Alina Cansler Earns National Wilderness Award

Last year, SEFS doctoral candidate Alina Cansler collaborated on a paper that recently won the 2013 Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Research Award, which will be presented at a ceremony for the National Wilderness Awards in Missoula, Mont., on January 28!

Alina Cansler

Cansler measuring shrubs in Yosemite.

Co-sponsored by the International Journal of Wilderness and the U.S. Forest Service, the award recognizes the contribution of a timely research endeavor that informs and responds to wilderness stewardship challenges. Cansler and her coauthors won for their 2013 paper, “Latent Resilience in Ponderosa Pine Forest: Effects of Resumed Frequent Fire,” which was originally published in Ecological Applications and addresses forest structure and composition in the Bob Marshall Wilderness following the reintroduction of fire after decades of exclusion.

Andrew Larson, the lead author on the publication, earned his Ph.D. from SEFS in 2009, and the SEFS connections don’t end there, as Affiliate Professor Don McKenzie and Jeremy Littell won the award in 2011!

Congratulations, Alina and Andrew!

Winning Publication
Andrew J. Larson, R. Travis Belote, C. Alina Cansler, Sean A. Parks, and Matthew S. Dietz 2013. Latent resilience in ponderosa pine forest: effects of resumed frequent fire. Ecological Applications 23:1243–1249.

Photos © Alina Cansler.

CINTRAFOR Scores Major Victory for Pacific Northwest Timber and Forest Products Industry

This past December, Professor Ivan Eastin of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) successfully teamed up with Dr. Daisuke Sasatani at Auburn University, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, and the Softwood Export Council to have Douglas-fir designated as a “local species” under a new softwood lumber subsidy program recently introduced in Japan. This is great news for the U.S. timber industry, ensuring that Douglas-fir grown and harvested in the U.S. Pacific Northwest maintains its access to the Japanese market.

Ivan Eastin

Douglas-fir logs being prepared for delivery to a local sawmill in Hiroshima.

The Wood Use Points Program, or WUPP, is a program designed to provide the domestic forestry and sawmill sectors in Japan with a competitive advantage by subsidizing the increased use of “local wood” species—such as sugi, hinoki and Japanese larch—in residential home construction. Homeowners and builders who use more than 50 percent of a “local wood” species in structural and non-structural end-use applications can receive as much as ¥600,000 in points. While the points don’t have a cash value, they can be redeemed for other products, such as energy-efficient windows or wooden furniture. “The size of the subsidy is huge,” says Eastin, the director of CINTRAFOR and lead author of the U.S. “local wood” submission. “The U.S. forest products industry stood to lose substantial market share as a result of these subsidies.”

While Douglas-fir is not indigenous to Japan, it is highly popular with local builders because of its unique combination of high-bending strength, durability, aesthetic appeal and reliability of supply. Douglas-fir is widely used in horizontal beam applications in traditional post and beam houses in Japan. In fact, more than 90 percent of the softwood products exported from the U.S. to Japan are Douglas-fir. Without gaining the “local wood” designation for U.S. Douglas-fir, the WUPP subsidy would have sharply reduced the demand for Douglas-fir products in Japan. A recent CINTRAFOR analysis estimates that the WUPP could have cost U.S. forest products exporters as much as $36 million over the 18-month duration of the subsidy program.

Ivan Eastin

Douglas-fir precut lumber that will be used in traditional post and beam housing in Japan.

CINTRAFOR, an internationally recognized center of excellence located within the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, worked closely with Dr. Sasatani, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the Softwood Export Council to demonstrate that U.S. Douglas-fir complied with the criteria established by the Japan Forestry Agency for gaining recognition as a “local wood” species. To make their case, CINTRAFOR needed to document that U.S. Douglas-fir satisfied three conditions: 1) that it is sustainably grown, 2) that it is legally harvested, and 3) that Douglas-fir wood products provide economic benefits to rural and mountain communities in Japan.

The first two conditions were fairly easy to demonstrate using forest inventory data provided by the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program of the U.S. Forest Service. To demonstrate compliance with the third criterion, an economic model was developed to estimate the economic contribution derived from processing Douglas-fir logs to lumber in sawmills located within four prefectures in Japan. Each of the “local wood” submissions was translated into Japanese by Dr. Sasatani with support from Tomoko Igarashi, the director of the American Softwoods Office in Tokyo.

It took three submissions—one in August, another in October, and then a third in December—before Japan’s National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization finally approved the inclusion of U.S. Douglas-fir under the WUPP program on December 17. This recognition marks the first, and only, case where an imported wood species has received “local wood” status under the WUPP program, and the designation will help U.S. forest products exporters maintain, and potentially increase, their market share within the Japanese market.

Photos © Ivan Eastin.

Advanced Silviculture Seminar

For the Advanced Silviculture Seminar (SEFS 526) this quarter, Professor Greg Ettl has organized a truly continental line-up with speakers from Canada, Mexico and the United States. This winter’s theme, “Single Tree and Small Gap Selection Forestry Systems of North America,” will explore responses to selection systems where one to a few trees have been removed at regular intervals from forests (in some cases for decades). And thanks to the videoconference facilities in Kane Hall, the speakers will be able to present live from eight different locations without making the long flight out to Seattle!

The seminars are open to the public and are held on Fridays from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Kane Hall, Room 19 (with time afterward for Q&A). Check out the full schedule below, and come out and join us—starting this Friday, Jan. 10—for an incredible series of talks from experts across North America!

Advanced Silviculture SeminarJanuary 10
“Introduction to single-tree and small gap selection systems: Potential applications in the Pacific Northwest.”
Greg Ettl, SEFS

January 17
“Selection methods for loblolly and shortleaf pine: Lessons from the Good and Poor Forty Demonstration established 1937, Crossett Experimental Forest, southeastern Arkansas.”
Jim Guldin, USFS, Southern Research Station, Hot Springs, Ark.

January 24
“The application of partial harvest systems for the southern boreal forests of Québec in the context of natural disturbance-based management.”
Brian Harvey, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

January 31
“Long-term dynamics and emerging trends associated with selection-based systems in Lake States northern hardwood forests.”
Anthony D’Amato, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota

February 7
“Response of mature trees versus seedlings to gaps associated with group selection management: The Blodgett Forest, Sierra Nevada, California.”
Rob York, University of California

February 14
“The effects of selection system harvesting on longleaf-slash pine forests: light availability explains regeneration, and understory composition.”
Kimberly Bohn, University of Florida, Milton, Fla.

February 21
“Single-tree selection in Acadian mixed conifer forests: the balanced, multi-aged stands of the Penobscot National Forest.”
Laura Kenefic, USFS Center for Research on Ecosystem Change, Bradley, Maine

February 28
“A dominance of shade tolerant species following 60 years of single-tree selection cutting in upland mixed-hardwood forest of the southern Appalachian Mountains.”
Tara Keyser, USFS, Southern Research Station, Asheville, N.C.

March 7
No seminar.

March 14
“The success of the ‘Mexican Method’ of selection forestry in pine and pine-oak forests.”
Martin Mendoza, Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico

Winter SEFS Seminar Schedule Announced!

As soon as finals are done tomorrow, things are going to get eerily quiet around here for a couple weeks as folks scatter for the holiday break. But just about as soon as the calendar turns to 2014, we’ll start firing up the academic boilers once again, and that includes the return of the SEFS Seminar Series!

SEFS Seminar ScheduleFor the Winter Quarter, we’re moving the seminars back to Wednesdays, but the hour and place remain the same: 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Anderson 223. We’ll be hosting a casual reception after the first seminar of each month—January 8, February 5 and March 5—and all students, staff and faculty are welcome to attend.

We have a terrific line-up, starting on January 8 with Teodora Minkova from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, so mark your calendars and join us each Wednesday!

(Students: To receive course credit, you may enroll in ESRM 490F or SEFS 550C as a 2-credit course. Contact Michelle Trudeau or Amanda Davis with any questions.)

Week 1: January 8
Teodora Minkova, WA DNR: “Monitoring riparian and aquatic habitat in the Olympic Experimental State Forest—first results and research opportunities”

Week 2: January 15
Martin Nie, University of Montana: “Decision-making triggers, adaptive management, and natural resources law and planning”

Week 3: January 22
Bruce Lippke, SEFS: “Life-cycle analysis of green and conventional buildings”

Week 4: January 29
Steve Sillett, Humboldt State: “A tree-level approach to understanding growth potential of the six tallest species”

Week 5: February 5
Don McKenzie, U.S. Forest Service: “Climate change and wildfire: Why we need ecology”

Week 6: February 12           
Indroneil Ganguly, SEFS: “Modeling the role of carbon sequestration in Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)”

Week 7: February 19
Marnie Route, University of North Texas: “The role of the plant microbiome in invasion ecology—a case study”

Week 8: February 26
Kathy Wolf, SEFS: “Ecosystem services in the city? The evidence for expanded definitions and values”

Week 9: March 5
Joe Mayo, Mahlum Architects: “Wood architecture: Innovation, technology and re-connecting with a culture of wood”

Week 10: March 12
Derek Churchill, SEFS: “Managing for resilience at multiple scales: applying landscape ecology principles to silviculture”

Wildlife Seminar Kicks Off Today

This afternoon, the long-running and much-esteemed Wildlife Science Seminar (ESRM 455/554) begins for the Autumn Quarter! The seminars are open to the public, and you can enjoy the talks on Mondays from 3:30-4:20 p.m. in Bagley Hall, Room 131. Check out the full schedule below and mark your calendars!

Fall Schedule

September 30
Introduction to Class and Why Crows Matter
John Marzluff, SEFS

Brian Kertson

Brian Kertson and a captured cougar in western Washington.

October 7
Shifting Paradigms and New Challenges for Conserving Washington’s Large Carnivores in the 21st Century
Brian Kertson, Carnivore Research Scientist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (for more background on Kertson, check out a profile we did of him a few months ago!)

October 14
David Lack and the Significance of Clutch Size in the House Sparrow
 
Ted Anderson, Emeritus Professor of Biology, McKendree University

October 21
Models, Mortality and Policy: Approaches to Urban Bird Conservation
Travis Longcore, The Urban Wildlands Group, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California

October 28
Living with Wolves in Ranch Country 
Suzanne Stone, Western Wolf Conservation Representative for Defenders of Wildlife

November 4
European Rabbits or Seabirds—Which Would you Choose?
Scott Pearson, Senior Research Scientist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

November 11
No class, Veteran’s Day Holiday

November 18
Assessing the Compatibility of Fuel Treatments, Wildfire Risk and Conservation of Northern Spotted Owls in the Eastern Cascades: A Multiscale Analysis
Martin Raphael, Senior Research Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Forest Service

November 25
Aren’t Parks Protected Habitats? So Who Turned the Chainsaws Loose in Our State Parks?!

Robert Fimbel, Natural Resources Stewardship, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

December 2
Courtship in a Noisy World: Using Robots and Acoustic Arrays to Study Sexual Selection and Noise Impacts in a Threatened Bird
Gail Patricelli, Associate Professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis

Photo © Brian Kertson

SEFS Students March into the Methow Valley

Two weekends ago, a group of eight SEFS students headed out to the Methow Valley, north of Lake Chelan in eastern Washington, for two days of focused field study with Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley.

Methow Valley

Students coring a Ponderosa Pine.

Helping to lead the course (ESRM 491B) were two SEFS alumni: Susan Prichard, a fire and landscape ecologist stationed in Winthrop, and Connie Mehmel, a forest entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Forest Insect and Disease Service Center in Wenatchee. Prichard and Mehmel worked with the students to understand eastside forest dynamics and the roles that climate, introduced and native insects and diseases, fire and fire suppression have on forests—from the stand to the landscape level. Students contrasted an unmanaged stand with a stand undergoing a recent forest restoration prescription, and how these two different stands would have different vulnerabilities to fire, insects and pathogens.

The next day, students met with Brian Fisher of the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation to learn about riparian systems and human impacts (positive and negative) on these systems.

It was the first time Hinckley had organized this particular field trip, which he offered as an offshoot of his long-running “Spring Comes to the Cascades” course. The crew drove out late Friday afternoon and returned Sunday evening, and the goal was to focus more intensively and comprehensively on one study area.

“Usually, when I do field trips and we’re out walking, we don’t ever stay in one place for more than 20 minutes,” says Hinckley. “But we stayed in this one location for close to four hours. We cored trees, looked at the soil, measured and identified all the trees and seedlings, and identified all the coverage of the understory plants. Students really gained some firsthand knowledge in how to do a study.”

The class represented a wide range of backgrounds and majors, as well as undergrads and graduate students. Depending on their feedback, Hinckley says there’s potential to expand the course in the future, or to venture to new regions of the state—such as the North Cascades Base Camp.

Photo © Tom Hinckley.

This Friday: Graduate Student Symposium!

Graduate Student SymposiumThe 10th Annual Graduate Student Symposium (GSS) begins bright and early this Friday morning, March 8! It’s an all-day affair from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. in the Forest Club Room, so come early and stick around if you can.

The event kicks off with breakfast and presentations from this year’s panelists, and we are excited to welcome Dale Blahna, a research social scientist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station; Phil Rigdon, deputy director of natural resources with the Yakama Nation; and Laura Six, a plant ecologist working in international environmental research with Weyerhaeuser.

Following the panel discussions, we will have the main event: our graduate student presentations, along with some special activities this year to celebrate 10 years of GSS. The theme is The Future of Forestry (which of course includes natural resource management, environmental science and the full range of the work we do here at SEFS).

We invite you to join us, relax, enjoy yourself and catch as many sessions as you can. We will be serving a pizza lunch at noon along with the poster presentations. Check out a tentative schedule of events, and we hope to see on Friday!