As one of the world’s premier centers of forestry education and research, the OSU College of Forestry is a recognized leader in sustainable forestry, sustainable land management solutions, climate-friendly forest products, green building, and smart recreation and urban planning: a comprehensive breadth of expertise necessary to develop the principles, practices, processes and products that improve rural and urban livelihoods while protecting the environment.

Our research is carried out by faculty, staff and students and happens in classrooms, labs, on public and private lands across the state, in the College’s own 15,000 acres of Research Forests and in our 11 research cooperatives. 

The College of Forestry received over $14.7 million in research grants and contracts for FY 2022. The awards support College of Forestry research that advances scientific knowledge critical to the health of forests, people and communities.

Here are some examples of the new awards:

“Reconciling timber production and biodiversity conservation : Testing the Triad approach to providing ecosystem services”
Sponsor: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Principal Investigator: Matt Betts

“DISES: Modeling interactions between community forest dynamics and local livelihoods amidst institutional changes”
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Reem Hajjar

“Assessing post-fire land management practices to improve recovery of soil health, vegetation, and ecosystem services”
Sponsor: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Principal Investigator: Kevin Bladon

“Predicting Near Real-Time Post-Fire Debris Flow Along ODOT Corridors”
Sponsor: Oregon Department of Transportation
Principal Investigator: Ben Leshchinsky

“Collaborative Research: Will it stay, or will it go? And if it goes, when? Parameterizing the Drivers and Timing of Post-Earthquake Landslides”
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Ben Leshchinsky

“Evaluating the response of native pollinators to fuel-reduction treatments in managed conifer forests”
Sponsor: CAL FIRE
Principal Investigator: Jim Rivers

It is our pleasure to announce that Professor Temesgen Hailemariam has been appointed as the N.B. and Jacqueline Giustina Professor of Forest Management and the Director of the Center for Intensive Planted-forest Silviculture. 

Temesgen earned his Ph.D. in Forest Biometrics from the University of British Columbia in 1999 and has been with the College of Forestry since 2003. Temesgen has a prolific career in growth and yield modeling, silviculture, forest operations, carbon estimation, and climate change issues. His work has resulted in over 90 peer-reviewed publications and $4 million in funding. Importantly, he has trained 7 Ph.D. and 15 M.Sc. students that have gone on to distinguished careers in academia, agencies, consulting, and private industry. Over his career, Temesgen has been honored with several awards including the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Mentorship of Graduate Students (2019), the Xi Sigma Pi Mentor award (2008), and the Emerging Scholar Faculty Award of the OSU chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (2007).

The Giustina Professor of Forest Management endowment honors Nat, ’41, and his wife Jacqueline Giustina. Their son, Larry Giustina, ‘71 and his wife Carolyn Keen Giustina, ’71, generously supported this endowed professorship. Larry, an OSU Lifetime Trustee, founding chair of the College of Forestry Board of Visitors, and an OSU College of Business alum, was a staunch advocate and friend of the College of Forestry .

Congratulations Temesgen!

It is with great pleasure that we share that Dr. Cristina Eisenberg will be joining the College as the Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Director of Tribal Initiatives in the College of Forestry. After a nationwide competitive search process culminating in the interview of three outstanding candidates, we identified Dr. Eisenberg as an excellent match for our needs and hopes for this new position within the College. 

In this role, Dr. Eisenberg will direct a new Office for Tribal Initiatives in the College, serve as our primary liaison with the nine Tribes of Oregon and with Tribal Nations throughout the Northwest, oversee the execution of the College’s DEI strategic plan, and work closely with our new Director of Student Success to improve recruitment, retention and completion of under-served student populations and help advance the College as a program dedicated to diversity, equity, justice and inclusion. Dr. Eisenberg is a first-generation Latinix and Native American (Apache and Rarámuri) scholar who comes to us with years of experience in Traditional Ecological Knowledge, restoration ecology and wildlife biology. She has previously served as the Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute at Harvard University, as Director at Large on the Board of the Society for Ecological Restoration and Director of the Traditional Ecological Working Group, as a member of the Board of Trustees of Prescott College, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Sustainable Northwest. She has conducted extensive work as an independent scientist and researcher. Dr. Eisenberg holds a PhD from Oregon State University, a MA from Prescott College, and a BFA from the University of California-Long Beach and was previously courtesy faculty in the department of forest ecosystems and society. Dr. Eisenberg will start in early September.

Dean Tom DeLuca plants a tree in Finland

Roughly every two years, the College of Forestry Dean leads a tour of the College’s senior stakeholders to learn about innovations in thought and practice in the world of sustainable forest management and wood product development. In May of this year, the group visited Sweden and Finland to learn about social license for forestry, and advances through the integration of digitization and artificial intelligence into assessment, harvest and supply chain practices. In Sweden, Skogforsk, the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, and the forest owners’ association Mellanskog hosted the group. In Finland, Dr. Ritva Toivonen, Dean of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki, hosted the group at her family forest/farm, and she and faculty members joined the group in a visit to the Metsä Bioproducts Mill at Äänekoski, the largest wood processing plant in the Northern Hemisphere, to learn about its energy generation and sidestream product development. The tour culminated with informational presentations from Trimble, Ponsse, and Collective Crunch, all companies working to integrate digitization into forestry practice and carbon assessment for greater accuracy and sustainability.

The trip was organized and run by the College of Forestry International Programs office. Thank you to Michele Justice, director of International Programs, for this summary of the trip!

Mill tour in Sweden
Forest management lecture in Sweden
Remote control operation of a forwarder

The Dean’s Dinner is a yearly celebration of our scholarship recipients, donors, and college community. With student recruitment and enrollment in the College of Forestry at an all-time high with over 1000 undergraduates and over 250 graduate students there was a lot to celebrate this year!

Dean Tom Deluca started the formal awards ceremony by recognizing professor emeritus Richard Waring for being the recipient of the 2020 International Marcus Wallenberg Prize for his work in developing a revolutionary computer model to predict forest growth in a changing climate.

Randy Rosenberger, Associate Dean for Student Engagement, acknowledged the work of the student clubs and organizations: Xi Sigma Pi, SAF Student Chapter, Forest Utilization Society, the Forestry Club, the Natural Resources Club, and the International Forestry Students Association. The College of Forestry Ambassadors help us recruit prospective students, represent college academic programs to legislators and key stakeholders, work with alumni groups, and represent the College at many on and off campus events. Randy recognized them for their service to the College, which is in addition to their outstanding academic performances, involvement in extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, jobs, and community connections.

The winner of the Pack Essay Award was ecampus student Duane Ackley, senior in natural resources. His essay was titled “Dying Mens’ Future”. The Photo of the Year award went to Kelly Lynne Burke, a natural resources student, for their picture titled “Patagonia Rainbows.” Each year the College of Forestry is honored and privileged to award graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships to deserving new and returning students.  These awards are made possible through the generous contributions and continued support from our scholarship and fellowship donors. The College of Forestry’s Scholarship Committee reviewed 316 applications, and 215 students were selected to receive scholarships scholarship offers totaling $774,250 for the 2022-2023 academic year.  The students who were able to attend came up in small groups for congratulations with the Dean, pictured below.

At the virtual 2022 Oregon Society of American Foresters (OSAF) Annual Meeting on April 28, 2022, Jacob Putney received the Forester of the Year Award. This award is given annually to the OSAF member who has been recognized by his or her peers for contributing to both the profession and the public through application of his or her professional skills to the advancement of forestry in Oregon and through public service that benefits his community or some larger segment of society. 

“Although Jacob is new to his position in the OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension program, he clearly has already stepped up as a leader and collaborator, helping coordinate programs to best meet the needs of the community,” says Lauren Grand, the forestry and natural resources extension agent for Lane County. “He is the team leader for a carbon publication, has hosted numerous podcasts on forest management, and is one of the lead organizers of Tree School Eastern Oregon and Life on the Dry Side.”

A graduate of Oregon State University, Putney is an active OSAF member, serving as secretary and chapter chair for the Blue Mountain Chapter, delegate-at-large for OSAF in 2021, general chair for the 2021 OSAF Annual Meeting, program chair for the OSAF 2022 meeting and is OSAF chair-elect for 2023. He is also on the SAF National Quiz Bowl Committee member.

Additionally, Putney is an associate member of Oregon Small Woodlands Association, secretary for the Northeast Oregon OSWA Chapter, and has been instrumental in reviving, restructuring, and revitalizing the Baker OSWA Chapter. He is an inspector for the American Tree Farm System and co-chair for the Baker Resources Coalition. He participates in several collaboratives including the Blue Mountain Forest Partners, Northern Blues Forest Collaborative and ‘My Blue Mountains Woodland’ partnership. Not to waste a spare moment, Putney is also a volunteer firefighter for the Baker Rural Fire Protection District.

OSAF and its 15 local chapters represent all segments the forestry profession within the state. The society includes public and private practitioners, researchers, administrators, educators, and forestry students. Its mission is to advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish professional excellence; and to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethics of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society.

Hannah Proffitt has received the Oregon State University (OSU) Outstanding Student Award from the Oregon Society of American Foresters (OSAF). Proffitt accepted the award at the virtual 2022 OSAF Annual Meeting on April 28, 2022.

The OSU Outstanding Student Award is to be presented annually to an Oregon State University forestry student who is a member of the Society of American Foresters; participates regularly in OSU SAF activities, including a leadership role of some kind; represents the OSU SAF Student Chapter at state or national SAF gatherings; and who demonstrates good academic standing, good citizenship, and excellence in extracurricular and professional work activities. 

Proffitt is a graduating senior in the College of Forestry who has been active in the student chapter throughout her academic career. She was part of the team that salvaged the remainder of the Christmas Tree Farm and has led the efforts out there for two years, even through COVID. In addition to being a solid student, Proffitt has worked for the College Forests and stays involved with university functions like the Career Fair.

John Bailey, a professor in the department of forest engineering, resources & management at OSU who nominated Proffitt, shared, “During a recent maintenance work party weekend on the Christmas Tree Farm, I worked with Hannah mowing for a couple of hours along with another student. Her commitment and energy are infectious even in these odd times.”

In recognition of Proffitt’s award, a donation was made in her name to the OSU Student Chapter.

OSAF and its 15 local chapters represent all segments the forestry profession within the state. The society includes public and private practitioners, researchers, administrators, educators, and forestry students. Its mission is to advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish professional excellence; and to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethics of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society.

After a two-year Covid-19 hiatus, OSU relaunched 11 faculty-led programs abroad and 5 were from College of Forestry! One group of 15 students traveled to the Aysén Region of Chile, part of Northern Patagonia.

Associate professor Carlos Gonzales-Benecke and Ph.D. student Claudio Guevara from the department of forest engineering, resources and management, along with assistant professor Daniel Soto of the Universidad de Aysen in Coyhaique, Chile, led the program that explored the diverse forests and dramatic landscapes of the area. Chilean newspaper El Divisadero featured the trip, interviewed the students, and shot a documentary.

Bri Rose participated in the trip and loved learning about the native species of Chile. Her advice? “As a student, there are many scholarships and grants to apply for that will help cover travel expenses. So, my advice is to go. Apply for those trips. Leave the country. Get out of your comfort zone and see the world, you will grow so much as person.”

Next up? Borneo, Italy and New Zealand. The College of Forestry International Programs office offers study and internship programs from the biodiverse rainforests of Borneo to state-of-the-art wood manufacturing facilities in the Austrian Alps, and frequently host interns and exchange students from around the world.

On April 27, 2022, Beavers everywhere came together for Dam Proud Day, a 24-hour online event dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of the Oregon State University community. As part of this event, we raised over $72,000 for College of Forestry scholarships, which help ensure all of our students can afford this world-renowned education.

The amount raised is equivalent to over 23 additional scholarships for College of Forestry students. For many students, scholarships are life-changing, and financial gifts of all sizes can help. For example, $120 in scholarship support is equal to more than 10 hours of work at $12/hour – that’s 10 more hours a student can use to study or to participate in professional organizations, leadership training or other opportunities, making the most of their time at Oregon State.

Thank you to the 81 generous donors who gave anywhere from $5 to $25,000!

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.