OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of forestry

“Semi-dwarf” trees may enable a green revolution for some forest crops

The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/RVsIAH

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The same “green revolution” concepts that have revolutionized crop agriculture and helped to feed billions of people around the world may now offer similar potential in forestry, scientists say, with benefits for wood, biomass production, drought stress and even greenhouse gas mitigation.

Researchers at Oregon State University recently outlined the latest findings on reduced height growth in trees through genetic modification, and concluded that several advantageous growth traits could be achieved for short-rotation forestry, bioenergy, or more efficient water use in a drier, future climate.

This approach runs contrary to conventional wisdom and centuries of tree breeding, which tried to produce forest trees that grow larger and taller, the researchers note. But just as the green revolution in agriculture helped crops such as wheat and rice produce more food on smaller, sturdier plants, the opportunities in forestry could be significant.

“Research now makes it clear that genetic modification of height growth is achievable,” said Steven Strauss, an OSU professor of forest genetics. “We understand the genes and hormones that control growth not only in crop plants, but also in trees. They are largely the same.”

In a study published in Plant Physiology, researchers inserted a number of genes into poplar trees, a species often used for genetic experiments, and valuable for wood, environmental and energy purposes. They described 29 genetic traits that were affected, including growth rate, biomass production, branching, water-use efficiency, and root structure. All of the changes were from modified gibberellins, plant hormones that influence several aspects of growth and development.

The range and variation in genetic modification can be accurately observed and selected for, based on hormone and gene expression levels, to allow production of trees of almost any height.

For example, for ornamental purposes it would be possible to grow a miniature poplar, or even a Douglas-fir, as a potted plant. 

And because height growth, in competition for sunlight, is a primary mechanism that trees use to compete for survival, there would be reduced concern about use of such genetically modified trees in a natural environment. On a long-term basis they would be unable to compete, shaded by larger trees and ultimately they would die out.

Scientists could also produce trees that might have a larger root mass, which should make them more drought-resistant, increase water use efficiency, increase elimination of soil toxins and better sequester carbon. This could be useful for greenhouse gas mitigation, bioremediation or erosion control. 

Smaller trees could also be selected that have sturdier trunks for some uses in short-rotation plantation forestry, significantly reducing the number of trees blown down by wind. And shorter, thicker and straighter trunks might create higher-value wood products in many tree species, Strauss said.

Some semi-dwarf trees produced by conventional tree breeding techniques are already an important part of the horticulture industry, allowing easier harvesting of fruit and higher yields. Genetic modification could add new characteristics and more scientific precision to the process, researchers said.

“The main limitation is the onerous regulatory structure for genetically-modified plants in the United States,” Strauss said. “Even short, safe and beneficial trees are unlikely to be able to bear the high costs and red tape inherent to obtaining regulatory approval.” 

This research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, and industry members of the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative at OSU.

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Steven Strauss, 541-737-6578

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Shorter trees

Short trees

For young birds, getting stressed out can be a good thing

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Many studies have found that high levels of hormones that are associated with stress are a sign of poor fitness and reduced chance of survival – but recent research on young songbirds found that some elevated hormones can be a good thing, often the difference between life and death.

The new research concluded that elevated levels of glucocorticoid hormones, which are part of the natural response to stress, were related to the movement, feeding, and anti-predator behaviors of juvenile birds.

The findings were made by researchers at Oregon State University with the Swainson’s thrush as an animal model.

There’s only about a one-in-three chance that juveniles of this bird species will survive, the study found, and it appeared to have more to do with their stress hormones than other factors such as vegetative cover or nesting site.

“In these birds, a little stress and elevated stress hormones were associated with greater survival,” said James Rivers, a researcher with the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. “The conventional wisdom is that elevated levels of glucocorticoid hormones are bad for survival, but we found just the opposite.”

“Stress is more complex than we think,” he said.

The hormones associated with stress, which include cortisol in humans, can change the behavior and physiology of animals. If stress is too persistent and the hormone levels remain consistently too high, it appears to impede growth. But especially at vulnerable stages where the task is to keep up with the parents, get enough food to grow, or flee a predator, higher levels of stress hormones appear to improve survival chances.

This was one of the first studies of its type done in small songbirds, researchers said. Some previous research had suggested that increased hormone levels can allocate resources away from normal activities and have long-term health impacts.

The research was published in Functional Ecology, a professional journal. It was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

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James Rivers, 541-737-6581

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Stress in birds

Swainson's thrush

Chronic 2000-04 drought, worst in 800 years, may be the “new normal”

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the “new normal” for most of the coming century.

Such climatic extremes have increased as a result of global warming, a group of 10 researchers reported today in Nature Geoscience. And as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, they may eventually be seen as the good old days.

Climate models and precipitation projections indicate this period will actually be closer to the “wet end” of a drier hydroclimate during the last half of the 21st century, scientists said.

Aside from its impact on forests, crops, rivers and water tables, the drought also cut carbon sequestration by an average of 51 percent in a massive region of the western United States, Canada and Mexico, although some areas were hit much harder than others. As vegetation withered, this released more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with the effect of amplifying global warming.

“Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline,” said Beverly Law, a co-author of the study, professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science at Oregon State University, and former science director of AmeriFlux, an ecosystem observation network.

“During this drought, carbon sequestration from this region was reduced by half,” Law said. “That’s a huge drop. And if global carbon emissions don’t come down, the future will be even worse.”

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, U.S. Department of Energy, and other agencies. The lead author was Christopher Schwalm at Northern Arizona University. Other collaborators were from the University of Colorado, University of California at Berkeley, University of British Columbia, San Diego State University, and other institutions.

It’s not clear whether or not the current drought in the Midwest, now being called one of the worst since the Dust Bowl, is related to these same forces, Law said. This study did not address that, and there are some climate mechanisms in western North America that affect that region more than other parts of the country.

But in the West, this multi-year drought was unlike anything seen in many centuries, based on tree ring data. The last two periods with drought events of similar severity were in the Middle Ages, from 977-981 and 1146-1151. The 2000-04 drought affected precipitation, soil moisture, river levels, crops, forests and grasslands.

Ordinarily, Law said, the land sink in North America is able to sequester the equivalent of about 30 percent of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere by the use of fossil fuels in the same region. However, based on projected changes in precipitation and drought severity, scientists said that this carbon sink, at least in western North America, could disappear by the end of the century.

“Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier,” Law said. “We expect more extremes. And it’s these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grassland.”

During the 2000-04 drought, runoff in the upper Colorado River basin was cut in half. Crop productivity in much of the West fell 5 percent. The productivity of forests and grasslands declined, along with snowpacks. Evapotranspiration decreased the most in evergreen needleleaf forests, about 33 percent.

The effects are driven by human-caused increases in temperature, with associated lower soil moisture and decreased runoff in all major water basins of the western U.S., researchers said in the study.

Although regional precipitations patterns are difficult to forecast, researchers in this report said that climate models are underestimating the extent and severity of drought, compared to actual observations. They say the situation will continue to worsen, and that 80 of the 95 years from 2006 to 2100 will have precipitation levels as low as, or lower than, this “turn of the century” drought from 2000-04.

“Towards the latter half of the 21st century the precipitation regime associated with the turn of the century drought will represent an outlier of extreme wetness,” the scientists wrote in this study.

These long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century “megadrought,” they said.

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Beverly Law, 541-737-6111

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Pinyon pine death

Dying forests

Active forest management to reduce fire could aid northern spotted owl

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The northern spotted owl, a threatened species in the Pacific Northwest, would actually benefit in the long run from active management of the forest lands that form its primary habitat and are increasingly vulnerable to stand-replacing fire, researchers conclude in a recent study.

Whatever short-term drawbacks there may be from logging, thinning, or other fuel reduction activities in areas with high fire risk would be more than offset by improved forest health and fire-resistance characteristics, the scientists said, which allow more spotted owl habitat to survive in later decades.

Decades of fire suppression and a “hands-off” approach to management on many public lands have created overcrowded forests that bear little resemblance to their historic condition – at the expense of some species such as the northern spotted owl, researchers said.

The findings were published in Forest Ecology and Management, a professional journal, by researchers from Oregon State University and Michigan State University.

“For many years now, for species protection as well as other reasons, we’ve avoided almost all management on many public forest lands,” said John Bailey, an associate professor in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management at Oregon State University.

“The problem is that fire doesn’t respect the boundaries we create for wildlife protection,” Bailey said. “Given the current condition of Pacific Northwest forests, the single biggest threat facing spotted owls and other species is probably stand-replacement wildfire.”

In the recent project, scientists used computer models to compare what would happen to vulnerable forest lands if they were managed, or simply left alone. They found that over a long-term period of about the next 75 years, active management of sites with high fire hazard would be more favorable for spotted owl conservation.

A “risk averse” strategy in fire-prone landscapes is not the best long-term alternative to conserve protected species, they said.

As years go by, forest conditions will continue to get even more crowded, insect and disease epidemics will increase, and forests will face stress from a warmer and often drier climate. Fire levels will increase and the problem will only get worse, Bailey said.

“Without active management to reduce risks, we never really put fire out, we just delay it,” he said. “We can keep kicking the can down the road, but sooner or later a stand-replacing fire will come that we can’t put out. Then the fires are enormous.”

Historically, Pacific Northwest forests, in both the wetter conditions west of the Cascade Range and especially the drier forests east of the mountains, were subject to higher frequency of fire, fewer trees with less overall biomass, and healthier forest conditions at a lower tree density than today. Many fires did not climb into the tree canopies and kill the tree, and even stand-replacement fires were more limited in size and scope.

A return to such conditions would significantly change the shape of modern forests, in the process producing more forest products and perhaps nurture a biofuels industry. But it would also result in less overall biomass and less sequestration of carbon, a factor in global warming concerns. The result, however, would be forests that more closely resembled their historic status and protected a wider range of species, including the northern spotted owl, Bailey said.

This analysis focused on fire-prone areas, the researchers said, and they also noted that a broad commitment to such an approach would be needed. Models suggested that more than 20 percent of a fire-prone landscape would need to be treated to begin altering fire behavior and reduce loss of spotted owl habitat.

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John Bailey, 541-737-1497

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Surviving trees

Trees survive fire

OSU names Thomas Maness dean of College of Forestry

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Thomas Maness, a forest economist who specializes in developing innovative forest policies and practices to balance traditional production with ecosystem services, has been named dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

Maness has been a professor and head of the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management at OSU since 2009. He succeeds Hal Salwasser, who earlier this year announced his decision to step down as dean. Maness will begin his new duties as dean on Aug. 1.

As the Cheryl Ramberg and Allyn C. Ford Dean of Forestry – and director of the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory – Maness will assume leadership of one of the world’s leading forestry programs. With nearly a thousand undergraduate and graduate students, an annual budget of some $25 million, and a robust research program, the OSU College of Forestry is a vital resource for managers of forests in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

“Dr. Maness is passionate about the College of Forestry and he has extensive industry and academic experience,” said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. “He is a broad thinker and understands sustainable, long-term management of forests and the resulting implications for forestry education, research and outreach.

“His vision and experience will help us further advance the college and its contributions to the university’s signature area of advancing the science of sustainable earth ecosystems,” Randhawa added.

Maness has worked for Weyerhaeuser Company as a forest engineer in the Klamath Falls region, where he developed strategic forest planning models and manufacturing optimization systems for West Coast sawmills. He returned to school and earned his Ph.D. in forest economics from the University of Washington in 1989, and joined the faculty of the University of British Columbia. Maness earned a B.S. in forest management from Western Virginia University and an M.S. in forest operations from Virginia Tech.

In 1994, Maness founded the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Advanced Wood Processing, and directed the program for five years, then led a $25 million fund-raising campaign for the center. In 2002, the new undergraduate program he helped develop there won the Yves Landry Foundation Award for most innovative Canadian university-level manufacturing technology program.

Maness founded the BC Forum on Forest Economics and Policy in 2004 – a research and outreach center to engage stakeholders in building a strategic vision for the future of British Columbia’s forest sector. During a 2008 sabbatical, he worked as a senior policy analyst with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on climate mitigation and wood energy policy.

In addition to his expertise on Northwest forests, Maness has worked extensively in South America.

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Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111

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Maness
Thomas Maness

Dying trees in Southwest set stage for erosion, water loss in Colorado River

CORVALLIS, Ore. – New research concludes that a one-two punch of drought and mountain pine beetle attacks are the primary forces that have killed more than 2.5 million acres of pinyon pine and juniper trees in the American Southwest during the past 15 years, setting the stage for further ecological disruption.

The widespread dieback of these tree species is a special concern, scientists say, because they are some of the last trees that can hold together a fragile ecosystem, nourish other plant and animal species, and prevent serious soil erosion.

The major form of soil erosion in this region is wind erosion. Dust blowing from eroded hills can cover snowpacks, cause them to absorb heat from the sun and melt more quickly, and further reduce critically-short water supplies in the Colorado River basin.

The findings were published in the journal Ecohydrology by scientists from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and the Conservation Biology Institute in Oregon. NASA supported the work.

“Pinyon pine and juniper are naturally drought-resistant, so when these tree species die from lack of water, it means something pretty serious is happening,” said Wendy Peterman, an OSU doctoral student and soil scientist with the Conservation Biology Institute. “They are the last bastion, the last trees standing and in some cases the only thing still holding soils in place.”

“These areas could ultimately turn from forests to grasslands, and in the meantime people are getting pretty desperate about these soil erosion issues,” she said. “And anything that further reduces flows in the Colorado River is also a significant concern.”

It’s not certain whether or not the recent tree die-offs are related to global warming, Peterman said. However, the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that while most of the United States was getting warmer and wetter, the Southwest will get warmer and drier. Major droughts have in fact occurred there, and the loss of pinyon pine and juniper trees would be consistent with the climate change projections, Peterman said.

Pinyon pine and juniper are the dominant trees species in much of the Southwest, routinely able to withstand a year or two of drought, and able to grow in many mountainous areas at moderate elevation. The trees are common in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, and may have expanded their range in the past century during conditions that were somewhat wetter than normal.

In some places up to 90 percent of these trees have now died, many of them during a major drought in 2003 and 2004. The new research concluded that most of the mortality occurred in shallow soils having less than four inches of available water in about the top five feet of the soil column.

Most of the tree mortality, the scientists said, was caused by trees being sufficiently weakened by drought that opportunistic bark beetle epidemics were able to kill the pinyon pine, and the vascular system of the juniper ceased to function.

Traditionally, pinyon pine and juniper were not considered trees of significant value. They were occasionally used for firewood, but otherwise small and not particularly impressive.

They perform key ecosystem functions, however, not the least of which is stabilizing soils and preventing erosion. They also provide some food in the form of pine nuts and juniper berries, and store carbon in their biomass, and in the soils beneath their canopies.

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Wendy Peterman, 541-757-0687

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Pinyon pine death

Pinyon pine decline

Some butterfly species particularly vulnerable to climate change

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A recent study of the impact of climate change on butterflies suggests that some species might adapt much better than others, with implications for the pollination and herbivory associated with these and other insect species.

The research, published in Ecological Entomology, examined changes in the life cycles of butterflies at different elevations of a mountain range in central Spain. They served as a model for some of the changes expected to come with warming temperatures, particularly in mountain landscapes.

The researchers found that butterfly species which already tend to emerge later in the year or fly higher in the mountains have evolved to deal with a shorter window of opportunity to reproduce, and as a result may fare worse in a warming climate, compared to those that emerge over a longer time period.

“Insects and plants are at the base of the food pyramid and are extremely important, but they often get less attention when we are studying the ecological impacts of climate change,” said Javier G. Illan, with the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University.

“We’re already expecting localized extinctions of about one third of butterfly species, so we need to understand how climate change will affect those that survive,” he said. “This research makes it clear that some will do a lot better than others.”

Butterflies may be particularly sensitive to a changing climate, Illan said, and make a good model to study the broader range of ecological effects linked to insects. Their flight dates are a relevant indicator of future responses to climate change.

The research was done by Illan’s group in the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid. It examined 32 butterfly species for five years at various elevations in a Mediterranean mountain range, and the delays in flight dates that occurred as a result of elevation change.

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Southern Gatekeeper

Southern Gatekeeper

College of Forestry confers alumni awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The OSU College of Forestry has named three alumni as Outstanding Alumni for 2012, a recognition of their professional accomplishments and inspirational leadership.

Recognized were John Murphy, Jr., of Medford; Dennis Dykstra, of Portland; and Andrea Thorpe, of Corvallis.

Murphy, a 2003 forestry graduate with a bachelor’s degree in wood technology and minor in business administration, is considered an early career award winner. After graduation he joined Murphy Veneer to learn production from the arrival of logs at the mill, and now oversees Murphy Companies’ southern region.

Dykstra earned his bachelor’s degree in forest engineering in 1966, and later returned as an instructor in the college and earned a doctorate in industrial engineering. He went on to teach at three other universities, including one in Tanzania. In his career in global forestry and global forest conservation, Dykstra served as director of the World Forestry Center in Portland, director for the International Center for Forestry Research, and forestry officer for the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. He was also a member and leader in the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Thorpe graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources in 1998, then earned her doctorate from the University of Montana in 2006. She has worked for the Coast Range Association, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and is currently the conservation research program director at the Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis. Her research focuses on the restoration and conservation of native species and habitats.

The 2012 Outstanding Alumni will be recognized at the College of Forestry Spring Awards Ceremony on May 31, 2012 at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center Ballroom on the OSU Campus.

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Dennis Dykstra
Dennis Dykstra


John Murphy, Jr.
John Murphy, Jr.

Andrea Thorpe

Andrea Thorpe

Students receive forestry scholarships

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Scholarships totaling $516,500 have been awarded to Oregon State University undergraduate students in the College of Forestry. The scholarships are made possible by gifts to the college.

Recipients of scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year include:

Albany             ShyAnne Woods, a junior in natural resources, received a $3000 DeMuth Forestry Scholarship and a $3000 Gordon & Priscilla Duncan Scholarship

Alsea               Brandon Hendrix, a post-baccalaureate student in forest management, received a $7000 Oregon Forest Industries Council Scholarship

Aumsville        Jarrid Raney, a junior in renewable materials, received a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Bend               Lucas Glick, a senior in forest management, received a $2600 Vance & Dorothy Shugart Scholarship, a $1400 T.J. and Margaret O. Starker Memorial Scholarship, and a $1000 Wakefield Family Scholarship; Kelly Regan, a sophomore in natural resources, received a $4000 Forestry Legacy Scholarship; Kimberly Wesseler, a senior in natural resources, received a $7000 Gordon & Priscilla Duncan Scholarship; Margie Wilson, a junior in natural resources, received a $4000 Gordon and Priscilla Duncan Scholarship

Bonanza          Rebecca Armstrong, a renewable materials freshman, received a $2000 Robert Aufderheide Scholarship and a $2000 Campbell Group Scholarship

Brownsville     Alyssa Weger, a junior in recreation resource management, received a $7000 Glenn and Josephine Thompson Scholarship and a $1500 Schutz Family Education “Forestry Ambassador” Scholarship

Buxton              Jacob Hilger, a senior in forest management, received a $7000 Larry Hoffman Scholarship in Wildland and Ecosystem Health

Canby              Katherine Nichols, a junior in forest engineering, received a $4500 Charles Lord Scholarship, a $1500 Alkire Scantlebury Scholarship, and a $1000 Bart Thielges Memorial Scholarship

Central Point  Brandon White, a junior in renewable materials, received a $1250 Lois and Dick Kearns Scholarship, a $3000 Billie J. Larson Scholarship, and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Coos Bay        Bryan Feger, a senior in forest engineering, received a $4000 C. Wylie Smith Scholarship and a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship; Tasha Livingstone, a senior in forest management, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1500 Forestry Legacy Scholarship

Corbett           Nicholas Bechtoldt, a senior in renewable materials, received a $4000 Oregon Forest Industries Council Scholarship and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Corvallis         Thomas Bain, a sophomore in renewable materials, received a $3000 Richardson Scholarship; James Boulger, a freshman in renewable materials, received a $6500 Willamette Industries Legacy Scholarship and a $1000 Francis Jepson Memorial Scholarship; Thor Dodson, a freshman in renewable materials, received a $1100 N. Stewart Rogers Scholarship, a $2600 Vance & Dorothy Shugart Scholarship, and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship; Suzanne Katz, a sophomore in forest management, received a $2600 Vance & Dorothy Shugart Scholarship, a $1000 Pastega Family Scholarship, and a $1400 Catharine Cox Merriam Memorial Scholarship; Bruce Moffatt, a senior in natural resources, received a $5000 George Brown Scholarship; Jessica Priest, a senior in natural resources, received a $1300 George M. Cornwall Scholarship, a $1400 Helen and Charles Fulton Memorial Scholarship, and a $2300 G. Robert Leavengood Scholarship; Jake Thompson, a senior in forest operations management, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 Rob Johnson Memorial Scholarship; Jeffrey Traver, a sophomore in renewable materials, received a $5000 Oregon Forest Industries Council Scholarship and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Cottage Grove                        Heath Webb, a junior in forest management, received a $6000 Albert Powers, Sr. Scholarship

Dallas              Mychal Westendorf, a freshman in Forest Engineering, received a $4000 Oregon Forest Industries Council Scholarship

Dayton             Eric Nygren, a freshman in forest engineering, received a $2300 Eula M. Ten Eyck Scholarship and a $2700 Dan Graham Scholarship

Drain               William Hollamon, a junior in wood science and technology, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship, a $1000 B.D. Mitchell and H.R. Blacketor Scholarship, and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Dundee           Garrett Duyck, a senior in natural resources, received a $2100 Rex Brown Memorial Scholarship, and a $5900 DeMuth Forestry Scholarship

Eugene            Jasmine Adams, a freshman in renewable materials, received a $2600 Portland Hoo Hoo Club Scholarship and a $1400 Campbell Group Scholarship; Steven Huff, a junior in forest management, received a $4000 Francis Jepson Memorial Scholarship and a $2000 Robert E. and Hedy M. Snow Scholarship

Forest Grove  Alex Van Loo, a junior in forest engineering, received a $5000 Oregon Forest Industries Council Scholarship

Glide               Sara Smaha, a senior in Natural Resources, received a $4000 Gordon and Priscilla Duncan Scholarship

Harrisburg      Benjamin Sundberg, a senior in wood science and technology, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship, a $1000 Joseph Strehle Scholarship, and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Hillsboro         Shane Prohaska, a junior in forest engineering, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 John W. Warjone Scholarship

Jefferson         Kayla Naas, a freshman in renewable materials, received a $4200 Harold “Bud” Freres Scholarship and a $1500 Richardson Scholarship

Keizer             Allen Stevens, sophomore in forest engineering, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship

Medford          Jared White, a freshman in renewable materials, received a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Myrtle Point   Karl Smith, a sophomore in forest engineering, received a $4000 Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation Scholarship

Newport          Andrew Bartoldus, a senior in forest engineering, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 Burton E. and Mary Jane Jeppesen Oregon Small Woodlands Scholarship

Oakland          Chet Miller, a senior in forest engineering, received a $4000 C. Wylie Smith Scholarship and a $4000 Glenn and Josephine Thompson Scholarship

Philomath        Derek Gourley, a junior in forest management, received a $6000 Helen and Charles Fulton Memorial Scholarship

Portland          Max Blasdel, a sophomore in natural resources, received a $4000 Forestry Legacy Scholarship and a $1000 Forestry Natural Resources Program Scholarship; Jessica Kessinger, a freshman in forest engineering, received a $4000 Oregon Small Woodlands Scholarship; Sara Lynch, a senior in recreation resource management, received a $7600 Autzen Foundation Scholarship; Matthew McKenzie, a sophomore in Forest Management, received a $1000 Jay B. Hann, Jr. Scholarship and a $5000 Francis R. McCabe Memorial Scholarship; Camille Moyers, a junior in renewable materials, received a $6000 Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation Scholarship and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship; Jeremy Porter, a senior in forest management, received a $2400 Robert F. Keniston Memorial Scholarship, a $1500 Schutz Family Education “Forestry Ambassador” Scholarship, and a $2000 Durward “Ben” F. Slater Memorial Scholarship

Roseburg        Kirsten Fox, a freshman in pre-forest/civil engineering, received a $6000 Joe M. Crahane Scholarship; Tiffany Netz, a sophomore in forest engineering, received a $500 James Girard Scholarship, a $2500 Wendell Oliver Walker Scholarship, and a $2500 Gordon G. Carlson Scholarship

Salem              Travis Emerling, sophomore in forest operations management, received a $5000 John R. Snellstrom Scholarship; Christofer Farm, a junior in forest engineering, received a $1500 Eula M. Ten Eyck Scholarship and a  $2500 Harold  Scritsmier Scholarship; Marie Petrie, a senior in forest management, received a $7000 Forestry Legacy Scholarship; Jordan Vesper, a freshman in forest engineering received a $1700 Robert and Edward Peterson Scholarship and a $2300 Glenn and Josephine Thompson Scholarship; Katelin Williamson, a senior in forest management, received an $1100 Catharine Cox Merriam Memorial Scholarship, a $2500 John & Elizabeth Morrison Scholarship, and a $400 Louis & Alice Blaser Humboldt Area Foundation Scholarship

Scappoose       Anna Grabhorn, a junior in forest management, received a $2300 Janet K. Ayer Sachet Memorial Scholarship and a $2600 Vance & Dorothy Shugart Scholarship

Seneca             Brady Long, a senior in renewable materials, received a $1250 Lois & Dick Kearns Scholarship, a $2700 B.D. Mitchell and H.R. Blacketor Scholarship, and a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Springfield       Elijah Allensworth, a senior in forest management, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 Floyd Hart Memorial Scholarship; Landon Fisher, a freshman in forest engineering, received a $2000 Margaret Starker Memorial Scholarship and a $2000 Eula M. Ten Eyck Memorial Scholarship; Caleb Gee, a freshman in renewable materials, received a $1500 Richardson Scholarship; Garrett Yarbrough, a senior in forest management, received a $2500 John and Elizabeth Morrison Scholarship and a $2600 Vance and Dorothy Shugart Scholarship; Joel Zeni, a senior in forest engineering, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 T.J. and Margaret O. Starker Memorial Scholarship

Sutherlin         Dallas Reid, a senior in renewable materials, received a $3000 Richardson Scholarship

Union              Matthew Smith, a senior in forest engineering, received a $4000 Eula M. Ten Eyck Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 Michael V. and Barbara “Kay” Brown Scholarship

Vida                 Mattias Cronholm, a freshman in forest engineering, received a $2700 Kurt Jon Peterson Scholarship and a $3300 Robert E. and Hedy M. Snow Scholarship

Waldport         Christiana Kittel, a sophomore in forest operations management, received a $2700 Wendell Oliver Walker Scholarship and a $5000 Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation Scholarship

Wallowa           Brandon Mahon, a senior in forest engineering, received a $1500 Sam Konnie Family Scholarship and a $4500 Eula M. Ten Eyck Memorial Scholarship

Warrenton       Erik Neilson, a junior in forest engineering, received a $3500 Robert E. and Hedy M. Snow Scholarship

West Linn       Thomas Lord, a senior in forest engineering, received a $7000 Dorothy D. Hoener Memorial Scholarship and a $1000 Forestry Alumni Scholarship

Westfir              Sally Murray, a senior in natural resources, received a $2750 Clarence Richen Memorial Scholarship

Wilsonville      Alexandra Pederson, a senior in natural resources, received a $1500 Schutz Family education “Forestry Ambassadors” Scholarship and a $7000 Forestry Legacy Scholarship

Analysis raises atmospheric, economic doubts about forest bioenergy

The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/HySkxu

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A large, global move to produce more energy from forest biomass may be possible and already is beginning in some places, but scientists say in a new analysis that such large-scale bioenergy production from forest biomass is unsustainable and will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Early suggestions that such a forest biofuel industry would be greenhouse “neutral” or even reduce greenhouse emissions “are based on erroneous assumptions,” a group of international researchers said in an invited analysis in Global Change Biology/Bioenergy, a professional journal.

A major increase in this industry, they concluded, would also result in shorter tree rotations, younger forests, depleted soil nutrients, increased risk of erosion, loss of forest biodiversity and function, higher costs for bioenergy than are now being anticipated, and increased use of fertilizers – also a source of greenhouse emissions.

“The main objective of bioenergy production from forest harvest is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the strategy is likely to miss the mark,” said Beverly Law, a professor of forest science at Oregon State University and one of the co-authors.

This report was led by the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany, OSU, and other universities in Switzerland, Austria and France. The work was supported by several agencies in Europe and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The article raises important issues for bioenergy policies,” said co-author Helmut Haberl, who is also an author of the climate mitigation chapter of the fifth assessment that is under way by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This analysis was based on a theoretical, significant increase in energy from forest biomass, as has been proposed by some researchers, to 20 percent or more of current global primary energy supply. For instance, about 20 percent of all European Union energy consumption is supposed to come from renewable sources by 2020, with bioenergy as a focal point.

Advocates of such approaches, which would use forest biomass either for direct combustion or by conversion to biofuels, say that this could significantly decrease global dependence on fossil fuels without competing with food production, and in many cases create local jobs.

A major initiative is now under way in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. to study just such possibilities and produce some of the aviation fuel of the future, in the process creating jobs and helping to thin regional forests. However, it is much less ambitious than the scenarios studied in the new analysis.

In this report, and based on large-scale use of biofuels as proposed in some policies, the scientists outlined a number of concerns. They include:

  • The general assumption that bioenergy is carbon-neutral is not valid.
  • The reduction of biomass and lost carbon sequestration by forests could take decades to centuries to be “paid back” by fossil fuel substitution, if paid back at all.
  • There are significant concerns about the economic viability of biofuels, which may require government mandates or subsidies.
  • A higher demand for biomass from forests will increase prices for the biomass, as in Germany where they have already increased in price 300-600 percent from 2005 to 2010.
  • An emphasis on bioenergy production from forests could lead to shorter rotation lengths, questionable management practices and increased dependence on wood imports.
  • Negative impacts on vegetation, soil fertility, water and ecosystem diversity are all possible.
  • Fertilizer use, another important source of greenhouse gas emissions, could increase.
  • The use of fossil fuels in the Industrial Revolution allowed previously degraded forests to recover in much of Europe and the U.S., while industrial-scale use of forests for biomass would likely reverse this trend.

If biofuels are desired, the researchers said, a better alternative would be to produce them on lands that once were forested but now are not, although that runs the risk of competing with food and animal forage production.

“Society should fully quantify direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy alternatives, and associated consequences, prior to making policy commitments that have long-term effects on global forests,” the authors wrote in their conclusion.

“There is substantial risk of sacrificing forest integrity and sustainability with no guarantee to mitigate climate change,” they said.

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