2016 Pack Forest Summer Crew: Season Recap

For nine weeks this summer, five SEFS undergrads worked as interns down at Pack Forest getting immersive, hands-on field training in sustainable forest management. The students—Paul Albertine, Dana Chapman, Dana Reid, Chris Scelsa and Robert Swan—were part of the annual Pack Forest Summer Crew, and they recently wrapped up another successful season.

2016_09_summer-crew-recap2This year, the students got to work with several SEFS graduate students, as well as Jeff Kelly, the forester at Pack Forest. They participated in a wide range of activities, including a great amount of time measuring 85 permanent forest plots from the Continuous Forest Inventory (CFI) project. Doctoral student Emilio Vilanova says they became true field experts and were able to update vital information for the sustainable management of forests at Pack.

Other tasks for the students included assisting Matthew Aghai with his doctoral research, both at Pack Forest and at the Cedar River Watershed, and helping maintain a throughfall exclusion project led by Professor Greg Ettl and doctoral student Kiwoong Lee. They were critical in the upkeep of Pack Forest’s trail network, as well as the measurement of additional small-scale research projects, from regeneration surveys to the installation of other research plots. They also got to take three field trips, including official visits to Rainier Veneer and Silvaseed Company facilities, along with a two-day camping trip to the Cedar River Watershed.

In short, as always, the Pack Forest Summer Crew had an incredibly packed, productive and memorable internship. Take a look at a gallery of photos from their summer!

Photos © Emilio Vilanova.

2016_09_summer-crew-recap3

SEFS Seminar Series: Fall 2016 Schedule!

The schedule is set for the Fall 2016 SEFS Seminar Series, and this quarter’s talks are loosely organized around a spatial theme, “Ecosystems, Ecology and Management at Scales.” We’re excited to welcome a wide range of speakers, from new faculty hire Brian Harvey, to a research fellow from Tasmania, to Professor Randy Dahlgren, who will be visiting from UC Davis to give the Distinguished Alumni Seminar.

Held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, the talks are always open to the public, and the first seminar of each month will be followed by a casual reception down the hall in the Forest Club Room (or the Salmon BBQ, in the case of the October 5 seminar!). Students can register for course credit under SEFS 529A.

Check out the schedule below and join us for as many talks as you can!

2016_09_fall-2016-posterWeek 1: September 28
“Carbon cycling in the global forest system”
Dr. Tom Crowther
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Week 2: October 5*
“From subduction to salmon: Geologic subsidies drive high productivity of a volcanic spring-fed river”
Professor Randy Dahlgren
UC Davis

Week 3: October 12
“Putting PNW retention forestry practices into a global context”
Dr. Sue Baker
Research Fellow
University of Tasmania & Forestry Tasmania

Week 4: October 19
“A comparison of low-intensity management options for Douglas-fir dominated forests in western WA”
Professor Greg Ettl
SEFS

Week 5: October 26
“Bring on the heat: How climate change may protect eastern hemlock”
Dr. Angela Mech
Postdoctoral Research Associate
SEFS

Week 6: November 2*
“Avoided impacts on human health by recovering wood residues for bioenergy and bioproducts in the Pacific Northwest”
Professor Indroneil Ganguly
SEFS

Week 7: November 9
“Unlikely hero, or the next to fall? Causes and consequences of subalpine fir mortality in the wake of recent bark beetle outbreaks”
Dr. Brian Harvey
Smith Fellow (and future SEFS faculty member!)

Week 8: November 16
“California spotted owl habitat: New insights from a multiscale analysis from LiDAR data”
Professor Van Kane
SEFS

Week 9: November 30
“Changing fire regimes in eastern Washington: Recent large wildfire events and implications for dry forest management”
Dr. Susan Prichard
SEFS Research Scientist

Week 10: December 7*

“Exploring frequent fire forests at multiple scales”
Dr. Keala Hagmann
Postdoctoral Research Associate
SEFS

* Indicates reception after seminar

Institute of Forest Resources Announces Four Research Grant Winners

This March, the Institute of Forest Resources awarded four grants through the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research program, totaling $374,877 in funding. After final approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these projects will begin during the 2016 Fall Quarter and last two years, wrapping up by September 30, 2018.

Read more about the funded projects below!

Awarded Projects

1. Sustainable Development of Nanosorbents by Catalytic Graphitization of Woody Biomass for Water Remediation

PI: Professor Anthony Dichiara, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Renata Bura, SEFS

The present research proposes the development of a simple, sustainable and scalable method to produce high-value carbon nanomaterials from woody biomass. As-prepared carbon products will be employed as adsorbents of large capacity and high binding affinity to remove pesticides from hydrological environments. This project will (i) help mitigate forest fires by limiting the accumulation of dry residues in forest lands, (ii) create new market opportunities to transform the wood manufacturing industry and reinvigorate rural communities, and (iii) minimize potential exposure to hazardous contaminants.

Award total: $109,869

2. Trophic Relationships of Reintroduced Fishers in the South Cascades

PI: Professor Laura Prugh, SEFS

In 2015, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) began reintroducing fishers (Pekania pennanti) to the South Cascades. The west coast fisher population has been proposed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (decision due by April 2016), and fisher recovery is thus a high priority in Washington. Fisher habitat use has been studied with respect to denning and rest site characteristics, but effects of forest management and stand characteristics on establishment success of reintroduced fishers remains unknown. In collaboration with agency partners, we propose to study how forest structure and management impact prey availability, competitor abundance and fisher establishment in the South Cascades.

Award total: $99,679

3. High-value Chemicals and Gasoline Additives from Pyrolysis and Upgrade of Beetle-killed Trees

PI: Professor Fernando Resende, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Anthony Dichiara, SEFS

In this project, we will convert beetle-killed lodgepole pine into fuel additives and valuable chemicals (hydrocarbons) using a technique called ablative pyrolysis combined with an upgrading step. We developed a novel and unique system for pyrolysis of wood that has the capability of converting entire wood chips into bio-oil. This characteristic is important for mobile pyrolysis units, because it eliminates the need of grinding wood chips prior to pyrolysis.

Award total: $109,861

4. Bigleaf Maple Decline in Western Washington

PI: Professor Patrick Tobin, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS

We propose to investigate the extent and severity of a recently reported decline in bigleaf maple, Acer macrophyllum, in the urban and suburban forests of Western Washington, and to differentiate between possible abiotic and biotic drivers of the decline. Specifically, we propose to (1) survey the spatial extent of bigleaf maple decline (BLMD) and record associated environmental, anthropogenic, and weather conditions that are associated with BLMD presence and absence; (2) use dendrochronological techniques to analyze and compare growth rates of healthy and symptomatic trees to further differentiate the potential roles of abiotic and biotic drivers of the decline; and (3) to link the data collected under Objectives 1 and 2 with previous  records of BLMD collected by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to ascertain the spatial-temporal pattern associated with BLMD in Western Washington.

Award total: $55,468

2016 McIntire-Stennis Research Grant Winners

This fall, the SEFS Research Committee awarded five Graduate Research Augmentation Grants through the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research program, totaling $72,209 in funding.

This special round of grants was designed to support graduate student research, with awards targeted for Spring 2016 or Summer 2016 (and with all funding to be spent in full by September 30, 2016). Read more about the funded projects below!

Awarded Projects

1. Nisqually Garry Oak Habitat: Cultural and Ecological Considerations for Successful Restoration in the Nisqually Tribal Reservation

PI: Professor Ernesto Alvarado, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Steve Harrell, SEFS

Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystems are a designated Priority Habitat for management in Washington State (Larsen and Morgan 1998). Although there are many research projects that examine how to restore Garry oak ecosystems for the purposes of establishing more habitat for endangered and threatened species like the golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and Mazama pocket gopher (Thomomys mazama), respectively (Larsen and Morgan 1998), there are few studies that look at restoration for the objective of developing an environment for the purpose of cultural restoration, specifically agroforestry. We intend to evaluate whether Garry oak ecosystem restoration for the intended purpose of cultural activities (traditional medicinal and edible plant harvests, inter-generational education) will greatly change the components of the restoration and management plan of the Garry oak ecosystem.

Award total: $13,232

2. How Do Conclusions About the Effectiveness of Fuels-reduction Treatments Vary with the Spatial Scale of Observation?

PI: Professor Jon Bakker, SEFS
Co-PI: Professor Charles Halpern, SEFS

Restoration of dry-forest ecosystems has become a prominent and very pressing natural resource issue in the western U.S. Although mechanical thinning and prescribed burning can effectively reduce fuel loads in these forests, scientists and managers remain uncertain about the ecological outcomes of these treatments. This uncertainty reflects the short time spans of most restoration studies and a limited consideration of how ecological responses vary with the spatial scale of observation. This funding will support graduate student research that explores how ecological responses to fuels-reduction treatments vary with the spatial scale of observation, and will complement ongoing research on the temporal variability of responses.

Award total: $15,114

3. Growth and Physiological Response of Native Washington Tree Species to Light and Drought: Informing Sustainable Timber Production

PI: Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS
Co-PIs: Matthew Aghai, third-year Ph.D. student at SEFS; Rolf Gersonde, affiliate assistant professor with SEFS and Seattle Public Utilities Silviculture; and Professor Sally Brown, SEFS

Intensive management of the conifer-dominated forests of the Pacific Northwest has resulted in millions of acres of largely mono-specific second- and third-growth forests. These forests have simple vertical structure and low biodiversity, and consequently much lower value of non-timber forest products. Research on establishment of underplanted trees in partial light is needed to increase structural and compositional diversification of Douglas-fir plantations undergoing conversion to multispecies stands. However, the ecology of seedling establishment under existing canopies is poorly understood. The general aim of our research is to address the need for improved structural diversity in managed forest systems through a better understanding of species-specific performance potential of underplanted seedlings. This proposal extends ongoing research; in this phase we will document physiological differences in seedling performance.

Award total: $17,004

4. A Novel Reactor for Fast Pyrolysis of Beetle-Killed Trees

PI: Professor Fernando Resende, SEFS

In this project, we will optimize the production of pyrolysis bio-oil from beetle-killed lodgepole pine using a technique called ablative pyrolysis. We developed a novel and unique system for pyrolysis of wood that has the capability of converting entire wood chips into bio-oil. This characteristic is important for mobile pyrolysis units, because it eliminates the need of grinding wood chips prior to pyrolysis.

Award total: $15,887

5. Modeling the Effects of Forest Management on Snowshoe Hare Population Dynamics in Washington at the Landscape Scale

PI: Professor Aaron Wirsing, SEFS

The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is already listed as Threatened in Washington and, following an ongoing status review, likely to be designated as Endangered because much of its habitat has been lost to a series of large wildfires since 2006. Lynx subsist on snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), and it is widely acknowledged that habitat quality for lynx is tied to the availability of this prey species, so forest management with the goal of promoting lynx conservation requires an understanding of the relationship between silvicultural practices and hare abundance. Accordingly, we are requesting summer 2016 funds to complete the third and final phase of a graduate research project whose objective is to assess the impacts of forest management on hare numbers across a large landscape in north-central Washington. By sampling a network of snowshoe hare fecal pellet transects spanning protected and harvested portions of the Loomis State Forest for a third consecutive summer, we will produce a model of hare relative abundance that will enable managing agencies to tailor their harvest plans such that they promote snowshoe hare availability and, as a result, lynx population persistence.

Award total: $10,972

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

Join the 2015 Pack Forest Summer Crew!

Every summer, a hardy crew of SEFS students heads down to Pack Forest for two months of hands-on field training in sustainable forest management. It’s one of our oldest field traditions, and also one of the most memorable, so take a look at the internship opportunities coming up this summer!

Pack Forest Summer CrewThere are up to six internship positions available for the 2015 Summer Quarter at Park Forest, which runs from June 22 to August 21. Each position is eligible for 4 ESRM credit hours (with in-state tuition included), as well as a $200 weekly stipend and free housing for a summer spent in the shadow of Mount Rainier. Hard to beat!

* Three to five spots are open for Forest Resource 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 & GIS Intern, who will actively participate in public outreach, environmental education and/or GIS applications for natural resource management. This student will develop skills in communications, public outreach, curriculum development and natural resource management.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 9. If you’re interested, please send your resume and a cover letter describing how the internship will fit into your program of study to Professor Greg Ettl.

Also, for a glimpse of the Pack Forest experience, check out the video below—produced by Katherine Turner of UW Marketing & Communications—from the Pack Forest Spring Planting last year (the current spring planting is going on right now)!

2015 Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition

In 1923, Charles Lathrop Pack had the foresight to establish an essay competition so that students in the College of Forest Resources would “express themselves to the public and write about forestry in a way that affects or interests the public.” His original mandate continues today at SEFS—as does the unwavering value of good written communication—and we are pleased to announce the 2015 edition of the Charles Lathrop Pack Essay Competition!

Charles Lathrop Pack

Charles Lathrop Pack

The prize for top essays is $500, and this year’s prompt addresses the Washington Department of Natural Resources:

The Washington DNR manages State Trust Lands for beneficiaries ranging from hospitals to schools, including the UW. Please review the state’s Policy for Sustainable Forests (2006) and discuss its ability to meet the policy objectives described on pages 3 and 4, paying particular attention to the following objective:

Balance trust income, environmental protection and other social benefits from four perspectives: the prudent person doctrine; undivided loyalty to and impartiality among the trust beneficiaries; intergenerational equity; and not foreclosing future options.

Entries are due by Tuesday, April 28, 2015. If you have any questions about the competition, or if you’d like to see if your essay idea sounds promising and appropriate, email Professor Greg Ettl. Otherwise, review the rest of the guidelines below, and get busy thinking and typing!

Essay Criteria
In responding to the prompt, you must justify your answer from a political, ecological and economic point of view. You are expected to provide a technical perspective, addressing a diverse and educated audience that needs further knowledge of natural resource issues. Writers are expected to clearly state the problem or issue to be addressed at the beginning of the essay, and should emphasize a strong public communications element. Course papers substantially restructured to meet these guidelines are acceptable; however, no group entries are permitted. References and quotes are acceptable only when sources are clearly indicated; direct quotes should be used sparingly.

Submitting
Entries should be typed, double-spaced (one side of paper only), and may not exceed 2,000 words. Include a cover page with student name and title of the essay, then print your submission and deliver to Student and Academic Services in AND 116/130 no later than Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Eligibility
The competition is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students enrolled in SEFS during Spring Quarter 2015 who have not yet received a graduate-level degree from any institution. Undergraduate and graduate essays will be judged in separate categories.

Judging
A Judging Committee will be selected to assess originality, organization, mastery of subject, objectivity, clarity, forcefulness of writing, literary merit and conciseness. The Committee will reserve the right to withhold the prize if no entry meets acceptable standards. The Committee may also award more than one prize for outstanding entries if funds permit. Winning papers will be posted on the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest website, and might also be featured on the SEFS blog, “Offshoots,” and in the school’s e-newsletter, The Straight Grain.

Charles Lathrop Pack © SEFS.

SEFS Seminar Series: Spring 2015

In case your seminar withdrawal symptoms start setting in early, we’ve got you covered! Check out the fantastic line-up for the SEFS Seminar Series this spring, which kicks off in just three weeks on Wednesday, April 1!

Once again, the seminars will be held on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223, and we’ll host a casual reception in the Forest Club Room after the first seminar of each month (April 1, May 6 and June 3). Students can register to take the seminar for course credit as SEFS 529A.

So mark your calendars and come out for as many talks as you can!

SEFS Seminar - Spring 2015Week 1: April 1*
“Where on Earth are we going: health risks of climate change”        
Professor Kris Ebi, UW Department of Global Health

Week 2: April 8
“Innovations in the forest products industry and the role of a scientist/engineer”
Amar Neogi
Research Scientist, Weyerhaeuser Company

Week 3: April 15
“How green is a building? Using life-cycle assessment to quantify the environmental impact of construction”
Professor Kate Simonen
UW Department of Architecture

Week 4: April 22
“Social media as data on impacts of environmental change on nature-based tourism and recreation”
Spencer Wood
Senior Scientist, Natural Capital Project

Week 5: April 29
“Remote sensing perspectives on climate-induced physiological stress in western forests”
Warren Cohen
Research Forester, U.S. Forest Service

Week 6: May 6*
“Assessing ecological resilience and adaptive governance in regional scale water systems”
Professor Lance Gunderson
Emory University, Department of Environmental Sciences

Week 7: May 13
“The importance of water, climate change and water policy for potential biorefineries in Washington State”
Professor Renata Bura, SEFS

Week 8: May 20
“Fires on the hills, fires in the forests: Peri-urban and wildland fire regimes in Mediterranean-type ecosystems and climates”
Professor Jack Hayes
Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia

Week 9: May 27
“A mixed species clearcut silviculture system to restore native species composition and structure of old-growth forests in western Washington”
Professor Greg Ettl, SEFS

Week 10: June 3*
“Site Work: Community Design Engagement—the Forks RAC Project”
Professor Rob Corser
UW Department of Architecture

* Indicates reception after seminar

Pack Forest Spring Planting: March 23-27!

Each spring for more than 75 years, SEFS students have been spending a week down at Pack Forest as part of the annual spring planting tradition. This Spring Break, March 23-27, you can leave your own mark on the forest and help shape it for future generations!

Pack Forest Spring PlantingWhile staying at Pack Forest, you’ll roll up your sleeves and work on forest establishment, including planting, regeneration surveys and reports. Your housing (and some food) will be covered, there’s a kitchen at your disposal, you’ll earn a $200 stipend, and one course credit is also available. It’s a tremendous opportunity to contribute to a sustainable working forest, all while living in a beautiful setting only a short distance from Mount Rainier National Park.

Need more inspiration? Check out the great video below from last year’s crew!

Contact Professor Greg Ettl to learn more and apply. Preference is given to those who apply early, so act fast!

Field Work Day at Pack Forest

Two weeks ago, right after the first snow of the season, SEFS graduate students Matthew Aghai and Emilio Vilanova joined Dave Cass and Pat Larkin down at Pack Forest for a field work day at the Canyon Loop site within the “Through-fall Exclusion” project.

Pack Forest

Dave Cass climbs a tower near the Canyon Loop site to work on a frozen component.

The main goal of this research is to simulate the conditions of drought and its effects on managed forests with different stand conditions, and several members of Professor Greg Ettl’s lab—mostly led by Kiwoong Lee—have been installing panels and collecting detailed measurements of many bio-climatic variables, including soil moisture, tree growth, precipitation and temperature, among other factors.

While working at the site on December 1, Vilanova took advantage of the first snow and open skies to snap a few shots of the action, including the awesome view of Mount Rainier below, taken a few yards from the Canyon Loop site!

Photos © Emilio Vilanova.

Pack Forest