ESRM 425: Fire-Prone Forests of the Pacific Northwest

This past September, Professor Jerry Franklin led his annual two-week field course (“ESRM 425: Ecosystem Management”) to explore fire-prone forests of the Pacific Northwest. This year’s group toured sites in Northern California, central Oregon and southern Washington, visiting a number of private, public and tribal forests, and camping along the way.

Dry coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest face unique management issues due to altered disturbance regimes, forest structural change, land conversion, wildlife habitat preservation, carbon markets and climate change. So as part of this course, students got to learn about historical management strategies, met with a range of agency personnel, land managers and other stakeholders, and discussed a suite of current ecosystem management challenges and options.

SEFS grad student Matthew Aghai, who is studying with Professor Greg Ettl and served as the TA for the field course, called the experience “truly epic, relevant and eye-opening.” One particularly memorable part of the adventure, he says, involved a visit to Green Diamond Resource Company property, where students met with a Green Diamond biologist and got to see—and even feed—a pair of northern spotted owls!

Aghai took scores of photos from the trip, and he generously shared a batch of them for a slideshow, which includes a sequence from the spotted owl feeding. It might have been Professor Franklin’s last time leading students on this trip, so soak up the scenes from one of our most popular field excursions!

Photos © Matthew Aghai.

Click here to view these pictures larger

Forest Fires and Fireside Chats: Two Weeks in Oregon with Professor Jerry Franklin

Just before the official start of Fall Quarter this past September, 20 students spent two weeks exploring the forests of central and southern Oregon as part of an intensive field course with Professor Jerry Franklin.

Jerry FranklinThe class, “Ecosystem Management” (ESRM 425/SEFS 590), introduces students to the unique management challenges associated with dry, fire-prone forests in the Pacific Northwest. Keala Hagmann, a doctoral student with SEFS and the TA for the course, says they toured forest restoration projects on Bureau of Land Management and O&C Act lands in the Roseburg, Coos Bay and Medford districts; a city watershed in Ashland; private forestland in the Klamath-Siskiyou region; and former Klamath Indian Reservation forests in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. They also visited the sites of the Pole Creek (2012) and B&B (2003) fires in the Deschutes National Forest, as well as the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest within the Willamette National Forest.

At each stop, students met with a diverse spectrum of practitioners, stakeholders and policy makers, including silviculturists, scientists, tree sitters, a county commissioner and environmental advocates. The class got to explore dry forest restoration projects, regeneration harvests to create functional early seral habitat, a prescribed burn, wildfires and long-term ecological research sites. They also enjoyed assisting UW postdoc Derek Churchill and his crew with stem mapping in the Bluejay Springs Research Natural area, camping alongside four rivers, and fireside chats in the evenings (plus a little swimming here and there, not to mention spectacular scenery)!

Dave Herman, a SEFS graduate student on the trip, took hundreds of photos and generously offered to share a selection in the gallery below. It’s hard to grasp just how much the class packed into these two weeks, but this slideshow will at least give you a good taste of their Oregon adventure—as well as some vintage shots of a suspendered Professor Franklin at leisure, holding forth by the fire, leading group discussions and lessons, and generally engaging his audience at every turn!

All photos © Dave Herman.