Institute of Forest Resources Announces Funding for Six Research Projects

This spring, the Institute of Forest Resources (IFR) awarded funding to six new research projects in Washington, ranging from the feasibility of a wolf economy, to restoring fire-prone forest ecosystems.

Wolf StudyLed by Dean Emeritus Bruce Bare of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), IFR’s mission is to explore research covering forestry and other emerging issues related to forest and environmental sciences. The institute’s primary scope involves issues affecting Washington State’s rural and urban forest ecosystems, and how to sustain the multiple products and services derived from these resources.

Housed within SEFS, and borrowing from the wealth of internal expertise and connections at affiliated institutions, IFR promotes a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective. None of its research is carried out in isolation or on strictly theoretical grounds. These projects rely on the natural laboratory of people interacting with their physical environment—wildlife and agriculture, climate change and forest management, forest policy and economic markets, watersheds and water quality. The goal is to deliver practical solutions and policies that promote a sustainable balance between ecological and economic interests.

Funding has been finalized for four of the six proposals, and is pending final approval from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for the remaining two. The six projects for 2013-14 include:

1. “Defining Desired Future Conditions for Restoration of Fire-Prone Forest Ecosystems: Lessons from the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.” (Charles B. Halpern, Lauren S. Urgenson, Clare M. Ryan, Ernesto Alvarado and Jonathan D. Bakker).
Restoration of frequent- and mixed-fire regime forest ecosystems is a pressing natural resource issue in Washington State, as in much of the West. In 2009, the U.S. Forest Service established the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) to facilitate forest restoration at a landscape scale. The program engages stakeholders from diverse groups—with differing goals and perspectives—in the design and implementation of large-scale forest restoration projects. This project has two overarching goals: first, to understand how CFLRP collaboratives in the inland Northwest (and beyond) achieve consensus in defining desired future conditions; and second, to distill this understanding as a set of “best practices” that can assist forest managers and collaborative-group members in this process.

Trade Policy2. “Assessing the Impact of Trade Policies on the Competitiveness of Wood Exports from Washington State.” (Ivan Eastin and Indroneil Ganguly).
Recently, a large number of new laws, regulations, policies and programs have been adopted around the Pacific Rim that could significantly affect the specification, use and trade of wood products from Washington State. This study will implement a program of research and extension activities designed to assist small and medium-sized wood products companies and Native American tribal enterprises to understand and adapt to these changing market conditions.

3. “Finding Common Ground Toward the Resolution of a Forest Management Dispute.” (Stanley T. Asah and E. David Ford).
Management of the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF) is important to a range of interested parties. This project will implement a research program to better understand and inform the resolution of the dispute about how the OESF is currently managed, and to outline key areas of consensus and disagreement about how the forest should be managed in the future. In light of the Olympic Natural Resources Center’s role as a neutral forum for addressing management challenges, the aim of this study is to facilitate the management of the OESF in ways that are not only ecologically sound but are also culturally, politically and socio‐economically acceptable across the key stakeholder groups.

Biofuels4. “Climate Change and Washington State Biofuels Industry: Impacts and Critical Technical Innovations.” (Renata Bura, Richard Gustafson, Susan Bolton, Josh Lawler and Luke Rogers.)
Hardwood plantations are being established in the Pacific Northwest to provide feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. However, water demand and water availability for the production of biofuels may be substantial, and water issues need to be investigated further before a commercial system is built out and formalized. The study will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop new technologies, and perform impact assessments for attaining sustainable biofuel production.

5. “Feasibility of a Wolf Economy for Washington.” (John Marzluff, Stanley Asah and Aaron Wirsing).
This project will engage stakeholders in the recovery of wolf numbers in Washington State to determine the feasibility, both social and economic, of developing a market that values a sustainable wolf population. Researchers will build on existing examples and citizen input to test two major components of a viable wolf economy: protecting rancher investments, and developing new markets that reward and compensate ranchers who coexist with wolves.

6. “Assessing the Status of Washington’s Hardwood Resource.” (B. Bruce Bare, John Perez-Garcia and Luke Rogers).
This study aims to calculate how much hardwood growing stock currently exists in Washington State; the age (or size) class structure and location of the inventory; the ownerships currently managing the growing stock; and the volume under riparian management regulations.

***
During a two-year period, total funding for the six projects is roughly $1.5 million, including federal funds provided by the McIntire-Stennis cooperative research program, and matching funds provided by project collaborators.

As these projects take shape, IFR will work to communicate research findings to the public through meetings, workshops, websites and social media—and in clear, accessible language that resonates widely. So stay tuned!

For more information about IFR and its research, contact Bruce Bare.

Photos © Institute of Forest Resources.

Wildlife Science Seminar: Spring Schedule Announced!

Wildlife SeminarThe Wildlife Science Seminar series for the 2013 Spring Quarter kicks off this coming Monday, April 1, with Professor Julian Olden from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) with his talk, “Invasive Species: Envisioning Alternative Global Futures in the New Pangaea.”

Hosted by Professor Christian Grue—an adjunct with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and an associate professor with SAFS—the seminars are held on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. in Kane Hall 130. (Undergraduate students may register for credit under ESRM 455, and graduate students under ESRM 554.)

The public is welcome and encouraged to come!

Check out the rest of the schedule below:

April 8
Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures
Virginia Morell, author and contributing correspondent, Science Magazine

April 15
Reptiles: Up Close and Personal
Issac Petersen, “Son of Reptile Man,” The Reptile Zoo, Monroe, Wash.

April 22
The Complexities and Challenges of Managing Washington’s Fish and Wildlife
Brad Smith, commissioner, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Dean Emeritus, Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University

April 29
Measuring Ecological Integrity on Rangelands: Why and How?
Linda Hardesty, School of the Environment, Washington State University

May 6
Exposure of Northwest Amphibians to Aquatic Herbicides
Amy Yahnke, School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, UW

May 13
Ducks Unlimited in the Pacific Northwest
Mark Petrie, manager of conservation planning, Ducks Unlimited, NW Region

May 20
An Endangered Songbird in Central Texas: The Population Dynamics of the Black-capped Vireo (Vireo atricapilla)
Lauren Seckel, Wildlife Science Group, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW

May 27
Memorial Day

June 3
Using Non-invasive Techniques to Examine Patterns of Black Bear Abundance in the North Cascades Ecosystem
Kristin Richardson, Wildlife Science Group, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, UW

SEFS Students Descend on Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Clear blue skies greeted the research crew on a morning snowshoe hike to a wolf kill site in the Lamar Valley.

Before the crack of dawn this past Saturday morning, March 23, a caravan set off on the long, long drive to Gardiner, Mont., at the edge of Yellowstone National Park. On board were 15 students and three faculty members from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), all heading out to spend roughly a week of field study in the northern Rockies as part of a spring course, “ESRM 459: Wildlife Conservation in Northwest Ecosystems.”

Led by SEFS Professors John Marzluff, Monika Moskal and Aaron Wirsing, the group will be using the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park, between Gardiner and Cooke City, as a staging area to explore patterns of corvid, and especially raven, distribution; elk anti-predator behavior (vigilance); and wolf predation. The class also addresses regional management issues, including wolves and bison leaving the park.

It’s a glorious time to be trekking through the Yellowstone backcountry. The group has special access to remote research areas, tourists are few and far between, scores of bison are out hoofing through the snow, and students occasionally catch glimpses of wolves, grizzlies and other wilderness gems.

Yellowstone

Professor John Marzluff helps orient students during their first full day in the park.

Of course, it’s a working research visit, and students spend long days trudging through the park—often at the mercy of the elements, which at this time of year can be ornery, if not downright savage. Then, after they return to campus on March 30, they begin working on group projects based on data collected. They will present their findings to the public at the end of spring quarter.

But even in the worst weather conditions, when even your expedition thermals can feel threadbare and drafty, how could you say no to this kind of hands-on experience in the wilds of Yellowstone?

Photos of Yellowstone trip © Monika Moskal/SEFS.

ONRC Hosts Community Program on Tsunami Debris

Dock Removal

This dock, set adrift from Misawa, Japan, by the tsunami in March 2011, beached on a remote shore of the Olympic Peninsula this past December.

On Tuesday evening, March 19, the Olympic Natural Resources Center (ONRC) invited members of the Forks, Wash., community to a program about the marine debris washing up on nearby coastal beaches.

Some of the debris is a result of the devastating tsunami in Japan two years ago in March 2011, and speakers at the event addressed various angles of the disaster and its ongoing effects. Nir Barnea, regional lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, provided an overview of the tsunami’s physical impacts and efforts to track and respond to tsunami debris as it is dispersed across the Pacific Ocean. Coastal biologist Steve Fradkin from Olympic National Park, along with resource protection specialist Liam Antrim from NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, then shared updates on the removal of a large dock that beached last December on a remote shore within the boundaries of both Olympic National Park and the sanctuary.

The dock—which measured 65’x20’x7.5’ and was kept afloat by 200 cubic yards of a Styrofoam-like material in its concrete holds—is currently being sawed up into manageable sections and removed by helicopter. It was one of three docks set adrift from Misawa, Japan, says Rainey McKenna, a public information officer with Olympic National Park.

Dock Removal

Crews work to saw the dock into smaller sections, which are then removed from the beach by helicopter.

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is overseeing the removal project, and they are collaborating closely with Olympic National Park. A subcontractor, Undersea Company of Port Townsend, is handling the actual dismantling and removal of the dock.

Among those who attended the hour-long program were about 35 members of the Port Angeles and Forks communities, including Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon. In addition to learning more about the tsunami debris and removal efforts, attendees also got a chance to connect with the local work and research at ONRC.

Located on the Olympic Peninsula in Forks, ONRC is a research center with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. The facility provides scientific information to address critical issues and solve problems concerning forestry and marine sciences in the region. It serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary and collaborative work, bringing together expertise from forest resources and ocean and fishery sciences. By integrating research with education and outreach, it unites researchers, students, professionals and the public.

If you’d like to learn more about ONRC or the tsunamis debris event, please contact Ellen Matheny at 360.374.4556, or visit the ONRC site.

Photos of dock removal © John Gussman/National Park Service.

Grad Student Spotlight: John Simeone

Two summers ago in 2011, John Simeone was working on the summer crew at Pack Forest with Professor Greg Ettl. He was a first-year graduate student with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), and he spent his daylight hours working on long-term site surveys, trail maintenance and other research projects. Simeone loved it.

“Pack Forest is a beautiful plot of land,” he says, and just about every weekend he’d hop over to Mount Rainier National Park to hike and camp.

That summer also fed another of Simeone’s outdoor passions: photography. He had picked up the hobby pretty seriously in high school, and he eventually even had his own black-and-white dark room. So with endless days deep in the woods, and faced with spectacular forest and mountain settings on all sides, he took scores of photos on his Nikon D60.

© John Simeone

John Simeone’s winning photo entry from Pack Forest, “Stand of Red Alders (Alnus rubra).”

Months later, while researching the new European Union Timber Regulation, Simeone stumbled across a photo contest with the European Forest Institute (EFI). For all of his years snapping pictures, Simeone had never submitted one of his images to a competition. But this time he decided to send one of his shots from Pack Forest. “It was a fluke, totally a whim,” he says.

EFI planned to select one photo to showcase for each month of 2013 as part of their 20th anniversary celebration. And last month, for February, they rewarded Simeone’s whim—and made his month—by featuring his entry: “Stand of Red Alders (Alnus rubra)!”

Photography, of course, is only a side pursuit for Simeone at the University of Washington. He grew up outside of New York City and attended Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and in 2010 he ventured to Seattle to begin working on a Master’s Degree at the Jackson School of International Studies (Russian Studies). A year later he made it a dual degree by adding forestry at SEFS.

The two fields—forestry and Russian—may seem like an unusual pairing, but for Simeone it’s a rather natural fit.

He first started studying the Russian language in high school, and after graduation he spent a gap year living in the small Russian city of Vladimir, about 115 miles northeast of Moscow. He was only 18 and 19 at the time, and the experience sealed his interest in the country and language. “It was amazing,” he says. “It made me fall in love with Russia.”

Simeone and Knight

Simeone with his fiancé Erika Knight in the North Cascades; a fellow SEFS graduate student, Knight is working on her MS with Professor Rob Harrison in the Forest Soils lab.

During the same time abroad, he began cultivating a deeper interest in forestry and conservation. “Russia contains a quarter of the world’s forests,” says Simeone, and the nation is opening up vast areas of virgin forest for logging—with a host of implications ranging from impacts on sensitive wildlife populations to natural resource management and trade policy.

As a graduate student, Simeone’s research interests now include the emerging markets in forest trade and production in the Russian Far East and Siberia, and the extension of trade to China. His faculty advisor at SEFS is Professor Sergey Rabotyagov, and he is also working closely with Professor Ivan Eastin and CINTRAFOR on Russia’s role in the timber trade. (He presented on some of his research at the Graduate Student Symposium a couple weeks ago on Friday, March 8.)

Simeone has been balancing his economic and trade studies with on-the-ground forestry training, including taking Professor David Ford’s silviculture class, Professor Jerry Franklin’s course on old-growth forest management, and the summer internship at Pack Forest. Though he’s not sure where he’ll end up career-wise, he says his “pie in the sky” dream would be to put his Russian and forestry background to work as a trade analyst with the United Nations, or possibly with the Forest Service in their international division.

In the meantime, he’ll be keeping his camera plenty busy, and you can check out some of his other great photography on his Picasa page!

(Also, Simeone recently co-authored a short photo essay on his summer travels to Vladivostok, Russia, for UW’s Ellison Center Winter 2013 Newsletter. Half of the photos are his, and the other half were taken by Taylor Zajicek’s, who is also working on his MA in Russian Studies.)

Photos courtesy of John Simeone.

Join the Pack Forest Summer Crew!

2012 Pack Forest Summer Crew

The 2012 Pack Forest Summer Crew. See all those smiling faces? That could be you!

Every summer, several SEFS students head down to Pack Forest for two months of hands-on, bareknuckle field training in forest management. Well, “bareknuckle” might be overstating the labor, but summer crew members definitely get their fingernails grubby and get to spend hours in the woods on a beautiful plot of land!

As an intern, your weekends are generally free, so you can venture to a number of local attractions, including nearby Mount Rainier. On top of that, you’ll receive 5 ESRM credit hours to go with a $200 weekly stipend and free housing.

For the 2013 Summer Quarter, which runs from June 24 to August 23, there are five internship positions available.

Four spots are open for Forest Resource Management Interns, who will assist with the management and stewardship of Pack Forest’s timber resources, research installations, roads and trails. These students will develop forest mensuration skills, practice species identification, participate in research programs, and learn about sustainable forest management.

One additional position is available for an Outreach & Education Intern, who will actively participate in public outreach, environmental education and natural resource management. This student will develop skills in communications, public outreach and curriculum development, as well as gain exposure to natural resource management.

To apply, send your resume and a cover letter describing how the internship will fit into your program of study to Professor Greg Ettl.

Applications must be received by April 9, so act fast!

WPPF Names New Executive Director

by William McKean

As some of you may know, the Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation (WPPF) recently conducted a search for a replacement for Tom Wolford as WPPF executive director. In early January 2013, we widely advertised the open executive director position through the WPPF mailing list, the University of Washington (UW) system and the TAPPI mailing list. Our joint outreach resulted in more than 20 applicants with a broad range of backgrounds, and I am very grateful to everyone who participated in this search process!

Michael Roberts

Michael A. Roberts

On March 5, representatives from the WPPF Executive Committee, College of the Environment and SEFS staff, BSE faculty and BSE students conducted interviews and evaluated the top five candidates. After careful review, we selected Michael A. Roberts as the next executive director, and we are very pleased to share the good news that he has accepted the offer! Not only has he accepted with considerable enthusiasm, in fact, but he has already begun working to continue the various activities outlined in our five-year plan, as well as planning for our upcoming Annual Conference on May 23. Mr. Roberts will officially take on his new role on April 1, 2013, and he is already set up with his campus email.

Mr. Roberts is a 1969/71 graduate of the University of Washington with BS/MS degrees in Chemical Engineering. His research provided insight into the mechanics and formation of malodorous compounds in a Kraft recovery furnace. Prior to joining WPPF as executive director, he spent more than 40 years as a professional in the pulp and paper and allied industries. He has held significant operational, engineering, environmental, research and general management positions for both pulp and paper manufacturers and key service providers to the industry. Most recently he was employed as the Program Manager, Energy and Sustainability Management, for a global manufacturing firm. He has been active in WPPF for more than 20 years and served as foundation president from 2006 to 2008.

Mr. Roberts and his wife Barb, also a UW graduate, have two grown children and three granddaughters. All are confirmed Husky fans.

Please join me in welcoming Mike as the new executive director–we look forward to working with him!

This May, the Blitz is On at the Arboretum!

BioBlitz

BioBlitzers come across all sorts of animals, including owls and beavers, as well as more slithery critters.

If you love surveying local flora and fauna, and testing your identification skills in the field, then mark your calendars for May 10 and 11, 2013, when the UW Botanic Gardens will be hosting its third BioBlitz at the Washington Park Arboretum!

A BioBlitz, for the uninitiated, is a biological inventory that takes place over a short period of time, and in a specific location—in this case, the Arboretum. The purpose of a BioBlitz is to take a snapshot of biodiversity as a way to measure the health of an ecosystem. The more organisms found, the healthier the ecosystem.

For the UWBG, the BioBlitz is an important tool to help manage their site as sustainably as possible. It’s also a great way to connect the UW academic community with the general Seattle community, and in the process, raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity, including in urban environments. And for those who participate, a BioBlitz is hands-on and fast-paced, and a lot of fun, says Patrick Mulligan, UWBG education supervisor at the Washington Park Arboretum.

BioBlitz

Mushrooms galore!

The way it works is that small groups of citizen scientists and UW students head out with a team leader—GPS/data collector and notebooks in hand—for 2.5-hour shifts in search of various taxa (birds, bugs, fungi, plants, etc.). As a team, they try to ID and count what they find, and record the location where they found it; in some hard-to-identify cases (e.g. fungi, insects), specimens are collected to be keyed out and identified later.

Sound like fun? Mulligan is still looking for taxa team leaders! Whether you’re a graduate or undergraduate student, TA or RA, professor or professional scientist, there are lots of ways to get involved. Each team has room for eight participants, and there are several shifts each day, so contact Mulligan for more specific information.

One year, BioBlitzers found a potentially new species of spider. This year, what might you find?

Photos courtesy of Patrick Mulligan.

Grad Student Spotlight: Carol Bogezi

Field work for graduate wildlife students often involves a great deal of patience. You might spend days tracking wolves or grizzlies before you catch a glimpse, or even have to wait months trying to spy your first lynx.

Carol Bogezi

Bogezi and her “big kitty.”

Not so for Carol Bogezi, a first-year Ph.D. student at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS). She struck pay dirt on her first time out, capturing a full-grown, 150-pound male cougar in the North Fork Creek drainage of the Marckworth State Forest, east of Duvall, Wash. She had set out to the study site with Dr. Brian Kertson, a SEFS alumnus and cougar expert who now works with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, when they came across the treed cat.

“When you see one in a tree, you think it’s just a big kitty,” she says. “But when you have it down and are measuring it in your hands, it’s really big!”

Bogezi grew up outside of Kampala, Uganda, and moved to Seattle this past September to begin graduate work with Professor John Marzluff. Back home, she had most recently been studying the habitat and distribution of crocodiles in Kidepo Valley National Park, and she had done similar work with elephants and lions. What drew her to the University of Washington was the chance to study in a totally new environment, and also to focus on the human dimensions of wildlife interactions and management. Studying cougars in western Washington was a perfect fit.

She’s still fine-tuning her research question, but Bogezi is especially interested in investigating how wildlife responds to human activities, such as logging or hiking, in natural areas. Also, as in the case with cougars, how do you mitigate conflicts—especially within her study area, which extends up to the Seattle suburbs and the Interstate 90 corridor? Or, in cases where perception can be more damaging than reality, can you change human attitudes toward wildlife and facilitate greater community understanding and tolerance of local species?

Beginning later this spring, she’ll get another opportunity to explore some of those questions in a separate joint research project with Marzluff and Professors Stanley Asah and Aaron Wirsing. The study, recently awarded funding by the Institute of Forest Resources at SEFS, will approach the management of wolves in eastern Washington—specifically, whether it’s possible, via rancher compensation or other economic incentive programs, to support a healthy and sustainable wolf presence in the state.

Carol Bogezi and Croc

Bogezi captures a crocodile during one of her research projects back in Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park.

Bogezi says the challenge with wolves is similar to situations she experienced in Uganda involving elephants damaging crops, or lions taking livestock. She recalls showing up to heated meetings with farmers who had lost animals, or who had their fields trampled, and sometimes they’d even come waving spears. “If it’s touching their livelihoods, that’s where there’s conflict,” she says.

But the issue with wolves could be more emotional than practical—in part, Bogezi believes, because we’re raised on stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” that teach kids to fear and even hate wolves. Whatever the root causes or potential solutions, though, Bogezi is excited to get out and learn firsthand what’s driving perceptions. “I want to find out what people really think about the wolves,” she says, “and get ideas from the ranchers themselves about how to manage this conflict.”

When she completes her graduate work, Bogezi hopes to return to Uganda and, if possible, continue working there with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). She would love to replicate her research here back home, and to help mitigate wildlife conflicts in other geographical areas around Uganda and Africa.

By then, she’ll be thoroughly field-tested, having handled crocodiles, held a full-grown cougar in her lap, and stared down spears in the line of research. Certainly makes you wonder what kind of challenge she’ll take on next!

Photos courtesy of Carol Bogezi.

2013 Sustaining Our World Lecture: Thomas Knittel

Sustaining Our World LectureThe College of the Environment and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences are excited to present the annual Sustaining Our World Lecture on April 4, 2013, from 6-7 p.m. This year’s lecture, Built Ecologies: Regionalism and Resource Integration in the Built World, features Thomas Knittel, vice president and project designer with HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm.

First licensed as an architect in 1986, Mr. Knittel joined HOK in 2007 and has become a leading voice and innovator in sustainable design at the firm’s Seattle studio. His work in biomimicry—taking inspiration from natural systems in order to solve human problems—focuses on integrating models from nature into the design of buildings, communities and cities.

For his talk, Mr. Knittel will explore approaches to the built environment that model, mimic and incorporate natural systems. Drawing on research and project examples from Brazil and Haiti to China, he will discuss how new design strategies and solutions, in order to be more resilient, must be integrated with sustainably produced regional resources—and how design informed by nature provides insights, from the nano to the macro, toward building a sustainable future locally and globally.

“We are increasingly aware of our need to reduce carbon emissions, and using sustainably produced regional resources can help achieve this goal,” says Mr. Knittel. “In the natural world, materials are generally used locally in a closed-loop system. For example, paper wasps make nests combining protein-based oral fluids and wood fibers. Form triumphs over material; the cellular configuration is strong, lasting and water shedding. Such a high degree of integration, translated at the human level, requires robust collaborations across multiple fields: scientists, designers, engineers and resource managers, to name a few—but it’s a replicable model.”

The lecture will be held in Kane Hall, Room 210, on the UW Seattle campus. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited so advanced registration is requested. Find out more information about directions, parking and access, and register today!