Proof Points: College of Forestry

OSU programs improve the vitality and competitiveness of Oregon’s forest sector.

  • The College of Forestry at OSU has been judged the number one forest resources research program in North America and the number one forest ecology program. Much of this success is due to intensive collaboration on long-term projects in many different research cooperatives and with federal agency scientists located on campus.
  • OSU programs in forest science, engineering, resources and wood products help forestry operations in the state of Oregon contribute $13 billion in direct annual economic impact and employ more than 85,000 people in strong economic times.
  • OSU has been educating forest sector leaders for more than 100 years, including Gail Kimball, the first women to become chief of the USDA Forest Service. Newer degree programs in forest operations management and natural resources have been adapted to meet evolving needs.
  • The Oregon Wood Innovation Center, a partnership between OSU’s College of Forestry and Extension Service, has improved the competitiveness of the wood products industry by fostering innovation in products, processes, and business systems. The university has also operated a national Center for Wood Utilization Research since 1985, focusing on science, technology and business practices that will enhance the domestic and global competitiveness of the U.S. wood products industry.

OSU research influences forest and industry practices and policies for enhanced sustainability and a green economy.

  • George Brown’s pioneering research on impacts of forest practices on water quality in the 1960s provided the scientific basis for the nation’s first state law regulating timber harvest, road construction, and stream protection.
  • OSU research by Rakesh Gupta on residential responses to hurricanes, floods and earthquakes is informing changes to building codes that improve public safety and protect property values.
  • OSU-led, multi-agency research at Hinkle Creek, Alsea River and Trask River watershed study sites is refining our understanding of the effects of contemporary forest practices on water quality and fisheries, and can be used in development of regulations for stream protection.
  • Kaichang Li’s pioneering research on toxic-free adhesives has revolutionized the manufacture of interior wood panels and improved air quality inside buildings. And Mike Milota’s research on removing volatile organic compounds from dry kiln emissions saved the forest products industry millions of dollars while ensuring improved air quality.
  • The modern Christmas tree industry evolved when Hal Schudel and Paul Goodmonson of OSU Forestry Extension developed a plan to prune the conifers so they would grow more uniformly and plant them in rows like a crop. Oregon is now the international leader in Christmas tree production.
  • OSU’s Jeff Morrell has developed new fumigants for wood poles and a wide variety of other wood preservative research findings that have saved millions of dollars for utilities and consumers around the nation, allowing wood to last longer and using fewer chemicals in the process while constantly seeking the safest and most environmentally friendly technologies.
  • Steve Strauss at OSU is a national leader in the biotechnology of forest trees, as well as public outreach and communication efforts to help people better understand the science of genetic modification. Among other advances, OSU scientists discovered how to genetically modify the growth in height of trees, in research that could open the door to wide variety of new products for the ornamental and nursery industries.

OSU research enhances our understanding of the many ways forests contribute to quality of life through ecosystem services.

  • Mark Harmon’s long -term studies of carbon storage in forests have been instrumental in guiding new ecosystem management practices, especially for federal and state agencies.
  • Beverly Law’s leadership of the Ameriflux global atmospheric monitoring network is providing key information on how entire forest ecosystems respond to disturbances such as land management and wildfire, and to variation in climate. Her work is recognized internationally for its contributions to knowledge about climate change and carbon cycling.
  • Under leadership by Barbara Bond, the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest is globally recognized for its contributions of fundamental knowledge about ecosystem structure and function, climate dynamics, streamflow, water quality and vegetation succession.
  • William Ripple received the prestigious Chiles award for his innovative work with colleague Robert Beschta to advance the trophic cascades ecosystem theory through the study of wolf-elk interactions in Yellowstone Park. Norm Johnson received the Chiles award for his leadership in the science-policy challenges associated with major federal forest management in the United States.
  • Viviane Simon-Brown is director of the National Network for Sustainable Living Education, an Extension program that develops tools to apply sustainable living concepts to traditional Extension topics such as energy and water conservation in the home, green design residential housing, money management, gardening and landscaping, small woodlot management, environmental education, youth leadership, outdoor recreation and community capacity building.

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