our study shows that the most heavily sprayed stands produce up to 30 percent more volume, but there is an effect on biodiversity.”

The study measured herbaceous plants, birds, pollinators such as bees, deer, elk, moths and other insects.

“There were more bird species in areas where we didn’t spray herbicides,” Betts says. “Wilson’s Warbler was one of the most affected species. We also saw depressed numbers of pollinators. Surprisingly, we did not detect much of a change in populations of deer, elk and moths.”

Betts says that around year five of the study, for the most part, the number of species began to equalize and recover.

“Even the heavily-sprayed stands began to turn green,” he says. “In the end, some species responded negatively, some species have been resilient and some responded negatively and then recovered.”

Land managers pay up to $200- 250 per acre for herbicide spray. Money is spent up front and not returned until stands are harvested at age 40-50.

On the economic side of the study, the research team concluded that herbicide isn’t cheap, and that spraying does not always generate additional financial value.

“You could spend $250 per acre now, or invest that money in a bank somewhere. If your expectation is a financial yield of seven percent or greater, we’ve found that it doesn’t make economic sense to spray, all other things being equal,” says Betts.

He emphasizes the study saw no failed stands or plantations, and valuable biodiversity tended to increase without herbicide use. The research team will continue to monitor the stands up to the 15-year mark when the canopy will start to close, limiting sunlight to shrub species. They also plan to survey the general public about aspects of the study and perceptions about herbicide use.

That’s where Mark Needham, Oregon State professor of social science, policy and natural resources, comes in.

“We began surveying in early 2019,” Needham says. “We’re focusing on a number of small, rural communities in the coast range near the stands in the study. We plan to ask residents about their knowledge, attitudes and perceptions associated with the herbicide issue. We hope to survey at least 400 people.”

Instead of asking one-off questions, Needham says that in this context, it’s important for survey respondents to make tradeoffs and prioritize their interests.

“This study spans so many different areas including wildlife, soil, water, pollinators and economic impacts, so it’s important to make sure we look at the tradeoffs people are willing to make within the context of herbicide use,” Needham says.

Betts agrees land managers and the general public need to decide if they want forests with more biodiversity but less timber growth per acre, or less biodiversity and high rates of timber production.

“Without spray,” he offers, “you need to spread out forestry operations to get the same amount of lumber. With spray, you have more tightly-packed and intensely managed stands, which can potentially free up land for conservation.”

Betts realizes these are hard decisions. “The results of this study are just not as straightforward as we expected them to be,” Betts says. “We hope this science will help managers and the public make educated decisions about herbicide use amid the controversy.”

Cable-assisted harvesting systems are gaining popularity in the Pacific Northwest. Stewart Professor of Forest Operations Woodam Chung says there are about 20 systems in use in the Pacific Northwest already, and that number is growing.

The systems are undeniably safer than traditional cable yarding systems and manual cutting, because, thanks to mechanized harvesting, cameras and other technology, no one has to be on the forest floor near falling trees.

“One worker sits at the top of a hill with a camera,” explains Graduate Student Preston Green. “He can see where his grapples are and grab the logs at a safe distance.”

Chung says this process eliminates the need for choker setters and fellers – some of the most dangerous jobs in the forest industry.

The technology for cable-assisted harvesting was developed in Europe about 20 years ago, and recently adapted by Oregon State for use on steep slopes in the Pacific Northwest.

Once the tree is cut by a cable-assisted cutting machine, the machine swings and piles the tree along the skyline corridor, where it will be picked up and transported to a mill for processing.

In addition to the safety of the system, Chung is looking at other aspects including soil impact. His research team has already completed two studies on soil impact. He says industry professionals and members of the public perceive large equipment causes soil compaction, but two initial studies, one in the McDonald-Dunn Forest and one on Lone Rock Timber’s land, concluded that, depending on soil types and moisture content, loosening may occur after machine traffic.

“Now the question is, what does this mean in terms of erosion or soil moisture content?” asks Chung. “That’s what we’re looking at now.”

Chung and his team will continue to study interactions between soil, machine and water.

“We will use silt fences to look at erosion and measure the amount of erosion we collect,” Chung says.

Researchers want to learn what kind of impact this erosion might cause on water quality in streams and rivers at the base of logging operations.

Another aspect of the study is the economic impact.

“Cable-assisted mechanized harvesting is more productive than manual cutting, especially on steep slopes,” Chung says, “But the machine is expensive. Timber companies will have to weigh the costs and benefits for themselves and decide how to harvest.”

Green agrees, “If these systems can produce more timber at a reduced cost, then it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Construction of the A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Lab is underway on the Oregon State University campus. The new lab will add 15,000 square-feet of structural testing space to the Oregon State College of Forestry, which already boasts some of the best technical research facilities in the nation.

A new state-of-the-art space

The laboratory will also be home to a 2,500 square-foot advanced wood products manufacturing area, a flexible demonstration and classroom area and the TallWood Design Institute offices.

“There are a variety of ways research and teaching can intersect in this new space,” says Arijit Sinha, associate professor of renewable materials at Oregon State. “When we complete large-scale tests, we will need an army of undergraduate helpers. It will be a great experiential learning opportunity for students, while at the same time offering us new, world-class capabilities to test buildings at full scale.”

Juliana Ruble, former advanced wood products lab manager and project engineer for Andersen Construction, agrees.

“The new lab will provide space for architects, engineers, wood products manufacturers and researchers to come together and develop new products and new building systems designs,” she says.

A CNC panel processing center will be capable of creating large panels and straight beams as well as curved beams and other, smaller wood products. Another robotic machine will expand architectural fabrication opportunities.

A strong floor for large tests

A 60-by-80-foot strong wall and reaction floor system will facilitate testing of up to three-story wood structures.

The strong floor and accompanying reaction wall are composed of  four-foot thick concrete. Anchors are attached to the floor and wall on a four-by-four-foot grid. Each anchor has a 60-kip capacity for a total of 240 kips for each cluster of four anchor points. The reaction wall is capable of withstanding a 150-kip reaction while the floor can withstand 500-kip compression across a twelve-inch diameter area.

“Our strong floor will be one of the largest related to wood and timber research in the U.S.,” Sinha says. “We will use the floor and reaction wall to test materials and structures. The strong base of the floor mimics a rigid surface during tests.”

Oregon State and TDI researchers anticipate using the facility to conduct seismic tests, connection tests, wall connection tests, loading tests and more.

“We do these tests now on a smaller scale,” Ruble says. “This new facility will more than double our research capacity while increasing our manufacturing research capabilities and our ability to bring in industry, students and stakeholders to learn in an applied research environment.”

Making connections, continuing research

Sinha researches connections within mass-timber buildings, and will continue this work inside the new lab. His current project focuses on nondestructive evaluation of mass-timber by exposing connection materials to extremes of modular and biological exposure on two different species of CLT.

Sinha will also assess how wood buildings react to biological attack including fungi. The research project is funded by the USDA, and the team includes collaborators from Portland State University.

“The results will be incorporated into building codes,” Sinha says. “This project is important because it will tell us how things play out overtime in wood buildings with intrusion of moisture.”

Oregon State University is one of two sites for the Wood-Based Composites Center (WBC), an industry and university cooperative research center funded by the National Science Foundation. The other is Virginia Tech University. The two institutions work with academic and industry partners to advance the science and technology of wood-based composite materials. The center completed a number of research projects in FY 2017 and FY 2018 that will lead to wood product innovations and improved performance.

Micron level 3D visualization of adhesive bonds in wood products

For the first time, researchers achieved a true characterization of the micro-structure of adhesive bonds in wood.

Laminated wood products, like glulam beams and plywood, rely on the integrity of adhesive bonds that are only a few microns thick. Adhesives penetrate the porous structure of wood. This project asked the question, ‘does the extent of penetration affect mechanical performance of the final product?’

Fred Kamke, director of WBC and JELD-WEN Chair of Wood-Based Composites Science, says the goal of the project was to observe how adhesive bonds perform when subjected to mechanical loads and moisture, focusing on the analysis on the adhesive bond.

Richardson Chair in Wood Science and Forest Products, John Nairn, created a mathematical model to predict mechanical performance of an adhesive bond based on its microstructure. Kamke and his graduate students collected the 3D microstructure data and used micro and nano x-ray-computed tomography to create 3D digital models of adhesive bonds. While wood is an extremely porous structure that readily absorbs adhesives, the researchers found that as much as 50 percent of the adhesive that penetrates the cell lumens may not contribute to bond strength. However, penetration of adhesive into the cell wall helps to stabilize the bond against the effects of moisture.

“Cell wall penetration improves the moisture durability,” Kamke says. “With this information, adhesive companies can improve their formulations and create adhesives to be engineered for a particular application, saving money for the manufacturers and improving performance of the products.”

Natural formaldehyde emissions from wood

Some adhesives, such as ureaformaldehyde, emit low levels of formaldehyde over their lifetime as they slowly decompose. Modern adhesive formulations and test protocols ensure these levels fall within the acceptable federal guidelines. However, as formaldehyde detection technology improves, the adhesive industry faces pressure to reduce formaldehyde emission levels.

Kamke says there are still many unanswered questions about formaldehyde.

“People wonder if formaldehyde is in their house,” he says. “Can it cause us harm? How much formaldehyde is OK? How low should emissions be? Although we don’t know have all of the answers to these questions, government regulations still need to be met.”

What researchers do know is that many substances, including human bodies, other animals and natural materials like wood, emit low levels of formaldehyde naturally.

Chip Frazier, Virginia Tech professor of sustainable biomaterials, wanted to learn exactly how much formaldehyde pure, natural, virgin wood does emit. The tests showed how formaldehyde levels in different wood species are affected by temperature change, and what formaldehyde levels are derived from wood itself.

“This data establishes a baseline level of source formaldehyde from wood, and will likely have a significant impact on future federal indoor air quality policy and the future of wood-based composite products, because just particleboard and fiberboard production alone is a $1.6 billion industry in the United States,” Kamke says. “This study and the resulting policy changes will have impacts on everyone involved in bonding wood with adhesives, and will have a positive impact on future indoor air quality across America.”

Outreach work continues

The WBC continues to educate the public through traditional classroom and online short courses. Seven online courses were added in 2016.

Kamke says the most popular is a basic course on wood adhesives that’s been running for 15 years.

“Our plan is to add more online courses,” Kamke says. “Enrollment is growing, and we are proud to continue to educate the producers and the public about the wonderful world of wood-based composites.”

leaves

To solve a large problem you often have to come at it from a different angle. It is an approach Ian Munanura, assistant professor of nature-based tourism and human well-being at Oregon State, took after starting his research in human wellness and forest landscapes.

“In my research, I explore aspects of human well-being constraints and how they influence the health of forest landscapes” Munanura says.

“I also ask questions about how forest landscapes benefit humans. For example, how can tourism on forest landscapes improve human wellness, strengthen the resilience of forest communities and reduce negative human impact on forest landscapes?”

To answer this question, Munanura conducts a series of surveys and interviews of forest adjacent communities in Oregon, Rwanda, Uganda and Indonesia. He also hopes to expand his research program to Tanzania and Malaysia. To broaden the experiential learning opportunities for College of Forestry students, Munanura will use his international research network to deliver summer study abroad classes in countries where he has active research programs.

During his research interviews, Munanura asks questions such as: What is the nature of adversity stressing the livelihoods of families in forest communities?

How do families in forest communities function during adversity? What are the strengths (or vulnerabilities) of families in forest communities that could enable (or challenge) them to cope with adversity and maintain wellbeing?

How do the vulnerabilities of forest communities negatively affect forest landscapes?; and many others. Munanura thinks the answers to these questions will contribute to the understanding of important factors responsible for human-wildlife coexistence.

“Once we unpack the complexity of human health constraints and identify the aspects of those constraints that threaten our forest landscapes the most, we can adapt nature-based tourism programs to benefit communities, people and our forests,” Munanura says.

The inspiration for looking beyond the material aspects of human well-being came from Munanura’s own life experiences and growing up with limited access to material resources. Munanura says his family’s wellbeing recovered from destitution when his mother became spiritually active.

“Her mindset and emotions changed, and it enabled us to function better as a family despite limited access to material resources,” Munanura says. “In my work over the past 15 years, I have paid more attention to material wealth as a solution to improve the wellness of humans and forest landscapes. I strongly believed that degradation of forest landscapes was caused by lack of jobs and financial resources.”

However, Munanura says that attempts to address forest degradation by providing jobs and financial resources have shown little success. His research in Rwanda confirmed forest degradation is largely influenced by the most economically empowered residents in nearby communities.

“That challenged me to look at my own personal experiences. I realized there is more to improving human and forest wellbeing than money,” Munanura says. “Perhaps, there are non-fi nancial aspects of human well-being that have the potential to strengthen forest communities and forest landscapes.”

Munanura says his research is inspiring his students and helping them understand the limitations of the poverty driven narrative of forest landscape degradation.

“I encourage my students to think broadly and consider how human adversity, emotional, social and material resource constraints could impact the health of forest landscapes,” Munanura says. “Forest managers and other natural resources professionals are better served with a nuanced understanding of human constraints, how they impact the health of forest landscapes, and the potential solutions from nature-based tourism that can improve overall human and landscape well-being.”

Kevin Bladon in the field

Large wildfires can devastate the landscape, destroy structures and threaten communities. Once they’re extinguished and the direct threats are gone, the general public often moves on and breathes a little easier. However, Kevin Bladon, assistant professor of forest hydrology at Oregon State, says the effects of large wildfires on water quantity and quality can last for decades.

“Smaller, low severity fires can actually have positive outcomes for aquatic ecosystems,” Bladon says. “However, the larger fires, which we’ve seen more of in recent years, are the ones that cause us the most problems in terms of impacts on water,” Bladon says. “Fires used to be more frequent and less severe, but because of fire suppression and current forest management approaches, there are a lot more contiguous fuels in our forests. When combined with a warmer, drier climate this has increased the occurrence of large wildfires in many parts of the western U.S.”

Bladon says high-severity fire can increase annual streamflow, peak flows and shift the timing of snowmelt to streams to earlier in the year. Additionally, large fires can increase temperatures, sediment and nutrients in streams, which can negatively impact aquatic ecosystems and recreational value.

The sediment and nutrients in headwater streams can also travel downstream and into community drinking water sources.

“While our drinking water treatment plants can, and do, remove sediment, nutrients and other contaminants from our water after wildfires, the question is, ‘How much are we willing to pay for this?’ These are expensive costs that get passed to taxpayers for many years after a fire,” Bladon says.

So far, Bladon’s studies have been conducted in Oregon, California, Colorado, Tennessee and Canada. As large wildfires continue to occur in the West, he plans to keep his eyes and research on the west side of the Cascades.

“Historically, there haven’t been a lot of fires on the west side of the Cascades compared to east side forests,” he says. “But they are appearing more and more, and the potential impacts on our water supply is something researchers need to continue to investigate.”

Bladon says it’s an exciting time to be studying hydrology as it relates to wildfire because the scientific community and the public are striving to understand how large wildfires impact our water supplies.

“Oregonians tend to be very proud of our water, healthy rivers, recreational opportunities and our many breweries, to name a few things,” Bladon says. “Given that two-thirds of our water supply originates in forests, it’s critical to protect those things that make our state such a great place.”

trees

Logging on steep slopes is the most hazardous environment for a forest worker according to John Sessions, University Distinguished Professor and Strachan Chair of Forest Operations Management at Oregon State.

Sessions is part of a team of investigators researching innovative technologies to improve logger safety on steep slopes. Other research team members include Woodam Chung, Ben Leshchinsky, Francisca Belart, Tamara Cushing, John Garland, Jeff Wimer and Brett Morrissette from the College of Forestry and Laurel Kincl from the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. The three-year project is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“Logging has consistently been one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S. It has a fatality rate 30 times higher than the national occupation average,” Sessions says. “Increasing mechanization of felling and skidding has removed workers from the forest floor in flat terrain, however, workers remain on the forest floor for felling and extraction in steeper terrain.”

The study examines strategies for replacing forest workers on forest slopes with tethered and non-tethered felling, forwarding equipment and combining mechanized felling with traditional cable yarding methods. The research would improve safety in the steep forest workplace.

Preston Green, a graduate research assistant on the project, focuses specifically on harvesting productivity, cost and environmental impacts of cable-assisted harvesting systems.

“I conduct detailed time studies of harvesting, forwarding and cable yarding equipment, with and without the use of cable-assistance, to quantify the differences in harvesting system productivity and environmental impacts,” Green says.

Green says he first became interested in cable-assisted harvesting as an undergraduate forest engineering student at Oregon State. Industry internships peaked his interest in the subject, and Green decided to attend graduate school to conduct additional research.

“My family has worked in the timber industry for four generations, and I’ve seen the long-term effects that logging injuries can have on families and communities,” Green says. “We’re striving to make improvements in the industry, not just improve statistics. We are dealing with real people that live and work in our communities.”

The project has 15 collaborating companies. The research team includes forest engineers, forest operations specialists, occupational health and safety specialists and a geotechnical engineer.

“Due to the steep slopes throughout Oregon’s forests, we believe the introduction of cable-assisted harvesting equipment can be a paradigm shift that will improve safety and economic competitiveness for the industry in Oregon and beyond. It will provide the ability to implement safe forest restoration practices across the difficult terrain in many public forests,” Sessions says. “Our research results and the widespread interest about the study from forest owners, logging contractors, equipment manufacturers, and state and federal agencies suggest we are on the right track. This technology and our research will likely save lives.”

OFSC construction

The new George W. Peavy Forest Science Center will be unique, not just because of the atmosphere, but because the building will also be a living laboratory.

This living laboratory is one aspect of the SMART-CLT project, led by Mariapaola Riggio, assistant professor of wood design and architecture at Oregon State. The goal of the SMART-CLT project, which stands for “Structural Health Monitoring and Post-Occupancy Performance of Mass Timber Buildings,” is to analyze critical factors impacting the performance of cross-laminated timber during its service life, and develop protocols to monitor these factors in buildings. The SMARTCLT project will study cross-laminated timber on a small and large scale, and will be applied inside the Peavy Forest Science Center, soon to be the new home of the College of Forestry.

“Our project is looking at what is sometimes deemed as ‘serviceability of a structure,’ which includes everything from how the material vibrates, which can be a limiting factor in terms of design for long spans; deflections of the material and acoustics. We’re looking at a variety of factors,” says Evan Schmidt, outreach coordinator at the TallWood Design Institute (TDI).

Riggio says the study is multidisciplinary. The research team involves architects, engineers and industry professionals who will analyze the project from a variety of perspectives. The project is funded by TDI, a collaboration between Oregon State and the University of Oregon and the nation’s leading research collaborative focused on advancing structural wood products.

“It’s not just how the system and the building performs in terms of standard and code requirements, it’s also how it is accepted or how it contributes to the well-being and the comfort of the occupants. That’s why it’s important the project involve a number of partners,” Riggio says.

The living laboratory will provide information for many generations to come.

“Usually research is just a limited amount of time, but this project will last as long as the life of the building,” says Riggio.

The sensors used to monitor the building are a unique aspect of the project, an original idea which will help researchers see what is happening inside the materials of the building.

“We want to understand which approach can be the most effective when analyzing the overall performance while delivering meaningful and valuable information,” says Riggio.

Schmidt says the sensors outfitting the building will monitor the indoor environment, temperature of the mass timber elements, moisture content inside of the wood at various depths and locations, vibration, post-tension loss in the wall systems and more. There will be about 176 different sensor locations.

“We’re measuring a bunch of performance parameters relative to the environment,” Schmidt says. “It’s important to capture because wood is not an inert material. The way it interacts with the environment will impact the way it performs, long-term and short-term.”

While the project will last the life of the building, researchers will also monitor short-term insights during construction to understand the immediate effects.

Researchers believe this project will provide a better understanding of how best to promote the use of mass timber in construction in the U.S.

“We need flagship structures,” Schmidt says. “We need to conduct research during and after construction. The combination of the two will make the public aware and excited about the benefits of mass timber buildings.”

The College of Forestry’s world-class students and faculty conduct ground-breaking research within the subjects of forestry, natural resources, tourism and wood science and engineering. Our research happens in labs and outdoors– on public and private lands across the state and in the College’s own 15,000 acres of College Research Forests as well as around the nation and the world.

Contributing to Oregon State University’s second-best year ever in competitive grants and contracts for research, the College of Forestry received $11.04 million in new grants and awards. As Oregon’s largest comprehensive public research university, OSU earned a total of $382 million in the fiscal year ending June 30.

Industry and agency partnerships thrived via the college’s 10 research cooperatives, with more than 100 private industry and government agency members providing an additional $2.18 million to support collaborative research.

Here are some examples of newly funded research out of a portfolio of 40 new projects.

The Role of Managed Forests in Promoting Pollinator Biodiversity, Health, and Pollination Services to Wild Plants and Agricultural Crops

Jim Rivers
Awarded by: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Amount: $1,000,000

This project will provide new information on how managed forests support healthy pollinators including bees, flies, butterflies, beetles and hummingbirds. Other objectives of the project include determining how pollinator health is influenced by forest management intensity, evaluating whether management changes to pollinator communities alters pollination of wild plants and testing whether forests serve as source habitats for pollinator populations within agricultural landscapes.

CRISPR/Cas9 Mutagenesis for Genetic Containment of Forest Trees

Steve Strauss
Awarded by: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Amount: $500,000

The goal of this project is to develop and test systems to edit floral genes of poplar and eucalyptus trees.  The edited, non-functional genes should prevent the release of pollen or seeds of these species because their genetically engineered forms are considered undesirable. These trees are often propagated from cuttings, making fertile flowers unnecessary for commercial use. These tools are expected to simplify regulatory decisions, promote public acceptance, and avoid unintended effects from exotic or genetically engineered trees in wild or feral environments.

Automated Landslide “Hot Spot” Identification Tool for Optimized Climate Change and Seismic Resiliency

Ben Leshchinsky
Awarded by: Oregon Dept of Transportation
Amount: $425,090

Landslides are increasingly frequent hazards that affect the operation, maintenance, and construction of Oregon highways, resulting in negative economic, environmental and social impacts for Oregon communities. This project will develop approaches towards creating enhanced means of assessing landslide risk considering topography, rainfall, and seismicity, primarily through the creation of mapping tools. Through these endeavors, planners will be able to maintain the safest and most efficient transportation system possible.

Inventoried landslides used for future projections of landslide hazard.

Monitoring Recreation Use in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Troy Hall
Awarded by: USDI National Park Service
Amount: $344,078

This project is developing protocols to monitor recreation use across 21 units of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the most heavily used National Park in the US.

Multiscale Investigation of Perennial Flow and Thermal Influence of Headwater Streams into Fish Bearing Systems

Catalina Segura
Awarded by: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Amount: $221,271

The impacts of timber harvesting and other land uses on water quality have been an environmental concern for many years. This project will assess the effectiveness of the rules currently applied in California. These rules are aimed at identifying headwater streams that require special protection given their likelihood to influence stream temperature in downstream watercourses.  This project will assess the vulnerability to temperature increases after timber harvesting of fish-bearing streams draining different geologic units.

SusChEM: Naturally Produced Fungal Compounds for Sustainable (Opto)Electronics

Seri Robinson – Co-Principal Investigator
Awarded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $190,580

The project will explore fungi-derived pigments as a sustainable optoelectronic material for organic photovoltaics.  Wood stained fungi native to the Pacific Northwest will be explored for potential incorporation into solar cells.  Fungi-derived pigments are abundant and represent a largely unexplored resource for organic electronics and renewable electricity generation.  The project is in conjunction with principal investigator Oksana Ostroverkhova in the College of Science.

Lidar- and Phodar- based modeling of stand structure attributes, biomass, and fuels

Temesgen Hailemariam
Awarded by: USDA Forest Service
Amount: $ 164,000

This project will support the growing need for land managers to fully utilize Lidar products to obtain timely and accurate information. The project integrates traditional measures of fuels with remotely-sensed point cloud data to provide estimates of pre- and post-fire fuel mass, volume, or density in physical measurement units and in 3D within the same domain as physics-based fire models, and to scale up observations from fine-scale inputs to physics-based models to coarse scale fuels characterization required by smoke models. Hierarchical sampling across a range of spatial scales will also provide an important sensitivity analysis at varying scales.

Multi-scale analysis and planning to support Forest Service fire management policy

Meg Krawchuk
Awarded by: USDA Forest Service
Amount: $146,511

The purpose of this research is to investigate management policies to address wildfire impacts to human and ecological values. Current suppression policies are not financially sustainable and not desirable from an ecological standpoint.

Towards Resilient Mass Timber Systems: Understanding Durability of Cross-Laminated Timber Connections

Arijit Sinha
Awarded by: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Amount: $489,793.00

This project will test moisture intrusion and biological decay in cross-laminated timber connection systems to help architects, contractors and product supplies understand how connections in wood buildings will fair over time.